Friday, March 30, 2012

(making of) the Wooden Spoon of Destiny

We all have different hands. My theory is, if I make a spoon in different shapes and sizes every time, the spoon should have a perfect matching pair hand somewhere in this world. In someway, the spoon has already chosen it's owner when it was made.

I like to take nine steps to make a spoon. Side profiling, carving, top profiling, rough sanding, refining, hand sanding, hot water treatment, final sanding and finishing. Each steps need a bit of practice but eventually you will get the hang of it after making 5~8 spoons. 

1. Side Profiling 

Sketch the side profile of a spoon on a square edged block

I like to use belt sander and bandsaw to trace the side profile

2. Carving

Secure the piece in a table vise and carveout the head of a spoon 

Read the grain direction carefully and carve along the grain
*Make sure your chisel stays sharp while you are carving*

3. Top Profiling

Trace out the top profile using the bandsaw

4. Rough sanding 

Smooth out all the sharp edges with a belt sander

5. Refining 

Evenly thin out the head of a spoon with very sharp chisel
Try not to leave any chisel marks beyond this step.

6. Hand sanding  

I use three different grades of sandpapers (#80 Coarse - #120 Fine - #220 Very Fine) to shape the spoon. Make sure you get rid of all the scratch marks on the surface.

7. Hot water Treatment

Immerse the spoon in the boiling water for few seconds(3~5 seconds) then air dry it. Repeat this process at least three times. It will raise the wood grains and makes the surface rough again.  

8. Scuffing (Final hand sanding)

When spoon is completely dry, use #120 fine sandpaper and gradually increase to ultra fine(#600) to smooth out the surface for the last time. 

9. Finishing

I use Bee's wax and mineral oil mixture for the finishing. Apply it to a spoon and leave it for fifteen minutes. Varnish the surface with a clean cloth and repeat this process 3~4 times. It's not the most durable finish out there but it sure is my favorite. To keep the spoon clean, rinse it with water and air dry spoon after each use. Apply the mixture at least once a month and the spoon will last for a longtime.


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