The 'old' and the new.

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Project by Spoontaneous posted 03-09-2012 02:22 PM 2800 views 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Back in October while visiting my brother on his mountaintop property in VA I found this wooden spoon relic. Since this particular area is not known for its archaeological finds I felt lucky to come away with this specimen.

Apparently, this ‘Cycladic’ spoon is from the latter part of the Holocene Epoch period of the Cenozoic Era.

Crafted from spalted dogwood full of borer holes this spoon was bathed with a brine of steel wool and vinegar to darken the wood. (Kudos to LJs members)

The nice thing about carving a spoon like this is that I can blame any mistakes on someone from thousands of years ago.

This spoon measures approx. 11 3/4” long and 2 1/4” wide at the bowl. The bowl itself was pretty eaten up and that is what dictated the ‘theme’.

The second spoon is from my author friend in MN (who I design the book covers for). She had a ‘spiritual’ experience under the Purple Plum tree in her garden and shipped me a couple of pieces to carve spoons from. This is the second one and I have enough wood to carve one more. At the end of this spoon there is a ‘limb scar’ that I thought interesting…. so I incorporated that.

The next spoon I call ‘Enchanted’ because it came from a ‘special’ tree. When my daughter was 3-5 years old and we lived in KY, we used to visit Bernheim Forest and their arboretum. They had a magnificent Weeping Beech tree in the grove where the branches grew all the way to the ground and created this magical ‘room’ inside. We would pack a picnic and spent many hours in our ‘enchanted’ tree… which she loved because even at 3 years of age she could climb on her own.

I was up for a visit last fall (10 years later) and when we visited our tree we found it had suffered some significant storm damage. The Ranger allowed me to cut and carry out some branches which were lying on the ground and this spoon and the one shown below are both from ‘OUR’ tree.

The Scoopian is what happens when you cross a coffee scoop with a scorpion. Carved in Elm burl with sapwood bowl.

The next Dogwood spoon came from the same set of woods as the ‘relic’ ..... but it was from green wood. In my mind, this is the best spoon I have carved thus far. There is an indention above the bowl for resting the spoon over the edge of the skillet or bowl. It is smoother than a baby’s butt as I sanded it to 320, soaked it, resanded, resoaked, and sanded 320, 500, 800 and 1500 grit. It was shiny even before treating it with oil and beeswax. I really like this one. 14 1/2” long. Can’t wait to cut into the other half of the branch.

Tres Maderas (three woods) was inspired by a pipe I saw. The pipe was so well done with great lines. This one I wasn’t so happy with but it was a good experiment. Madagascar Rosewood, bloodwood and cherry burl.

A couple of odds and ends….. I carved this one spoon from Lignum Vitae (Latin for ‘wood of life’), which was very hard. The wood has a beautiful ‘chatoyancy’ which I will try to show in the added photo.

I did another coffee scoop I call ‘YAWN’. carved in mahogany.

When I did the art festival in Mt Dora there was a gentleman from MN that stopped by and after a friendly conversation he asked if I would like him to send me some ‘Buckthorn’. Another HARD wood but with pretty colors and the such. He said it was a pest tree up that way. Anyways… true to his word, he sent me a box of wood. This is the first from that box. There was a crotched branch and I split it down the middle in order to incorporate the bark inclusion at the top of the spoon bowl.

Okay…. sorry for the long post. I have 4-5 others that I’m working on and thought I had better ‘catch up’. Thanks for having a look.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

13 comments so far

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3230 days

#1 posted 03-09-2012 02:45 PM

Glad to see your spoons showing up again. They are all great spoons and look good also. Your imagination
never seems to run out of ideas and the wood seems to just go along to help you show off its grain and
design. I assume you used the latest carbon dating techniques to date that first spoon, and while it might
not hold water, either the dating or the spoon, it sure does look good. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View terryR's profile


7346 posts in 2453 days

#2 posted 03-09-2012 02:46 PM

Outstanding workmanship…as usual! I love them all…especially the burl scoop on the black handle.

You have a great eye for the using the sapwood and live edges in your art! Keep ‘em coming!!!!!!!!!!!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3181 days

#3 posted 03-09-2012 04:13 PM

Some fine spoons, beautifully made.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18616 posts in 4306 days

#4 posted 03-09-2012 04:21 PM

not only are the spoons beautiful – but the stories behind them as well.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

617 posts in 4411 days

#5 posted 03-09-2012 05:50 PM

Looks like the Tres Madieras photo didn’t make it.
Your spoons are always to die for.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

View PeterM's profile


21 posts in 3049 days

#6 posted 03-09-2012 08:09 PM

I really, really like all of your work.
Greetings from Germany

View Roger's profile


20948 posts in 2949 days

#7 posted 03-10-2012 12:47 AM

spoons-of-art.. very unique and beautiful.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Bagtown's profile


1739 posts in 3875 days

#8 posted 03-10-2012 10:18 AM

Beautiful spoons.
Beautiful stories.


Mike in Bagtown

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 3930 days

#9 posted 03-10-2012 12:46 PM

As always, amazing detail and an eye for the perfect spoon.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2643 days

#10 posted 03-12-2012 03:29 AM

While neither your story nor the first spoon will hold water, your single minded and yet many minded pursuit of this flowing form holds and crystallizes a potent liquid talent. I see limbs on the ground to be cleaned up, you see spoons. Have you ever considered branching out into forks?
My favourite is the second one, with the pipe at the end.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View PurpLev's profile


8540 posts in 3793 days

#11 posted 03-12-2012 03:31 AM

beautiful work

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Spoontaneous's profile


1334 posts in 3475 days

#12 posted 03-12-2012 10:08 AM

Thanks for the comments!

Gene ~ As for forks, I have been planning to carve a ‘Fijian’ cannibal fork… and so it will probably show up here fairly soon. Just waiting for a good piece of wood.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View NaFianna's profile


524 posts in 3171 days

#13 posted 03-13-2012 09:39 PM

I so admire how you see the life in the wood.

-- Cad a dheanfaimid feasta gan adhmad.......?

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