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This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the sand badge in round wood working.

This project will be carving a big, ugly, nearly useless spoon using only hand tools. This should be a very basic and simple spoon, able to be built pretty quickly.

You should consider the type of wood to use for making the spoon, avoiding ones with potential toxicity or strong tastes. Here's a thread discussing it further. best wood for a wooden spoon

Be safe when using hand tools, work at your own risk, and enjoy building!

To get certified for this BB, post three pics.  

  - Your chunk of wood that you are starting with  
  - Progress about half way through, with the hand tools you have decided to use for this
  - Final product

Here's a picture, and this one is finished more than necessary, it can be a lot simpler than this.



This video shows the general process and what the finished product should look like.



In this video Paul talks with Michael "Skeeter" Pilarski, permaculture and wildcrafting instructor, about the best wood to use for the spoon.

COMMENTS:
 
paul wheaton
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I like this style much better - although i think that might be some pretty dry wood.   I think you would want to start with some really green wood.

 
paul wheaton
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Here is my all time favorite wood spoon.

This spoon is made of serviceberry and has never been treated.   The coloring is some sort of staining of wood.  This spoon has seen extremely heavy use for ten years.  

I like how the spoon is not symmetrical - proving that it is not made in some factory.



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carved wood spoon made from service berry, never treated
 
Steve Thorn
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I love the look and color of that serviceberry spoon, so cool it has lasted that long and never been treated too!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Does this count as a "big, ugly, nearly useless spoon using only hand tools"?  Made it today and had to stop early because, well, I cut myself and was bleeding thtough the bandage onto the spoon, and so figured I should stop....

(I just ahve to say, I've wanted to carve a spoon since I was a kid, and got the mora spoon carving tool about 4 years ago for my birthday. Of course I've had babies and toddlers that whole time, and so never got around to finally carving a spoon. This Badge Bit worked as excellent motivation for me!)

This was carved from a dwarf apple tree that died almost 2 winters ago from the weight of snow. It's been sitting outside, soggy wet. I brought it inside and carved this spoon from it
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The trunk, and the saw I used to cut it
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Cut down to size, and my mother's Mora knife that she passed on to me
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My knife seemed too small, and the wood too hard, to cut down like they did in the video, so I carved it down bit by bit.
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Carving out the spoon
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spoon bowl
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Carving it down to size
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Blood everywhere--must be time to stop!
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side view--obviously the small spoon needs to get carved to be less thick
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view from the back. --much more work to be done!
 
paul wheaton
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Nicole,

I think you will discover that the carving will go about 7 times easier if you use green wood.  

To qualify for this BB, your spoon needs to be a bit better than that.  
 
Nicole Alderman
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Yeah, I discovered that fun fact about seasoned/green wood when I tried to carve swords and staves out of 2-year seasoned holly. Thee detail I could get was fantastic...but they were REALLY hard to carve. On the plus side, they didn't bend out of shape like the green wood ones do



Anyway, I'd been wanting to use up the apple wood from my apple tree, and the only green wood that is thick enough and I can easily access by my self is alder (which I'm pretty sure wouldn't make a good spoon, as it's so fluffy!).

Hmmmm, maybe that maple tree we copiced has thick enough branches now...
 
Nicole Alderman
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I got further along today!
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View from the front, with wood shavings
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Outside view, to show the bowl of the spoon
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Spoon was then stollen by my daughter
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Side view
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view from the back
Staff note (paul wheaton):

I certify that this BB is complete

 
r ranson
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I have serious spoon evenvy.

Because I have a million urgent things that need doing before new years (a week ago), I decided to spend the afternoon making a spoon and discovered that I'm really crappy at making a spoon.  But I learned a lot and I want to take what I learned and try again.  Maybe even get one of those curved knives.

I also discovered why a hand-carved spoon (even a machine-hand carved spoon) goes for 35-50 dollars in the local markets.  

You did say it could be an "ugly, nearly useless spoon".  I tried to make big, but my tools for cutting wood weren't good enough for that.

My tools: pocket knife, billhook, loopers.

My wood: willow



I cut it to length and split it with the billhook.  I then used the billhook to take off the bark.  



a pocket knife and kindling block





Things I learned:
1. willow is stringy.
2. green willow is nearly impossible to sand
3. making a spoon is kind of fun.  
4. I really like my handle shape.
5. I should have noticed the pithy bit in the middle of the wood was softer than the rest and chosen a different piece of wood.

I need to find some way to dry this so it doesn't split too much and then sand it.  But until then, I think it looks pretty neat.





 
paul wheaton
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Raven,

Keep shaving it down a bit.  You're almost there!

Don't try to sand green wood.   Once you have it pretty well shaped with knives, then you let it dry and you can sand it then.

 
r ranson
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paul wheaton wrote:Raven,

Keep shaving it down a bit.  You're almost there!



thanks.

I'll keep working on it.
 
r ranson
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a somewhat less ugly spoon.  

sorry, the lighting is really bad.  
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Staff note (paul wheaton):

I certify that this BB is complete!

 
Nicole Alderman
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I hit the soft center when carving mine, too. I also got a crack in the wood. I had to keep carving down to rid myself of those areas.

It's HARD making a spoon from a smaller piece of wood. The bowl is hard to fit even the special carving knife in. I think if we had a larger pieces of wood, we wouldn't have encountered these problems. I also realized that a deep bowl on a spoon isn't probably too useful unless one is making a ladle. You could probably carve the rim of the spoon's bowl so it no longer has the squishy center, and then it'd match the handle better too, maybe?

Finding good wood is hard. I've learned that holly is so dense that it doesn't have a soft center, even on tiny twigs. That's why I use it to make little fairy swords and staves. Willow is probably not as dense and so has a larger, softer center than apple wood. I'm wondering if some of the best carving woods are also those with the most BTUs when burning?

I'm thinking you've got the technique and skills down, and the next spoon you carve will be amazing. I'm already eying my next piece of wood to make a spoon with!
 
r ranson
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A bigger spoon would have been much easier, especially since I don't have a curved knife.  

I have a kitchen spoon I love - but everyone else in the house loves it.  I might try to make something that size out of big leaf maple.  That's supposed to be less stringy but still easy to carve.  
 
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There is no spoon ... so let's make one ;)

spoon1.jpg
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A piece of freshly cut Linden branch (frozen).
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Kinda tricky without round knife.
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Tools used.
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Spoon is no longer frozen, it is wet now ... I have decided to dry it first, then polish some more.
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There is a spoon - side view.
Staff note (paul wheaton):

I certify that this BB is complete!

 
Judith Browning
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Don't try to sand green wood.   Once you have it pretty well shaped with knives, then you let it dry and you can sand it then.



Or avoid excess sanding (and the dust produced) by using your whittling knife at an angle that scrapes rather than cuts, scraping with the grain not against.

There are curved steel scrapers sold for such things and I know some careful souls who use a stout piece of glass.

Nicole, bandaids are an integral part of woodworking

Once the spoon is carved and you are ready to sand, soaking to raise the grain first will give a long lasting smooth finish for the life of the spoon.
 
paul wheaton
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I finished this spoon last night.  Jocelyn is upset about the quantity of wood shavings in my office.   :)

Thanks to jocelyn for taking a lot of these pics.

I decided to make another serviceberry spoon.


Jocelyn and I hunted down this wild serviceberry shrub.  Here you can see the kill in the field.




We carried it home and I harvested the best piece for a spoon




splitting the piece into two "blanks" for spoon carving




take off some bark and start narrowing the handle ...  




narrow the handle a bit more




getting pretty close:




I can't think of anything else to fiddle with, so I suppose I now wait for it to dry

Staff note (Nicole Alderman):

I'm totally not Paul, but I say he has this BB complete

 
paul wheaton
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I should add that I wore leather gloves during this.  And one of the gloves took a pretty nasty cut - but my hands were unscarred.



 
David Good
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I decided to carve a spoon before seeing this thread... and now here we all are! Must be the permie zeitgeist.

Here's mine: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsnlpbVlVK2/

I cheated on the bowl and used my Dremel after cutting my hand in the exact same spot as Nicole. BLOOD BROTHERS NOW!

That wood is beach hibiscus, which carves easily and it pretty strong but tends to be a bit thready.

After working on that one, and then losing it when the children cleaned the porch, I tried to go all by hand last weekend at the beach, carving a piece of seagrape wood. That didn't work out, as I had the same problem as Raven. It was invisible until I started carving, but sea grape also has pith through the middle. My piece of wood was looking very nice... and then I hit a very soft core and found out it was worthless for a spoon.

I'll try, try again. I'm using a Mora knife that Marjory Wildcraft sent me as a gift. It holds a very nice edge, but I think a blade with zero curve would do even better.

I also found my first spoon again and am going to work on it some more.

Great project.
 
wayne fajkus
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The spoons are out there, just gotta look for them. Saves a lot of whittling. Find a crotch where the handle is the diameter you want.

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r ranson
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wayne fajkus wrote:The spoons are out there, just gotta look for them. Saves a lot of whittling. Find a crotch where the handle is the diameter you want.



I'm having trouble envisioning the spoon inside.  I can't wait to see the spoon you make from this!
 
wayne fajkus
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Edited for actual submission.

Wood is cedar elm. It has a use too. For a witches cauldron! Lol
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Staff note (paul wheaton):

I certify this BB is complete! (I thought i processed this days ago - something wonky must have happened)

 
David Good
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I got a better one now. Cocoa wood!

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs34wH3l3-K/
 
David Good
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And this one is all hand-carved. Cocoa is soft, but nice to carve. Doesn't split like the beach hibiscus.
 
David Good
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Here's the cocoa wood. I'm now also using a fixed-blade Stanley razorknife. Works well for the little details.

cocoa-wood-spoon.jpg
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David Good
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I started on a sea grape wood spoon last night. I sawed off a nice limb at the beach, then got it home and found that it definitely does not want to split in straight splits, instead, choosing to crack in fractal twists all over the place, so I gave up and chopped out a spoon blank on the miter saw before I ruined the whole piece. The rest of the carving is all by hand, though.

And yes, the wood is actually pink. It's really pretty stuff - looks like it belongs on a beach.

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Mike Barkley
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This project will be carving a big, ugly, nearly useless spoon using only hand tools.



Big, ugly, & nearly useless? Check.

Wanted to make this a spork but once started didn't like the look of the wood on the fork end. Liked the feel of the flat handle though so decided to make it an oriental soup spoon-ish utensil. Those are not lumps & bumps. Those are carefully designed ergonomic features providing the latest innovations in customized wooden spoon technology. It has a deep cavity for maximum load capacity. Other features are the EZ pour spout & the stable non-spill design. Weeble spoons ... they wobble but they don't fall down.

This was made from the excess piece from my simple mallet. All else done with just the knife & sandpaper. And way too much time. Sixteen degrees outside was major factor in that.



The beginning.



A few minutes.



Maybe an hour.



Almost finished. Hours & hours. Then some more hours.



Rough guess this spoon is now worth $500. Value added. R&D costs. Engineering expenses. Will trade for a healthy chicken 'cuz I like ya'll.
Staff note (paul wheaton):

I certify that this BB is complete!

 
David Good
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My biggest trouble has been with carving the bowl of the spoon. I have three tiny gouge chisels but it takes forever. I like this solution:

 
Cameron Carter
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Green wood Spoon,

Started off with part of a recently trimmed oak branch.  Hatcheted in half and hatcheted down to basic shape.  Whittled down with a knife and then realized my leatherman sucked as trying to get the bowl of the spoon carved out.  By the time I got the curved knife it had dried out a bit, but still got it done.  
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Stock wood
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Split wood
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Very basic shape
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Still basic shape
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Whittled down and bowl carved.
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Guess I must have cut myself and I didn't even notice.
Staff note (Nicole Alderman):

I certify that this BB is complete!

 
Do the next thing next. That’s a pretty good rule. Read the tiny ad, that’s a pretty good rule, too.
Getting ready for the Better World Book kickstarter - February 2019
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