Green Woodworking

Wooden spoons and bowls grow on trees. Well, in them really. If I’m lucky, I get to fell the tree I’m after, but sometimes I pick up fresh logs from friends or tree surgeons. Either way, I start with a log and split it down into what we call billets (rectangles of wood). Green logs split well, and wood is much easier to work before it’s dried out.

Whether it’s a spoon or bowl, I use a sharp axe to slice and chop away the bits of wood I don’t want. I don’t need a lot of tools. Axes are fast and precise for making blanks – the basic shapes. Shaping a blank is like a first draft. I’ve made the outlines with a broad tool, then I can go back and edit with more detailed passes.

Once I’ve got my blank, I use a crook knife (rounded like a hook) to hollow out the spoon bowl. Then, I use a straight blade to shape the rest. After the spoon’s dried out for a day or two, I finish it off with a very sharp blade. This leaves a tooled finish that’s smooth and durable instead of scratched and fuzzy like a sanded surface.