Sunday, 31 March 2013

Spoon carving tutorial Pt4

The next stage is to start refining the shape using straight knives. I believe this is a Frosts 137 knife; I have a few Frosts knives, mostly 106s so I'm not for ever honing (yes lazy I know). My advice is make sure you get the high carbon laminated ones and forget the stainless, they are still fantastic value for money. I like the longer bladed ones so I can get nice long slicing cuts and span across the whole of the bowl when dressing it to a uniform surface. Some people prefer shorter blades for fear of picking up a nick I believe.

So here you can see I've sketched the final shape I wish to achieve with a pencil. I will work right to these lines now with the knife, again respecting the grain orientation of course. So as you look at the picture I will use draw cuts either side of the bowl working from front rim towards handle, then along the front leading edge from right to left. To form the concave shape in the transition area (between handle and bowl)  I will have to work inwards in both directions to avoid lifting grain. 
Don't worry about this untidy torn grain in the transition area, this is best left until the spoon has dried.
Just followed the sketched lines to shape the bowl profile.
The underside- looks like my axe needs honing!!
Now I have an idea of the final shape, I can waste more material from the underside of the bowl. Be very careful here with grain transitions: generally you work away from the highest point of the keel:-back towards the handle and forwards toward the leading edge. Here I'm doing the former..
Right side done, left to do..
Then slice forwards from the keel to the front edge.
Leaving this sort of shape at this stage. Note I have still left about 1/8th of an inch of thickness in case I need to remove material from the rim.

Nice long slicing draw cuts making the handle parallel from the centre line.
And again dressing the upper surface of the handle to keep it parallel withe the bowl rim.
Once the upper handle surface is flat, I have a reference to safely slim down the underside. I prefer to triangulate this too. 

 Finally before I hollow the bowl I take a planing cut off the upper surface of the bowl to ensure I have clean wood free of any axe nicks that would cause problems if not dealt with now.



  1. Wow! What a fantastic tutorial, a big thank you. I hope you don't mind but I've printed the webpages so I can use them when I'm trying to carve my own spoons outside.

    Once again thanks for taking the time to do this, and get the message out there about using your hands and create something.

  2. No problem at all, I'm glad you find it useful. Same as you say it's all about encouraging others to share the craft.