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Plans are underway in the U.K. for the third Spoonfest 2014 – The International Celebration of the Carved Wooden Spoon (Aug. 1-3, in Edale, in the stunning Lake District). It sounds amazing – kind of like a Grateful Dead concert crossed with a wood-carving festival. I want to go, but alas, my caravan won’t make it across the pond this year.

The Spoon, the Bowl and the Knife,” a documentary film about Swedish carving legend Wille Sunqvist, is now available (in the United States from Country Workshops and Pinewood Forge).

Wille’s book “Swedish Carving Techniques” (Taunton) is back in print, and available, as they say, wherever books are sold.

I’m convinced spoon carving is the “Roubo Workbench” of the next couple years…and spoons are a far less expensive and time-consuming to make than a bench. Plus, you can work with “found wood” (preferably green) and it takes only a few tools.

You’ll be learning more about spoon carving in the August issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine in an article from Peter Follansbee (who learned the craft from Wille and his son, Jogge, and Drew Langser). (And Drew will be at Woodworking in America 2014, to talk about how he sharpens tools for green woodworking, including the knives he uses for spoon carving, among other things.) I have and use one of Peter’s spoons, and gave another to my step-father at Christmas – they are lovely things; far nicer to look at and use than the soulless versions that come in a three-pack at the grocery.

Read this preview on Joiner’s Notes of what you’ll discover from Peter’s article (it includes the picture above, which I, er, borrowed from him) – and get a head start by collecting suitable sticks from your local forest (or your backyard).

—Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. Subscribe now to get the August issue.


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Showing 5 comments
  • revchairmaker

    I totally agree that spoon carving is a hot item of interest in hand tool woodworking circles. Since Barb got me a couple hook knives for Christmas and I reworked an old axe to serve as a carving axe, I just need the green wood. Hopefully, some will come my way this Spring. It is awesome that the Swedish Carving Techniques book was republished and that there are excellent resources and classes available. Personally, I love the uniqueness of the spoons especially the carving details and the opportunity to give them away ultimately as gifts.

  • navajosh

    Aw man, I’m doing a 365 project of carving a spoon a day. I was just trying to refine my eye for design but now I’m probably going to end up in a Portlandia sketch.

  • Jim McCoy

    I started carving spoons after watching an episode of the Woodwright’s Shop where Peter and Roy showed how to do it. I bought a couple Sloyd type carving knies and a hook knife from Country Workshops, plus a small carving hatchet on eBay. My first spoons were terrible but I kept at it and got better. A kind neighbor gives me prunings from his small fruit orchard and I have repaid him with a spoon and fork pair from a nice piece of cherry. Spoons and forks make great gifts for family and friends and I have more requests for spoons than I do suitable wood so I’m always looking for sources. My wife and I like to take a couple weeks off in the fall and go camping each year so I always try to take along a bunch of roughed out spoon blanks and my carving kit. There is nothing better for my soul than sitting on the bank of a small stream carving spoons.

  • Recruiter

    I’ve been making spoons for several years now. When I first started, I couldn’t find a hook knife anywhere, so I started using gauges and scrapers. Now that I have a hook knife, I still find it easier to make them with the gauges, vs with the hook knife. It’s all what you get used to.

  • Tim

    I’ve been carving spoons like crazy for the past six months. I’ve been giving them as gifts and people love them.
    The only difficulty was sourcing a hook knife so I just made my own.

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