I'm stoked you're interested in learning more about carving spoons. To me carving spoons is a perfect way to offer and add handmade simplicity to your home, pocket, gift or travels. It's really great to eat or cook with a spoon you carved yourself. I also think that these wooden objects are an easy and meaningful way to bring more wild nature closer to our lives and can be a positive offering to the world.
These courses will be set-up with instruction on safe use of sharp tools and provide a series of methodical steps with demonstration and instruction to carve a spoon. Lately I've been most interested in backcountry, child and general eating spoons from both the Swedish and Japanese traditions, we will have the opportunity to choose from these or other types of spoons in the class. I'll guide design, technique, tools & materials you'll do the work.
This page was created to give some basic info and hopefully offer some guidance and some answers to questions you may have. It'll be a work in progress as I learn more about what sorts of questions are out there.
I'll have everything you need to carve, however there are a few things you may want to bring. Safety glasses are nice for parts of the class, so are a pair of leather gloves. Clean ones preferred, costco sometimes has a pack of 3 pair of nice gloves for less than $20. If you have your own tools, great, bring them along. Small ax or hatchet or carving knives. I'll have a small snack to share, maybe bananas or popcorn, feel free to do the same if you like.
If you are thinking you'd like to purchase your own tools for a course or for your own kit see below. If you plan to carve spoons you'll want an Axe, Straight knife (slyod), and Crooked or Bent knife. Once you have a start with this stuff you will want sharpening items. I suggest getting a good Crooked knife and straight knife. It's great to have a great axe but you can get by with a less than great axe if you tune up a cheap one correctly. A small hand saw is also needed.
Tools I use and provide. I have an assortment of axes including a few made by Gransfors & Robin Wood. For knives I will have several from Del Stubbs, Robin Wood, Ben Orford, and some Mora brand knives. There are enough tools for each student to have a set-up with out needing to share or wait on tools.
Del Stubbs. Some of the best crooked knives made and so far my favorite. He has a long waitlist sometimes, so order asap. This link takes you to the crooked knife I use the most. https://pinewoodforge.com/product/open-sweep-2/
Robin Wood, Wood tools. Great name, right. He sells the best affordable axes and knives. Hard to go wrong with these, even when my expensive big name ax is handy I sometimes opt for this ax. A nice weight, handle and edge. He also is an amazing craftsman. His stuff is coming from the UK so also good to order early, but he ships fast. http://wood-tools.co.uk/shop/
Mora 106: This knife is available from many sources, including Robin Wood's site and even Amazon. It's the standard go-to carving knife and happens to be really affordable.
Mora 164: This knife is a readily available hook knife. Sometimes I get great cuts from it sometimes I don't. I had a bladesmith re-grind one and it works really well now. Beginners tend to struggle with it...but its easy to get a hold of online or hobby shops. I heard that they are working to reshape and improve this one.
Old Axes. I have a couple from the trunk of my dads car, antique shops, yard sales...If you have an old ax like this (older suggests better steal) you can tune it up and it may work just fine. I've taken several to Northern Knives in Anchorage and they can put a sweet edge on an old Ax while you wait. It's cheap, fast and they do good work. If your axe blade is very straight it's nice to have at least a little curve or arc on the cutting edge, they can do that to. There is some sweet info on restoring axes on Tim Manny & Robin Wood websites. My ax & sharpening peeps: http://www.northernknives.com/
I've found great tools here. Good prices and service as well. Woodsmith in UK. http://woodsmithexperience.co.uk/
These folks are part of a classic lineage of American woodworking, classes and tools. The Main Coast Craft School. http://www.mainecoastcraft.com/tool-sales.html
Spon. Great book by Barn the Spoon. I'd get this if I were to only have one spoon book.
Swedish Carving Techniques. Old School and cool, classic really. Written by a carving legend. Wille Sundqvist
Country Woodcraft. This is a great book with spoons and all kinds of great wood projects. Drew Langsner.
A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity. A book about the ideal of living a simple, intentional and handmade life. Bill was a friend for a short time before his passing, My wife and I carved our first spoons and bowls with Bill. William Coperthwaite
Jarrod Dahl. Step by step video of Jarrod's process and ideas for carving spoons. He's currently writing a book about turning bowls on a foot powered spring pole lathe. I'll be purchasing that as soon as it's out.
Or look more at other carver resources with a search for:
Jarrod Dahl. Peter Follansbee. Barn the Spoon. Peter Forbes. Sylva Spoon. Michigan Sloyd. Owen Thomas. Alex Yerks. Dave Manning.
I carved my first spoon and bowl with Bill Coperthwaite in Maine. He captured my interest and inspired me as much as anyone has, his book is awesome. Later I spent time learning to carve with Jarrod Dahl in Wisconsin. He's constantly pushing and encouraging the contemporary wood culture with his work and ideas. Other related lessons came from Peter Forbes, Monroe Robinson and work done with Dick Proenneke's craft work and cabin in Alaska.
I sought each of these people out for the lessons I hoped to gain and feel honored to get the time with them I did. The lessons range from skill development to human connections to wilderness appreciation. Way beyond objects.
In a workshop and in my head are thoughts of bringing more nature into our lives. Wilderness. Honoring handmade things for their beauty, function and the connection a handmade object can create from human to human. Taking the focus from gather more objects to recognizing quality objects and fewer of the rest.
In addition to my path as a craftsman I also hold a degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Have taught 12 years in Anchorage K-12 public schools and teach as an adjunct professor for Alaska Pacific University in the Outdoor studies program teaching Wilderness Travel and Packrafting.