“In carving fresh, green wood for spoons I hope that the reader will discover trees; I hope they will discover that carving with basic edge tools, the knife and the axe, is a beautiful thing. This book will suggest that spoons are really sculptural forms, with complex angles and facets requiring both measured and instinctive cuts — and often illusions of perspective — and that spoons are as subtle, varied and valid as any other type of sculpture.”
— Barn the Spoon, Spōn: A Guide to Spoon Carving and the New Wood Culture
One of the joys of Greenwood Fest was meeting Barn the Spoon. You’ll never meet a more authentic guy. Barn has lived a fascinating life and approaches spoon carving with a great deal of thought and sensitivity. Barn’s story, philosophy, and practical tutelage can all be found in his book, Spōn. Spōn is the ancient Anglo-Saxon word for a chip of wood.
The book takes the reader through the philosophical side of working from nature, through the tools, grasps, and procedures of making a spoon, and on through sixteen designs of spoons to carve. It will help anyone, carver or not, to develop an appreciation for the subtle beauty of these little utilitarian sculptures.
While on a trip with my family last week, I took some time away from bowls, but was still able to take a couple knives and some roughed-out blanks and get in some spoon carving.
No workbench or heavy tools required — very peaceful, calming work. At a relatively small scale, it is fun to play around with designs and subtle differences in form.
After a few more touches here and there, these will be ready to take a swim in some flax-seed oil.
Then the real journey begins. As Barn writes, “This deep sense you get is almost analogous to listening to a song, where the effect may not be that obvious to begin with but, when meeting it every day, a feeling builds up over time.”
Uff, I’m ready for one of those spoons as soon as they are Dave!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Just carved a spoon myself, the first time in a year or more. I carved it and finished it and used it as a porridge spoon. Seemed good at first but on second use I realised that it was really much bigger and heavier than necessary and aesthetically I hadn’t really achieved all that I set out to achieve. So I re-carved & re-finished it. It is now much slimmer & lighter and the bowl significantly smaller (but still plenty big enough). It is now much closer to what I was aiming for and is the first spoon I have carved without cutting myself (spoon carving requires care)! I enjoyed the re-carving process, it was much more relaxed – I just carved away while sitting outside in the sun, sipping tea with my mother & my wife chatting away. Nice 🙂 BTW my latest spoon is made of ash, perhaps not ideal (quite fibrous) but not bad (white & sweet).
BTW I generally finish eating utensils with raw linseed oil (flaxseed oil marketed as a wood finish) but am using edible walnut oil (which is cheaper & lighter) for this spoon as it is for personal use only. A friend of my son has a serious nut allergy, something to consider when making eating utensils, so I will be keeping it well away from him.
Thanks for sharing your experience. The hardware store raw linseed oil is indeed the oil of flax seeds, but it is not cold-pressed. Due to the way it is processed (from the mash with solvents that are later removed), it is much darker than cold-pressed flaxseed oil.
Thank you for info on Barn’s book. Just ordered a copy.
LikeLiked by 1 person
On Apple products you may accent some letters by holding down on the letter ō é ü etc.
I agree, Barn’s book is a great read.
Thanks! All fixed now.
I was lucky enough to attend Barn’s book launch in London and get a signed copy.
Do you have any plans to write a book on bowl carving, Dave? I would definitely buy a copy. I’ll even pre-order a copy right now if I can!
Any plans for a book are in my head at this point, nothing in the works or anything like that. I like the idea of it though. Thanks for your vote of confidence.
Just got a copy of Barn’s book in the mail. Looks like they changed the title to ‘Spoon’ now. For the North American market maybe?
Been following your blog for several years now, David; you get my vote for a book as well. Your methodical laying-out of concepts and methods will lend well to it. It would be good to see more detail and insight than a Youtube video or structured teaching environment allows for.
Yep, Keith, they made a few changes to the appearance of the version of Barn’s book available in North America, including the title. Thanks very much for your vote of confidence regarding a possible book from me.