Wooden Spoon

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Project by LelandStone posted 01-15-2012 08:12 PM 1458 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So, I turned a bowl for my youngest brother for his Christmas gift. (Said bowl fit nicely into the section of his living room that I’ve dubbed “Jay’s Condiment Corner,” which is basically a large comfy chair surrounded by remote controls and the largest collection of hot sauces, flavoured salts, seasonings, and other snack accoutrements I’ve ever seen outside of a food court at a typical mall. Surprisingly, youngest sibling remains quite svelte.) I’d thought about making another bowl, this time for middle brother, but hedged; I didn’t want to duplicate the gift. What to do?

A-HA! Of COURSE, I’ll make him a SPOON! I’ve had my eye on some beech, sold by my local lumber wholesaler at a VERY attractive price: $2.93 a board foot for wide, long planks of unbelievably clear stock with a subtle tawny colour and an appealing grain consistently streaked with 1/4” long contrasting flecks of brown. I got a LOT of lumber for around 10 bucks, more than enough for a spoon, in fact.

Got the new acquisition back to the shop and immediately started working it; saws beautifully on the bandsaw, seems to turn okay, and it doesn’t hurt that a beer I enjoy is ‘beechwood aged,’ but I digress. I turned the handle of the spoon on the lathe, which, although allowing me to make the little finial at the top and make a more cylindrical handle, was otherwise not worth the setup. I don’t have any kind of steady rest for turning thin stock, and the whipping/vibration was maddening. Let’s just say it took a lot of sanding.

The bowl of the spoon was another matter. At the time I lacked a gouge, and—as I loathe commercially-available wooden ‘spoons’ with their miserly depressions masquerading as bowls— hollowing was a difficulty. I was able to make do by wasting much of the bowl with a couple of passes from a Forstner bit, the rest went away with a combo of 1/4” straight chisels and some smaller carving gouges pressed into grudging service.

-- Leland, OC California

9 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3774 days

#1 posted 01-15-2012 08:19 PM

The process might have been slower than you wanted but the results turned out great.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4263 days

#2 posted 01-15-2012 08:48 PM

Great looking spoon, the deep bowl of the spoon is nice.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Michael Wilson's profile

Michael Wilson

588 posts in 2688 days

#3 posted 01-15-2012 08:56 PM

I tried tackling a wooden spoon as part of my Christmas present packages.

Hollowing out a spoon bowl is one heck of a challenge. I’ve got gouges but they’re about as sharp as silly putty.

I’ve just got the abandoned effort.

Though I was wondering if I could turn a half-sphere and mount it on something I could chuck up in a drill, then cover it in coarse sand paper.

I’ll bet that would work for roughing out a bowl.

View dubsaloon's profile


621 posts in 2991 days

#4 posted 01-16-2012 12:09 PM

Nice looking spoon. I carved my handles and they never seem to be round, maybe I should turn them. Thank you for sharing.

-- The works of evil people are not the problem. It is the "Good" people standing by and watching not speaking up. Dubsaloon

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3064 days

#5 posted 01-16-2012 02:17 PM

You did a fine job on this spoon.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View LelandStone's profile


90 posts in 2710 days

#6 posted 01-16-2012 06:53 PM

Well, thankies guys, hope my kid brother makes a mean batch of chili with this one.

William, I’ve got a couple of ball mills/rasps that I’ve chucked in my drill press—you might have better luck than I had with controlling the stock. I was free-handing and it just wasn’t working well for me.

Dub, the handles I’ve shaped with drawknife and spokeshave have actually had a more subtle, organic feel. This turned handle, in addition to being a real time drain, resulted in a handle with a machine-like consistency. Just like the store-bought ones!


-- Leland, OC California

View LelandStone's profile


90 posts in 2710 days

#7 posted 01-18-2012 05:16 AM

Annnndddd…boy do I feel dumb. The gouge I finished forging over the weekend was far too soft to hold an edge. As I was carving the bowl of another spoon, the gouge actually BENT nearly in half. sigh Okay, this is one hazard of being a cheap scrounger and forging ‘orphan’ steel of unknown alloy content; I chose a piece of coil spring, believing it to be high carbon. It may have been, but was probably alloyed with other metals to impart toughness and flexibility. For some reason I’m thinking of a comedy movie set in the Old West, where the residents lived in a town they (mistakenly) called “Molly-Be-Damned.”

The town’s name was actually “Molybdenum,” one likely culprit that may have spoiled my otherwise well-forged gouge. ;o)

-- Leland, OC California

View Michael Wilson's profile

Michael Wilson

588 posts in 2688 days

#8 posted 01-18-2012 06:09 AM

Heat treat it?

View LelandStone's profile


90 posts in 2710 days

#9 posted 01-18-2012 04:59 PM

Yah, I hardened it at a low cherry first…tempered to a dark blue. Too soft.
Then a light cherry…no tempering.
Then a dark orange…no tempering.
Then a bright orange.

(In a water bath, mind you, not oil, not brine)

And STILL the &^%@ thing bent in half. Nary a crack to be seen, but bent and straightened out and STILL bent again. Next time I’m getting drill rod or O-1 stock at the steelyard. :D

-- Leland, OC California

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