Carve a wooden spoon

Choose a suitable piece of wood

A piece of wood that is going to be strong enough when it is a spoon. Walnut is good but any hard wood will do since they carve very nicely and can withstand pressure on the handle, which means they won’t snap.

To carve a wooden spoon you will need some tools like

  • Carving tools: carving knife and spoon gouges
  • Sandpaper of various grit (320, 180, and 120 grit).
  • Soft pencil or charcoal marker
  • Wood rasp (optional but helpful).
  • A piece of cloth and food-safe oil like Tung Oil.

Step 1: Cut the shape of a spoon from the timber

With your pencil, draw a spoon shape on your piece of wood then cut the shape out with a band saw or a jigsaw or by hand if you want the experience to feel more authentic.

At this point you will have a piece of wood that looks like an overly thick and flat spoon.

Step 2: Carve out the spoon shape

With the spoon gouge, carve out the scooping part of the spoon.

It doesn’t need to be very deep if you plan on just using it as a stirring spoon. For a first attempt try making a shallow spoon shape. You can clamp the spoon to a table or in a timber vice and carefully carve with the gouge. If you decide to hold the spoon with one hand then carve with the other then be careful because the blade on the gouge will be super sharp if its new.

Now you will have a very thick looking spoon shape with the indented spoon end.

Step 3: Shaping the spoon bowl and handle

Once you have the inside of the spoon bowl area carved out, use the pencil to draw the shape you want on the side of the spoon. You are deciding here on how thick the head of the spoon will be and the size of the handle.

If this is your first spoon make it reasonably chunky. There’s nothing worse than snapping a spoon handle so make sure there is plenty of timber left so its plenty strong.

If you hatch the pencil across the section you want to remove then you won’t accidentally remove the handle you intend to keep.

Carve with your carving knife on the side and back.

Get the spoon shape looking good before starting on the handle.

Save working on the handle until last so that you have plenty of timber to hold onto while you work the spoon to the proper shape.

You will be putting considerable pressure on the handle when you carve the centre and edge of the spoon. Keep the handle suitably strong to deal with this force, it’s considerably more than what your spoon will endure when finished.

Step 4: Filing and smoothing

Carve the handle to the shape you expect it to be in the end. Working from the spoon bowl gradually file out and shape along the length of the handle. Work carefully and don’t dig too deep into the timber. Remove small strips of timber so that you can see the spoon gradually forming. This will give you a better feel for the timber and make it easier to follow the grain which will result in a better looking handle.

If you have a rasp you can use that to shape the handle alternating between the rounded and flat side as needed. You can use your carving knife but be super careful with any open bladed tools.

Step 5: Finalise the bowl of the spoon and handle

Make sure you have got a good looking spoon bowl and handle, gradually wear down any bumps or ridges. You won’t want to be trying to remove them with sand paper.

Step 6: Sanding the spoon

Working from coarse sandpaper first begin to smooth the shape of the spoon, round off the edges and finalise the spoon with the finer sandpaper till you are happy with the finish.

Step 7: Oiling the spoon

Using a lint free cloth apply oil to the spoon and work it into the grain. Do not use olive oil, it will spoil. Tung Oil or Sesame Oil are common choices and work well.

Once it is oiled then leave it to cure for a few days at least in a cool dry spot.