I keep some of them…

I try to keep one or two of each batch. I aim to have an example of each type of wood I’ve used too. The one in the foreground here is sycamore/buttonwood/plane tree – take your pick. For some reason, it got passed by, so I kept it & like it.

keeper # 1

In the next view, the background spoon is one of the lilac spoons done this fall. You can tell it’s lilac, because I carved it in the handle…

keeper # 2 lilac

Same two spoons showing the profile – the lilac is from a crook, the sycamore from a straight section. Both will work, but you need to be able to find the strengths and weaknesses of each example as you carve it.

crook v straight

I made the inscribed spoon (in the background) for Maureen in December, from an apple tree given to me by a local tree-cutter. The other apple spoon in the photo was roughed-out quite a while ago, and forgotten. I finally got around to finishing the carving of it, then soaked it in flax oil like all the other spoons I make. This came out so dark, it almost looks like walnut instead of apple.

maureen's new one

I’ve been messing around with making spoons with a hook in the handle, based on examples I’ve seen carved by both  Wille & Jogge Sundqvist. I did a few in birch, here’s the first one:

rose's spoon

rose carving detail

Daniel & I got back from an errand today and our neighbor told us to look up as we got out of the car. Seems this cooper’s hawk was sitting on a wire for over 10 minutes. I went in & got the camera, and was able to walk around to where the light was right without spooking him. Ten minutes later, he was gone, as was the blue sky & sunlight. I always think about how we only see stuff around the yard and the river when our timing is accidentally right – but imagine all the stuff we miss.

Like a Bird on a Wire

three quarter coopersUPDATE:
A reader asked how I know this bird is a cooper’s hawk, not a sharp-shinned hawk. Cooper’s tails are usually more rounded at the tip, sharpies more square. Here’s a sharpie from years ago, hanging around our bird feeders waiting to catch someone unawares. Sharpies are generally smaller than Cooper’s; but females being larger than males, you can get a female sharpie almost as large as a male cooper’s…go by the tail shape instead.

sharp shinned Dec 7
sharp-shinned hawk

9 thoughts on “I keep some of them…

  1. Hello Peter. I’m a recent subscriber to your blog. In fact it’s the only one I get. Part of the reason I signed on was the bird “detours”. Loved the snowy owl pictures. I have never seen one, but think owls in general are really neat. What prompts me to write is: how can you tell you’ve got a Cooper’s hawk and not a sharp shinned? I have had a nesting pair in my woods for 13 years now. I always assumed they were sharp shinned, but it looks so similar to your photo. I’ll have to pay closer attention when they return. Also. I like the wood bits too. Cheers.


    • the tip of the tail is the best feature to ID these two similar birds. I updated the post to include a sharp=shinned for comparison…
      Cooper’s has rounded tip, sharp-shinned squarish. Sharpies are generally smaller, but a female sharpie can be similar to a male cooper’s sometimes…(raptors = females larger than males).

  2. Hi Pete, Great Coopers Hawk photos, we have quite a few of them around our farm. Interestingly, we have had a Carolina Wren that comes to our back glass storm door and gets on its ledge and pecks and chirps. Has done this multiple times daily for the last 4 months. We love the wrens and their inquisitive and fearless nature.

    Question. In your current blog today,with photos of spoons and engravings, which tools/knives etc do you use to make the designs and lettering? I do have your overall list that you gave out a few weeks back, but wondered about the ones used for the designs. I just signed up yesterday for Drew Langsner’s bowl and spoon course in July. Really looking forward to it and you have been the main inspiration for me to do it. Thanks for your help. Spoon Customer, Mike O’Brien Valley Head, AL

    Sent from Mike O’Brien’s iPhone 4s


  3. Love the flax oil spoon in apple, Peter! Gorgeous. That Cooper’s hawk never took his eye off of you. If you’d been smaller, you may well have been dinner! Nice pictures. Blessings on this brisk but beautiful day. Mary

  4. I too like the bird “detours”. Great photos. Thanks. What is the primary lens you use for bird photography?

    Thanks, too, for the interesting and informative discussion and methods presented for spoons, joint stools, etc. Inspiring. Don

  5. Yeah Peter, I started following your blog for the woody stuff, but I really look forward to the bird items too. Keep ’em coming. I can be sure there will never be a bird I have any chance of recognising from our small UK selection, but some of your US ones are becoming familiar now, thanks!

  6. I like the Lilac spoon with that dark knot, it is a good keeper. You make carving these spoons look way easier than it actually is. The artisans are hoping to get back to Tid Marsh later this week…just incase you are in need of replenishing your wood stock :).

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