1st Step In The Spoon Making Process #1: Introduction To The Process

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Blog entry by osageman posted 03-05-2009 10:42 PM 1628 reads 5 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I wanted to start this series of “How To Make A Wooden Spoon” with a basic introduction. Someone asked me the question about my choice of wood for utensils. As I thought about it, the more I reallized the choice of wood, is the most critical step in the spoon making process.

First I want to start with what woods I recommend and what I don’t. After you learn some basics, then expand the wood you use. But, start out with a good quality hard rock maple . Why? because It’s easy to find. Most lumber dealers have some in stock. A piece, 12”x 3”x 3” will give you plenty of room for error.

If you can find Osage Orange (hedge) in your area and can cut some dry stuff, then by all means get it. Make sure, if you cut it from a log, that it’s dry and you square it up on a table saw. Split it first into smaller pieces. You’ll find if it’s not too big of a piece, that it will split pretty easy with wedges. You want to start with a good, dry, square piece of whatever wood you choose. The better a pattern you begin with, the better the finished utensil will look. Even I have trouble if I don’t start out with a good straight piece.

DO NOT use pine or cedar. The strong odor from the wood will be transfered to the taste of the food you are cooking. Here are a few tests to see if the wood you choose will make a good wooden utensil.

1.) Make a utensils from the wood you choose.
2.) Run it through the dishwasher a dozen times. Make sure you wet sand it (under running water) every time it feels fuzzy. (400 wet/dry sand paper) If it continues to “fuzz” up I wouldn’t recommend it.
3.) Get a container that is big enough for the utensil you make. Fill it with water and put the utensil in it for a month (just keep adding water to keep it completely wet) After the month take the utensil out and dry it off. Then run it through the dishwasher again. If it survives these test, I think you should have something that you don’t have to worry about.

Here are a few tests I did to see how Osage Orange would hold up. After people started buying my Osage utensils, I thought I had better do some testing to see how they hold up. Here are the tests I did.

I have a wood stove in my shop. I put a pot of water on the stove and added a newly made utensil. I wanted to see the effects that boiling would have on it. After a couple of hours I took it out and to my surprise, it hadn’t cracked yet. So, I put it back in. I did this for 3 days. (YES, 3 days) All I did was add water and boil some more. At the end of the 3 days, it still had not cracked, and was NOT fuzzy. I couldn’t believe that a wood could stand up to this much stress. Next, (if that wasn’t enough of a test) I took the same spoon and put it in water for a month and then took it and left it out in the hot summer weather. At the end of those 3 months. The ONLY thing I did to the spoon was wash and clean it and put mineral oil on it. I still have the spoon. The only thing that is different is: the spoon turned very dark from being boiled and being in the sun for 3 months. You might have to remind me to post that photo so you can see it…

WOW, is all I could say after tesing that piece of wood. That’s why I guarantee my line of wooden kitchen utensils, unconditionally, for life. I do have a disclaimer. The guarnatee is only good, if, you follow the simple care instructions that comes with each utensil. And they are. wash it and apply mineral oil when it looks dull. (really hard, huh) I actually abuse my utensils on purpose. I leave them in the sink soaking to see how they stand up. I do these tests, so you can have complete confidence in the utensils I make.

I know what your thinking; how many utensils have been sent back for the guarantee in the last 5 years.? HONESTLY, only one… And that was my fault. I made the neck of a spatula too thin and when her son used it to press a hamburger down, it broke. I really didn’t mind at all, and was actually glad it broke. I redesigned the neck and sent her another one it. And now I don’t have to worry about it happening again…

That should get you started in the utensil making process. I’m still learning the site with what little time I have, so I might not get here as often as I like. I plan on blogging at least twice a week. To really get your interest up I am going to give away a set of my utensils. Stay tuned on that, I just desided that today. There is SO much interest, that I think it would be fun to do.

I try and watch my spelling and punctuation, but since there isn’t spell check to edit, I will probably miss spell words in my blogs. I just decided to let you pick what utensil(s) I give away. So let me know what you like. I’ll have more pics up as soon as I take them… Good Day!

-- OsageWare

8 comments so far

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4297 days

#1 posted 03-05-2009 11:24 PM

I just happen to have a piece of hard rock maple that I can get that size out of. I will be watching for more info.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View firecaster's profile


573 posts in 3442 days

#2 posted 03-06-2009 12:42 AM

I’m looking forward to this.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3846 days

#3 posted 03-06-2009 12:51 AM

John, thanks for the start of this series. You certainly have more patience that I do. I doubt that I would have given my work the depth of quality control testing that you have. Needless to say if it withstood that type of “abuse” I can well understand why you feel confident enough to give your pieces a lifetime guarantee.

Osage orange is fairly abundant here in Kentucky but I largely regarded it as a nuisance plant. But needless to say my attitude has been adjusted after seeing some nice projects posted here. It has such a beautiful color and grain pattern.

I am looking forward to seeing your next installment.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3746 days

#4 posted 03-06-2009 01:04 AM

What a great blog! I look forward to reading more and seeing photos. Your “giveaway” is most generous too. It’ll be fun and interesting to see the antics this brings!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3465 days

#5 posted 03-06-2009 02:19 AM

That is some serious product testing! i,m impressed. I will have to test the Gmellina I have been using here in the Philippines. I asked my dish washer to follow your instructions and she just looked at me like I was bonkers. Looking forward to more.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 3938 days

#6 posted 03-06-2009 10:15 PM

Hard maple is not easy to find in this part of the world, but what is abundant, and I think appropriate ( so far it’s holding up) is Rimu (Dacrydium Cupressinum). It’s technically a conifer but it’s a southern conifer, one of the podocarps. It’s hard, straight, heavy and weather resistant. I might just run it through the series of tests that you recommend.

I’ve had one spoon that I made about 1 1/2 years ago that has survived regular use and washing so far -no warping, no cracking, no fuzzing.

I’ll also be trying these tests using some of my native beeches (which are not related to the beeches that we usually think of either).

Osage orange ( Maclura pomifera) does occur in NZ as an ornamental, so maybe some day I’ll be lucky enough to come across one or plant some of my own.

Looking forward to the rules for the giveaway. Should be a fun way to keep our attention!

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#7 posted 03-08-2009 03:40 AM

Thanks great beginning . Have you ever tried epi? look forward for more info.


-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Gary's profile


42 posts in 3502 days

#8 posted 03-08-2009 04:52 AM

i already see another project to add to my list, looking forward to more info.

-- Gary, Missouri

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