The old time woodshop journals #18: Lessons in spoonery!

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 08-01-2012 11:13 PM 2998 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Handtool finds and realizing the value of simplicity Part 18 of The old time woodshop journals series Part 19: Rhythms of woodwork »

Hi gang, hope all is well out there!

Well, as the sanding is getting underway for my trestle table I have really been learning more and enjoying this spoon carving craft.

It really is a great way to refresh your outlook and break patterns that may become repetitive in the process of executing your creative ideas.

I have enjoyed the hatchet work and learning just how much you can produce with 4-5 tools.

For me…... a sloyd knife, smaller knife, hook knife, camp hatchet, and spokeshave make for handy work to produce a wooden spoon, be it conservative or completely off the wall in it’s design.
Practice and still learning:

The mora hook knife took me a little bit to warm up to, but once you get it properly sharpened and learn how to manuever it can really become enjoyable to exercise the hollowing of your stock, preferrably green wood….lol.

There is something very satisfying about working with green wood and I am glad I have been able to take part in doing more of it through these past sessions of spoon making.

It is a definitely one of the more humbling tasks of “working wood” because it can and it is extremely challenging and physical.
I was schooled and surprised between splitting a few short stocks of cherry, then taking the hatchet and working one piece down to a rough draft of my carving work….boy you get a little more of a workout than thought once you follow that up with the whittleling…lol.

Then of course learning about the design of wood…...there are no nets here, nothing is truely dried and it is up to you to create with all of this in mind.

My biggest discovery is learning to remove the pith (center) of the chosen stock to help greatly in the reduction of checking (cracking). Nothing more upsetting than putting in a few solid hours of making a spoon than to look at it the next day with it all cracked or surely on its proud way…....ughhh.

Wood will have its say no matter how hard the axe swings or the nails are driven in angst.

Basically that sucks…lol.

But nature needs to do its thing and so with various practice and gained knowledge….out with the pith!!!!

Cherry wood luckly is very good with this problem to begin with, one of the more stronger woods that will maintain itself better than some other woods. But…it will sure as hell still do it if you are not mindful of it.

All of this recent green woodwork for me has to do with the Woodright Shops dvd’s. I have all 4 seasons 1-3 and season 20. I really have to say this makes modern shows on woodwork in my opinion a little boring.

Roy Underhill is greatly misunderstood as a spastic character cutting himself with little more to offer than just entertainment. I can say the man has the education of a woodworking encyclopedia and the strength of an ox hewing logs, blacksmithing and has been apart of building entire log cabins.

These shows contain so many crafts….I was inspired and humbled at the talents seen on these dvd’s by his guests. It really was like a historical education on handwork.

I only hope more woodworkers especially the newly interested take the time to watch and explore one or some of the gems his shows have to offer.

The best part of Roy is Roy. He is a very down to earth nice guy. Always takes the time for his people, and he has done a hell of a lot for many in woodworking. Thanks for releasing these shows!.....Finally.

The funny thing is two years ago I was just getting into doing more garage stuff. The woodwork bug was in it’s total infancy for me. I was looking at possibly getting a circular saw for working with. I rediscovered The Woodrights Shop on the internet….. and was floored…..”This is it, this is what I want to see….this!” I said to myself amazed as my memory was brought back to seeing this show maybe twenty years ago…and never caring…

I never bought the circular saw, I have never even used one, or a table saw, router table, planner, never. None of it more than an electric handrill and a grinding wheel. I really admire and respect those that do, I just forget that I never have…..lmao!

So theres my confession. I hope I may still be a lumberjock…lol. I have learned so much from all styles and for that a great thanks to all of you as well. Thank you for your time, experience and talents LJ’s!

So on goes the journies of learning more to create what I see in my mind. For me the working of various woods is a wonderful and challenging adventure.

Please check out my latest spoon in the projects section!

Thanks for stopping by…….. on to more sanding…..ok it’s not all wonderful….lmao.

Be well and stay free,


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

6 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2401 days

#1 posted 08-01-2012 11:35 PM

Good blog …as usual. The 3rd spoon from the bottom?? what wood is that? Its beautiful and you did a great job on all of them.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2217 days

#2 posted 08-02-2012 12:11 AM

Well. I am clearly going to have to read up some more before I start first spoon. Do you use green wood because it is softer? After you told me to look for fruitwood, I found a nice piece of cherry in my stock but it is well dried!

What I like most about reading your blogs is that you can not keep the enthusiasm from showing. You are not frustrated from making a mistake, you are ecstatic from discovering something new! I do not think there is much chance of you getting bored! Please keep writing.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View woodworker59's profile


560 posts in 2194 days

#3 posted 08-02-2012 01:56 AM

As with everything that you do Joe, job well done again.. please keep writing, I look forward to your input and your blogs. they are a joy and encouragement to me and others I am sure… you may be a true lumberjock, not because of your lack of tools, but because or your heart for the wood and the project.. keep up the great every installment… Papa..

-- Papa...

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2595 days

#4 posted 08-02-2012 02:00 AM

Thanks for the comments and great work that you share.

Jay: these are actually all cherry.

Kookaburra: You can use dried fruit wood…....but, it will work much harder on the muscles. Green is preferred if you can get some. Also, I have learned that Maple and Walnut are a good choice as well.

If you would like to try this by handtool methods please look for a hook knife. Here is where I purchased mine from:

Papa: Thanks so much for the comments and I surely will keep it going! Thanks for your time!

Best of luck and thanks for taking some time.

All the best,


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3144 days

#5 posted 08-07-2012 08:55 PM

Joe, I really like that two tone spoon. I’m a big fan of Roy as well, I havent watched his videos yet but hope to soon! Hopefully I can make it out to his school one of these days.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2595 days

#6 posted 08-08-2012 12:10 AM

Thanks Mauricio, yes I also am trying to get down to Roy’s school. Hopefully soon….be awesome if we ended up there at the same time!

All the best and thanks!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

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