Tag Archives: spoons


I’ve finished three new ladles from cherry wood as a request. The curve of the wood occurred near the flared base of the tree, and I was able to split several blanks for spoons, each with a slightly different angle to the curve. As the tree had already been cut into short lengths by a city work crew, they seemed a bit short as ladles. I solved this by adding a decorative end of teak that makes a nice contrast in colour. The joint was both pegged and glued, and the finished pieces given a coat of beeswax, carnauba and mineral oil.dsc09939dsc09934

More Spoons

In preparation for Vancouver’s 2016 EASTSIDE CULTURE CRAWL, I have been carving on a daily basis, mostly concentrated on larger serving spoons made of locally sourced Cherrywood. All have been finished with a coating of Beeswax, Carnuba, and Mineral oil.

Spoons of 2015

This year my spoon carving improved, as did my level of production. I have  switched over to using a knife finish entirely, which has been great in lowering the amount of sawdust in my house and given the finished product a much more interesting look.

Spoons 2015 2

I was lucky in obtaining a large supply of cherry wood from two trees that were cut down in a local park. I’ve got to the point now that I can complete a spoon in a single sitting, although it’s often necessary to do a few refinements after the wood is completely dry in a couple of weeks. They are finished with a mixture of beeswax, mineral oil, and a smaller amount of carnauba wax for hardness.

Some Things I’ve Made: Part Two

Some things I’ve made: Part Two

I’ve been producing a couple of spoons a week now for several months. Initially, I modelled them after metal spoons I found in my kitchen, but gradually, their style has changed, partly in relation to the tools I’ve been learning to use, partly through looking at the work of other carvers. I’ve also developed a bit of my own aesthetic for these objects of mundane utility – what feels good in the hand and pleases the eye.


Some recent spoons in yellow cedar, hazel, and alder


To speed this process along, I built a shaving horse, based on several designs I saw online. This allows me to use a draw-knife and spoke-shave, tools that make carving much easier. I also completed an adze and hook-knife under Lorne Grey’s excellent tutelage during our forging nights.

Shave horse

Using my shave horse in my shop



adze blade grinding

Lorne helping me to grind my adze blade


The search for green carving wood is an ongoing process. I carry a small folding saw with me and watch for trees or branches felled by wind or pruned by neighbours or city workers. There is only so much I can carry on a bicycle, but bungee cords are amazingly helpful in this respect. I’ve brought back pieces of cherry, alder, apple, and hazel. While out at the beach I found a large chunk of yellow cedar, left behind after someone had cut-up a huge log. With help from David Gowman and a rented van, we managed to drag it back to the field-house to be split-up for a number of carving projects.


My bike as a pack-mule


yellow cedar

Discovery of yellow cedar


Splitting yellow cedar

Splitting yellow cedar (David Gowman photo)


During a recent community event, Amy spotted a large pile of plum-wood, cut and dumped on the sidewalk. As luck would have it, Karen had her car and we were able to squirrel a large quantity of it at the studio. These pieces were large enough for bowl carving, so I began the process of carving two out of a single piece of wood. Both have checked somewhat during the carving phase, but the experience has been a good one. Stay tuned for finished bowls.

Bowl carving

Early bowl carving in plum wood

Strathcona Field-house

Happy Carvers: Alexis Greenwood, me, Mark Trankner, the late, great JD, and Sharon Kallis



Wooden Spoons

Over the past couple of months I have spent many happy Tuesday nights at the Strathcona Park field-house with Artist in Residence, David Gowman, for a casual evening of spoon carving. Initially billed as a pipe-carving workshop, it has evolved into a friendly free-for-all where attendees work on projects of their choosing, loosely based on shaping wood.


Strathcona Park Field-house

I started working on spoons after the second week, and since then have been making one just about every week. I’ve carved before, but this was the first time using green-wood, which David explained is much easier to work with, provided you keep the end-grain sealed and store it in a plastic bag to avoid rapid drying, resulting in the wood checking.


We have collected a multitude of branches, including David’s favorite for horn-making, the Paulownia tomentosa (Empress tree), from a specimen he pollarded in the nearby Cottonwood Garden, and hazel from the same location. I’ve taken to carrying a small folding pruning saw with me in the event I come across a fallen tree. So far I have made spoons from Yellow Cedar, Paulownia, Hazel, Lilac, Apple and Alder.

Yellow Cedar spoon

Yellow Cedar spoon


Alder spoon

David is very generous in loaning tools from his carving collection, including some hand-made hook knives. Recently, blacksmith Lorn Gray has been attending and has brought a portable gas powered forge and he and David have been walking me through the process of tool making. Pounding an anvil is great therapy, plus you get to wear a leather apron. I am working on a small adze blade as well as a hook knife. Hopefully, more ambitious wood projects to come.


With Lorne Gray. Photo by Alexis Greenwood


Photo by Sharon Kallis