I have a beautiful wooden spoon, one of my favorite things in my kitchen. It was carved by hand and because of that, it was expensive. Totally worth it, in my view, but a once in a lifetime purchase for me. Every now and then I wish I could afford to give one as a gift but cost prohibits. So when I stumbled on an old article from Mother Earth News on how to carve your own wooden spoon, I was intrigued.
Mother Earth News first published the article How to Make a Wooden Spoon in the 1978 November/December print issue of their magazine but it is now available on their website. Author Lee H Arten explains how he taught himself how to make his first wooden spoon, a gift for his wife-to-be. Arten's tone is encouraging and matter-of-fact, making the prospect of carving a wooden spoon seem very reachable. He subscribes to the notion that the spoon is already present in the wood and the maker is just bringing it out.
Arten has never purchased wood for his spoons. He recommends asking lumberyards, furniture making operations, and high school shop teachers for wood scraps that would normally be discarded. He also uses tools that are easy to come by and not expensive, such as a pocketknife and a rasp. You can use a band saw to make the initial cuts, but it isn't necessary.
The article in Mother Earth News might be too sparse for some people. If you want more detailed instructions, consider Edward Smith's Making Wooden Spoons from For the Love of Wood which has pictures or watching one of the many videos you can find on the internet, like the one above.
The bottom line is that making a wooden spoon for your kitchen or as a gift is a relatively simple project that requires very few tools and is rewarding way to spend an afternoon. With autumn just around the corner and the holiday season just beyond that, this might be time to get started!
By the way, the spoon pictured above is the one I mentioned in the first paragraph and it's a far cry from what a beginner might accomplish. Still, it is an inspiration and I would like to credit the maker Lance Herriot as well as his daughter Nikole, who runs the online shop that sells his work and is well-known herself for her blog Forty-Sixth at Grace, as well as her photography and styling work. As I said earlier, the spoon is one of my favorites and it is a blessing and a privilege to be a caretaker for such a beautiful and lovingly made thing.
(Image: Dana Velden)