I have been thinking about making serving spoons for my big salad bowls for years, but my muse wasn’t interested enough to kick me in the butt to get me started. Well, the kick in pants finally came. With all the walnut chainsaw scraps just lying around, I really had no excuse to put it off any longer.

I know that there are a whole group of spoon makers out there, so I am sure I am going to send at least one of them into a conniption fit by my naiveté. I cut out a block of walnut about 5″x5″x12″ then used a bandsaw to make four pieces about 1.25″x5″x12″ (roughly).  Next, I drew the outline of a spoon that looked appealing to me and cut out that shape on the bandsaw. I also used a Sam Maloof bandsaw technique to do some very rough shaping of the bowl part of the spoon.

Shaping the bowl part

With the handle of the spoon firmly in the leg vise of my Roubo bench, I used my spoke shave to shape the bowl. I was surprised how easy that was to do.




The hollowing begins

Now for the hard part; hollowing out the bowl. I only have small carving tools, so my little number 7 gouge would have to do. I’d love to buy a couple of quality carving gouges, but I am flat broke, so the little tool will have to do. Thankfully, the little guy did pretty well. Granted, it took a little bit of time, but with a nice sharp edge it worked well.


Carving next to the wood pile

I don’t like walking in the heat in my good black and white clothes, but seating on my saw-bench carving way, with the sweat dripping down my arms, just puts me in the zone.  The heat, the intense concentration, the smells of my shop; the combination of these things make me happy. I believe that real craft and art comes out of these moments.


Here are some other things that can take me to my happy place. I haven’t had a musical interlude in a while, so here goes. (Sung to “My Favorite Things“)

Chocolate and doughnuts, spaghetti with meatballs                                                                Planes and good hand saws, my Roubo and oak mauls                                                           Big Robust wood lathes, my children that sing                                                                      these are a few of my favorite things

Cherry that smells nice and new projects started                                                                    square tenon shoulders and bowls cleanly parted                                                                    Halo with my wife, custards and creams                                                                                  these are a few of my favorite things

When the boss calls                                                                                                                      when the bills come                                                                                                                         when I’m feeling mad                                                                                                                          I simply remember my favorite things                                                                                         And then I don’t feel (quite) so sad

Did you picture me dancing outside of my shop in lederhosen? No? Thank goodness!

Now back to business. After the spoon part is shaped, rounding off the handle was pretty easy. I put the spoon part into the leg vise and use the spoke shave to make the square handle round. I did use a pocket knife to help shape the connection between the spoon part and the handle and that too was pretty easy with a good sharp blade.

Roughed out spoons

The walnut is pretty wet, so I am going to give the spoons I have made so far a couple three or four days to dry out a bit before I start sanding them. After they are fully sanded, I will coat them in food safe butcher block oil then they will be ready to use!


I would like to say that I don’t want the spoons to look perfect. I want them to look hand made. I’d hate for someone to think they were factory made. I’ll post photos of the final project then they are done.

till next time….


About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
This entry was posted in In Yaakov's Workshop and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Spoonin’

  1. Tom says:

    They look great to me! Nicely done. I look forward to seeing them when they are finished.

  2. Wooden Spoon #151 – Cherry Wood with Shaped Handle. This spoon was carved from a nice thick piece of 2″ Cherry. The handle features interesting patches of creme color wood highlighted by flashes of darker brown grain. The grain pattern swirls around the inside of the bowl creating a dark contrast to the handle, and the outside of the bowl shows a truly gorgeous ring pattern. A really pretty piece of wood – thanks Mother Nature! When you get this spoon in your hands, you’ll find it hard not to run your fingers over it to feel every smooth hand carved ripple. You can’t get a spoon like this in a store – that is for sure! Just over 12.25″ in length, the spoon bowl measures approx. 3.75″ long by approx. 2.5″ at the widest point. The bowl itself was carved about 2/3rds into the wood, giving this spoon a nice depth with a substantial heft which comes in handy for heavy duty mixing. You will love working with this one!

  3. bult44man says:

    Do you think it would be easier to get the general spoon shape on the lathe first, resulting in a handle with a large egg on the end? Take it to the bandsaw and slice about half the egg off to make it start to look like a spoon and then do the final shaping by hand. I have never gotten into carving so I don’t know how quickly it goes. Just my 2 cents, I made a few kids spoons a month ago and had only my lathe and the bandsaw to work with. They turned out great but not as nice and functional as yours look.

    • yaakov says:

      Bult44man- Yes, I could have done most of it on the lathe, but that would have been too easy. I wanted to practice with my spoke shave and carving tools. I enjoy using hand tools when I can and this was a good project for that practice. And new challenges are fun (at times). Thanks for the comment!

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