I like making spoons from crooks. It makes for strong elegant spoons that let the tree be a design partner. Besides, I like discovering the crooks.
When a crook is split, the sinuous ergonomic profile of the spoon is revealed. There it is. Step back and relax. The tree has spoken. Of course, there is still plenty of room for design within the strength of those fibers, but ideally the fibers will run through the handle and along the bottom of the spoon bowl. So when forming the “wedge” of the bowl, I remove wood above the bowl rather than below. If a crook is particularly uncooperative, there is room for compromise — as evidenced by spoons carved from straight-grained blanks.
I’ve been finding some good crooks lately. I’ve got some photos to take, then in the next post, I plan on offering some of the spoons I’ve been carving from them.
Thanks for the sketch. I saved it for reference as I continue to learn. I cut up some branch pieces today and will be splitting them, probably tomorrow and this post couldn’t be more perfect timing. Then I can launch into the roughing out stages. I must say, my newly arrived draw knife makes such an enormous difference in that stage. Looking forward to seeing how things turn out (especially that cherry spoon with the accent in the handle – forgot the spoon blanks from the lesson.) Thanks for all the tips. They are priceless to help hone skills and continue to build confidence…and a new found obsession!
Thanks for sharing your knowledge. That’s how we keep the craft alive.
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What wood is safe for using as spoons?
Sue, just about anything is safe. In some trees, some parts of the plant have toxins but rarely the wood itself — not to any degree of concern. In general you want a close-grained (not open pores) hardwood. Woods like birch and harder woods like some of the maples, cherry, and fruitwoods make great spoons. The list goes on and on, and that is part of the fun; you can give lots of species a try — see what is around your neck of the woods. I remember on Roy Underhill’s show several years back, a fellow was on who had carved spoons from dozens of species — even from a large poison ivy vine! I wouldn’t recommend that one.