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Thread: Salad spoon project

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    14

    Salad spoon project

    Hi all,
    I have been practicing carving some wooden spoons using my grab box of basswood and have decided that I would like to try to make a nice set of salad spoons. I would like to use a wood that is more figured and colorful than basswood. I do not have access to a band saw and have been using a drawknife to shape out my practice spoons. Would using something like cherry or maple to hard for hand carving? Will I need to use mallet and chisels? I saw a nice piece of spalted maple at Woodcraft today and was wondering if spalted woods cause issues in carving. Is there any toxicity issues using spalted materials?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    30,008
    Very nice spoon, Dennis. I'll let the experienced carvers chime in about how easy or hard it is to carve the woods you listed.

    Regarding the spalting, some people refuse to use spalted wood for food-related pieces, and other folks don't think there's a risk, especially if the piece has been finished with a membrane finish like shellac, lacquer, or polyurethane. Personally, I don't worry about it.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    4,698
    Howdy Dennis,

    Nice looking spoon alright! They're addictive aren't they

    Maple is generally harder than cherry (depending on the sub species of each) both carve fairly nice though. The cherry will be a bit lighter in the hand and the maple will mostly be a smidge more durable. Both will make spoons that can be used and loved for years.

    Generally speaking if you can get green wood to carve you'll enjoy it a whole lot more, at least for the roughing out stages. A lot of spoon carvers basically finish them, let they dru and then take a few super thin shavings off just to make them pretty. This isn't too say carving dry wood is impossible, its just a fair bit more work. Mostly I've used dry wood because I have it in hand, but the green wood addiction is incipient.

    As far as tooling, you can definitely do them with just a knife as it looks like you've been doing. For roughing the bowl a gouge and mallet is a bit faster though, even some of the green wood carvers use a gouge and mallet to start. It's mostly a time invested thing so no you don't NEED the extra tooling, you'll likely eventually want it if you do very many. You have to take smaller shavings with the harder wood so it's a fair bit slower.

    The big problem for me with spalted wood for spoons is that I like to take mine fairly thin and is hard to know how progressed the spalting is in any given spot as it's basically semi controlled rot. It's pretty frustrating to be 80% don't with a spoon and then you find out there was an advanced pocket right where the bowl meets the handle or right smack in the middle of the bowl there's a big punky spot. If it's really light and pretty I'll chance it, but if you're looking for spoon wood initially I'd recommend sticking with mostly knot free and relatively straight grained (unless the grain follows a curve you want in the spoon then even better) woods to minimize the frustration level and optimize success. Once you've done a bunch and failure doesn't seem quite so costly as you've already gotten past the mechanics is when I'd say branch out to more problematic woods.

    Side note on initial shaping, I've been cheating and using a bandsaw because I have one handy, but I've seen folks who were faster than me by a LOT using a small hatchet. Basically the lighter the better for this it seems. So keep your eye open at yard and estate sales for a small hatchet and don't worry about the bandsaw unless you want it for other reasons . The more acute the blade profile the better for the hatchet so try to avoid the crappy wood splitter wedge shaped ones (they more often have a softer metal/temper as well and you'll want to take this to a razor edge).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Reno, Nv
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    3,632
    Great spoon work Dennis. Something to really look forward to...time to shop for some carving tools!
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
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    I find cherry easier to work than maple, on the lathe. Ash and butternut are also good choices for the lathe. Maple tends to beat the carp out of my tools, except something like "wormy soft maple" which works well.

    You could enter some spoons into the swap that's going on. They look very nice.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,247
    very nice spoons makes my version look mickey mouse.

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
    cheers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Escondido, CA
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    5,167
    Nice spoons! I have to say this about spalted wood. The spalting is a fungus. Some folks are more sensitive to these things than others, so for food related products, I would avoid it because I couldn't be sure that at some point someone who couldn't tolerate it would come in contact with it. Just sayin'....
    ++++++

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Yorktown, Virginia
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    I did a little looking on google for stabilized wood used for spoons and couldn't find anyone doing it. I think stabilizing spalted wood with something like cactus juice would let you carve thin with confidence, but dunno whether that spoon would be functional for stirring hot stuff.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    Thank you everyone for the input. I have been slammed at work recently but I can not wait to get back to carving some spoons...I think it is safe to say that I am addicted to carving spoons. I post some pics as they are completed. What is the swap?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Posts
    4,698
    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with, projects in progress are interesting as well if you have time to share them.

    Details on the swap: http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ady-for-a-swap
    Speaking of which.. gotta get crackin!

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