The First Step In Making A Wooden Utensil #1: Choosing The Right Piece Of Wood.

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Blog entry by osageman posted 03-10-2009 01:59 AM 1548 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of The First Step In Making A Wooden Utensil series no next part

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I will have the photo of the spoon I did the “test” with on my page tonight. It looks lighter in the photo (because of the camera flash)

It all starts with the choosing the right piece of wood for the wooden utensil you are wanting to make. BUT, the MOST important consideration is, asking your wife what would suit her best, taking into consideration the size of her hand (not yours) I’m sure if you make it to fit “your hand”, that you’ll get to use it more than she does. hint, hint. SO, I would suggest as you are working on the handle to ask her to hold it and say, HONEY, does this fit or does it need to be a bit smaller. Also, ask her what she needs and wants. I DO understand that there will be ladies making wooden ware. I know several that do.

I would suggest if you have never made a wooden utensil that you start with a simple wooden spoon (10 to 12 inches in length will work in the kitchen for most applications) Square it up on the table saw. If it’s not square from the start You will be fighting it from begining to end. Just start with a square piece and you won’t have any problems. (3”x2”x12”) A piece this size sould give you plenty of room for error.

If you position your pattern just right, you might be able to turn the pattern around and get another spoon(not as long though) from the same piece of wood. That’s a good tip for you right here. Try and get as much out of a piece of wood as you can. First, I will decide how many utensils I can get out of a certain piece of wood before I use it. The goal is to utilize and get as much out of it as possible. I might not be able to get another utensil from a piece of wood, but I can make wooden book marks from the scraps. Be creative and save those small pieces. . Just a tip about book marks: Make sure you drill the hole (for the ribbon) before you start on the book mark. It will surely split-out if you don’t.

The strength of your wooden utensil, will be determined by which way the grain runs. On smaller utensils such as small spoons it won’t matter much but when you get into larger pieces such as ladles, the grain needs to run at an angle. Please take this into consideration when choosing the wood to work with. I suggest having the grain of the wood run at an angle. You don’t want it to run horizontal or vertical. Here’s why. Grain that runs straight up and down, (vertical) doesn’t get as smooth as I like when it’s finished. Grain that runs horizontal will not be strong enough through the neck area. Running the wood grain at an angle gives it plenty of strength and gives the grain of the wood a chance to come out in the finished piece. That’s one thing I really like about making wooden ware, you never know what beautiful grain will appear until you’re finished.

There is a lot of wood you can choose from. I have made utensils from at least 50 different types of wood. Some great, some not so great (but they all are usable for cooking with) Whatever you choose have fun with it.

Wish I had the time to set down and write each step of the spoon making proccess out, but Like I said, the book is in the works now. ( wooden ware, from A-Z) The book will include so much more than what I could write here in my blog.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. In the next installmernt we will get started on making a pattern to use. I have patterns for everything I make. A pattern consist of a side pattern and top pattern. Until then, John

P.S. About the utensil give-a-way. I have decided that I am going to picutre a wooden utensil I’ve made and have people guess what kind of wood I used to make it. And the 1st one to correctly identify what wood it is, wins one of my Osage utensils. Let me know, if you think this is a good way to do it…

-- OsageWare

8 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#1 posted 03-10-2009 02:20 AM

Thanks for the post, John. Your blog is informative and clearly written. I will be looking forward to the next installment.

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

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3439 days

#2 posted 03-10-2009 02:26 AM

I was wondering if you used paterns or free handed the cuts. Looking forward to the next post.

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

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3493 days

#3 posted 03-10-2009 02:34 AM

I commented on your projects and now am just “chomping at the bit” to wait for your next blog in the series that I hope is coming.

Thanks so much for sharing and starting this process.

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4125 days

#4 posted 03-10-2009 03:27 AM

I’m looking forward to your info.
This is something that I have been wanting to try.
Wooden utensil crafting is big here in Kentucky.
Most of the artisans I know start with riven wood and use all hand tools.

-- 温故知新

View osageman's profile


59 posts in 3368 days

#5 posted 03-10-2009 03:31 AM

Thanks for the comments so far. I use patterns for all the utensils I make. (a side & top pattern for each utensil) You cut the side pattern first and then the top. Yes, you can do it free hand, but free hand is what it will look like when you are finished. And there is nothing wrong with that. That’s the way our Grandparents did it. I know some that prefer them. I just don’t have all day to make a wooden utensil that I can sell for $30 dollars. As it is now, I don’t make that much on each one (and they take me a good hour to make as it is. And that doesn’t include all the time it takes to::: Go find the wood. Cut the wood. Take it to the saw mill. Go pick it up. Stack it to dry. Let it season. More like a $100 dollars a spoon, then I would start to see some profit. People ask you how much is this spoon and I say $30 and they about have a cow. People just don’t understand all that’s involved in the finished product. I’m sure if you asked them how much they made and you said that’s way too much, they would also have a cow… mowwwww

I plan on writing my blog twice a week. (hopefully)

I know it’s not fast enough, and I wish I had more time. I am writing a book about the utensil making proccess ( from A – Z, on making wooden ware) When I first thought about writing it, I didn’t think it would be that hard. IT IS VERY HARD.

I still haven’t had anyone tell me what they want to see me give a way??? Let me know what you want. John

-- OsageWare

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#6 posted 03-10-2009 06:50 AM

Hey John Thanks for the great start on your blog . well written. I bet it’s hard, it’s kinda like tying your shoe. You know how to do it but how do you write it down how to do it. I can’t wait until you next installment .


-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18269 posts in 3673 days

#7 posted 03-10-2009 07:06 AM

Thanks for the post John. Give away whatever you want. or Want to get rid of ;-))

Speaking of making a living in handicrafts, one would have to be very frugal! Most peole who have a job don’t know what their real total cost is to the employer.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View firecaster's profile


572 posts in 3416 days

#8 posted 03-10-2009 06:27 PM

Very interesting.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

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