spoon work


rhododendron spoons


One thing I have been picking away at recently is another bunch of spoons. I cut a rhododendron tree that uprooted in early March… I made a few spoons from it, and really liked working it.  Sometimes the challenge is “seeing” the spoon in the crook. This one in particular is perplexing; I have had it around for over a month & a half. Every so often I would look it over, and try to plan my cuts into the stock.

how many spoons

Another view;

sometimes come at it from another angle


Finally took the plunge the other day.

first one from that section

At the same time I got a bunch of cherry limbs, so I have lots of spoon stock for the warmer days coming. I hew them either at home in the back yard, or in the shop. then the carving is portable, and I do that while watching the kids; in the yard, at the playground, etc.

cherry limb

 Then I cross-cut it, before splitting.

spoon blank in cherry

Splitting the cherry is sometimes tricky. Once I cross-cut the section I want, I usually hew away the bark along the edges where I want it to split. This photo came out like X-ray vision, but it’s a benefit here, because you can see where the hatchet is going, and the crook-ed shape of the spoon blank.

X-ray hewing

I think this is the spoon that came from that blank

small cherry spoon

Here’s the other view

showing the crook shape

Here’s an earlier cherry blank, and the spoon-in-progress that I have worked from it..

cherry ladle blank


Now the spoon laid back where it came from

the spoon in the shape
But today, it’s time to chase birds.
yellow warbler
 one last one, an early morning –
wood duck flight

5 thoughts on “spoon work

  1. There is something oddly pleasurable about making domestic items. I spent a few weeks this winter making various odds and ends around the house too. A laundry battle (or whatever they are called), a couple of medieval and colonial cutting boards, and various trencher plates, handles for pots and such. Its a nice change of pace.

    Peter have you ever tried making a brace? I cant recall. I resuced some amazing ogival/omega-curved pieces that seemed to call out brace to me. I only get one shot at at though, they were hard to find.

  2. Great photos of the crook-to-spoon process, Peter. How do you usually split those tough crooks? I find the froe pretty handy on those, but maybe you’ve got another method.

  3. I am curious about the use of rhododendron. It grows like a weed where I live and have thought about using it for spoon carving. The only thing though, is that everyone tells me it is poisonous. I find this odd though as a lot of people also call it spoon wood as it was a traditional wood for spoon carving. So what is the scoop on this stuff? Is it just the leaves and flowers or is the wood poisonous too?

    • Just came to own a pile of ancient rhododendron, excited to carve but had same question. I’ve researched it a bit, but still do not understand. I was told not to worry as the new shoots, flowers etc have more of the toxin. Still concerned.
      Did you find an answer? Please share.

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