My line of “Everyday Woodenware” was inspired by my desire to create a well-crafted, completely hand-carved wooden spoon at a price that won’t make you shirk at using it in the kitchen.
“The Everyday Cooking Spoon” is just that, with attention to detail and craftsmanship where it counts.
Each spoon is split from unseasoned logs, carved to form by axe and knives, dried, and finish carved without any sanding. Every step of the process, in addition to honoring the traditions of handcraft, helps to create an item with assured strength, aesthetic appeal and function.
The basic design of this spoon draws from Swedish tradition of design popularized by Wille Sundqvist. The Shape of the handle tapers in two planes to create strength where its needed, an ergonomic grip, and a timeless elegance.
All of this work is done by hand, by me, in my small shop in Eugene, Oregon. Only hand tools and human power are necessary, and that is all I use.
More on the process:
I’ve chosen Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), a hardwood local to my bioregion because of its strength, durability, tight grain structure and beauty. It is a diffuse-porous hardwood on par with the best spoon woods available anywhere in the world. Colors can range from very light like maple to rich brown nearly as dark as Walnut, often with deep reds, pinks and purples as well. Madrone is wood unlike anything else, and a beautiful smooth red-barked tree as well.
I source my wood from local suppliers, favoring trees that are slated for removal and would otherwise become firewood. Recycling and ecological responsibility are important to me, and I seek to do my part.
The timeless process is use to produce these spoons is a nod to traditional craftsmanship, that happens to also produce the finest quality item. Every step ensures that the spoon is: in the grain, unlikely to split or degrade in everyday use, and aesthetically and ergonomically pleasing.
Kiln dried lumber is often unsuitable for spoons because a cooking spoon will constantly be exposed to high levels of moisture and quick drying. Kiln drying forces the wood dry, but often weaknesses in the grain structure reveal themselves later during the inevitable use and abuse the spoon sees over the years. For this reason, each of my spoons begins life as a log of unseasoned wood.
The billets I use are split out a fresh log using an axe, froe or wedge. This ensures that the spoon is in the grain along its length and that the handle will stay strong for the life of the piece.
After creating the billets, I hand-carve them to shape using a carving axe, an adze and a drawknife. The refinements in form are then done in hand, with a knife, using traditional Swedish “Sloyd” techniques. This ensures that each piece meets my high standards for balanced aesthetics, and is unique in nature. No two pieces are exactly alike.
The spoon is then dried to a very low moisture content in this shape. The advantage this provides is that any spoon that is liable to crack or check, will do so in the drying process, and not later on in your kitchen. Wood is constantly breathing and is “alive” in this way forever. A piece must be formed with respect to the proper ratios of end-grain to long grain to create an item that is truly long-lasting. That is exactly what this process allows me to produce.
After thorough drying, Each spoon is again hand-carved to a finish, without any abrasives. Abrasives create a surface that, while feeling smooth initially, is far more likely to get “fuzzy” or degrade once the maker’s finish wears off. The knife finish also makes it possible for me to create a piece with an interesting and engaging tactile feel, with smooth facets and sharp lines. In use, the truly smooth-cut surface also wicks moisture a little better than a sanded surface, increasing the life of the spoon.
After a coat of organic virgin Flax oil, the spoon is ready for optional ornamentation, again done completely by hand with a Sloyd knife, or ready to be brought to market.
I created this design based on the work of Swedish traditional carvers and through my own experience as a carver at my local craft shows and markets.
In this style it is generally agreed that a spoon should be functional, light, ergonomic, and without excess wood. That is exactly what I feel I’ve accomplished.
The tapered handle flattens out near the end and sits firmly in the palm while the spoon is used upside-down as a saute tool. The handle gently tapers in towards the bowl, while expanding in the other dimension. This creates a small spline in the “neck” of the spoon that adds strength to the form while allowing and elegant and shapely design to emerge.
The shallow bowl gives just enough depth to be used to taste, serve and scoop, while not weakening the grain structure and allowing cracks to form at the edge. The slanted edge, right or left handed, efficiently and ergonomically scrapes the dish, while the side profiles work well as a scraping spatula for cleaning out mixing bowls and the sides of tall pans. With all this, the spoon also sits with the edge resting above the counter when placed on its back.
All of this is possible through careful hand-carving and a design that I’ve now refined to my satisfaction. Plus, each is subtly unique and shows the marks of how it was made, an homage to simplicity and a reminder that human skill and technique is valid in our modern world.
Any spoon can be customized with carved lettering, artistic engraving or a hole at the end for hanging. Most popularly, I do this for chefs tools or for gifts with a personal touch. A simple engraving of one initial with wavy-
Will you sell at my brick and mortar store?
Yes. I have terms for sales on commission or wholesale. Contact me directly through my website for more information.
The price seems cheap compared to spoons of similar quality, why?
The answer is that its not cheap. I’ve refined my technique and tools and I make a wage that any skilled craftsperson would be happy with producing spoons in this manner.
I want something similar but in a different size or depth, is this possible?
Maybe, my ability to take on special commissions largely rests on the time of year. Winter is almost an assured yes, while summer is often an assured no. Contact me through my site for more info.
Do you do woodburning or other inlay/adornment besides carved engraving?
Can I get something like this in another wood?
Possibly, but probably not. Madrone is the wood of choice because my supply stream is predictable and the wood is of the right quality.
You seem relatively new, how long have you been at this?
As of June 2016, I have been professionally carving for about two years. Most of efforts thus far have been focused on my local markets: The Eugene Saturday Market and the Oregon Country Fair. After lots of development and refinement, I am ready to step into a wider internet-based audience and to gear myself more towards production work.