some spoon carving knives

On to the spoon-carving knives. My first knife that I remember, a Frost Mora knife. My handle. Old now, I use it with the kids. It’s an excellent knife. You could use this knife and not need to read any further.

frost sloyd

My every-day knife, aslo a Frost blade/PF handle. A bit heavier than the first one; similar shape, with that curved end. I use it all the time, from spoon carving, opening mail, it’s my knife at lunch-time when I’m out in the shop/woodpile.
everyday sloyd

everyday frost sloyd

But, like the hatchets, we all tend to go further looking for the knife. Here’s one, from Del Stubbs’ Pinewood Forge.

an unbelievably good knife. We’ll see one of his hook knives too. I have used this for a long time as my finishing knife, for the final cuts on a spoon. That’s why I got the short blade, I’m not doing all the work with this knife. This knife showed me what “sharp” means. Still a favorite.

DS sloyd

DS sloyd bevel

Came with this great birch-bark sheath. the website has instructions on making them, I have done several for my other knives.

DS sheath


sometimes I want a really large knife; this is the largest Svante Djarv offered from Country Workshops. Heavy, thick knife, great shape to the cutting edge. I use it for rough-shaping large spoons. sloyd

SD sloyd blade

But, then came the best knife. really. Nic Westermann’s sloyd knife. I got mine through Lie-Nielsen, we use them there when I teach spoon carving classes. When they have them, they offer them for sale. His hook knife too – (I’ll get to that). I can’t find them right now on the LN website – Nic is teaching there this summer, but his class is full – he will also be presenting at the Open House –

The knife is outlandishly good (even better than “unbelievably good”) – a very thin blade, which took me a bit to get used to. Great shape, perfect bevels, it works so well I am always happy to pick it up & carve with it. Leaves a great burnished surface.


thin blade


Hook knives. Remember the hatchet story, with Robin Wood’s affordable hatchet? Here’s his solution to hook knives. My handle. Thin blade, long, sloping curve. Nice shape and excellent action when cutting with it. I use a dozen of these when I teach – they are a great introduction to spoon carving. this one he calls “open sweep” – I really like the shape. He’s posted videos of using it, and sharpening it here:


RW hook w handle

RW hook profile

RW hook w bevel

RW hook thin profile



Hans Karlsson’s hook knife, mine from Country Workshops. I used these for years; I have them in lefty & righty. HK hook lefty



Here you can see the shape of this curve. HK hook profile

Now, one of  Del Stubbs’ hook knife. Mine’s the #1 open sweep…like the sloyd knife, sharp as all get out.

DS hook

DS hook profile



But, I am converted. Nic Westermann’s hook is the one I use the most. Hollowed on the inside, like Japanese chisels & planes…great shape, great cutting. I have carved through some spoons because I was so entranced with this hook. Write or call Lie-Nielsen in the US, Nic’s website is here:


NW hook profile

NW hook inside

NW bevel

7 thoughts on “some spoon carving knives

  1. I’m curious about how to sharpen the hook knives. They look interesting but I have trouble getting a good edge on a regular blade. What’s the secret?

  2. I’ve always been curious how to fit a new handle to a knife like the Mora knives. Perhaps in a future post you could walk us through the steps? Thanks for the great info!

  3. I am a newbi bowl and spoon carver. I have tried multiple times to buy the Hans Karlsan,Nic Westerman and even Robin wood carving tools. Not a single item is available (adze, knives, twca cam and long carving gauze).
    It is unfortunate that the amateur carver has to wait for a prolonged period to get quality tools. I have seen multiple descriptions by the well known carvers. They describe buying “ dozens” of tools at one time. To make many hundreds of spoons/year they certainly need a large supply. Relegating the amateurs to the bottom is unfortunate.

    • Shailesh – I’m glad you’re interested in spoon & bowl carving, it’s a great way to spend your time. Your note expresses frustration at getting quality tools for this work. It implies that “well-known carvers” somehow get past waiting lists for tools from individual makers. All I know is my personal experience; and that is I get on the waiting list like everyone else. Robin Wood has his tools available quite frequently, his might be the most readily-available. Right now, however, I know he’s shut down due to covid19 – trying to avoid un-necessary burdens on the mail system. Nic Westerman – I got on his waiting list and forgot all about it, until I got an email one day that it was my turn. I have bought some of his tools from Lie-Nielsen in the past. For a time, they handled small shipments of tools from Nic. I bought tools from Hans Karlsson through an English site that sometimes carries his tools, I forget the name of it right now. I also bought some tools when I visited the Karlsson’s one time. Otherwise, I’ve bought them through merchants who used to get small shipments here in the US. Now, it’s direct from Karlsson’s website. “To make many hundreds of spoons/year they certainly need a large supply” is not true. The reason some carvers have multiple tools is for teaching – I have about a dozen Robin Wood hook knives for that purpose. Bought most of them when he was first offering hook knives.I don’t know any maker who is “relegating amateurs to the bottom” – so I think your remarks might be off-target. Maybe it’s just frustration. I know most of these makers, (and others) and none of them would look down on “amateurs” – they one and all just want to put good tools into people’s hands, to further the craft. Many of these makers are one-and-two person shops, trying to make hundreds or thousands of tools per year. It’s simply a matter of time versus increasing demand. There’s only so many tools these people can make at a time…

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