Email Amnesty
Woops I'm awful at replying to emails, in my defense if I wanted to work in an office I would work in an office. That said I'd like to think my customer service department is not too bad? anyway all apologies if you are awaiting a reply to an email, sometimes I don't know what to say and leave it too long and then I don't know what to do. There are so many now I think I have decided to draw a line under them and start again. Please check out my making contact page.

It's great to be on the move again, though I'm still very busy in and out of London and spending half my time in houses in cities, I am very much looking forward to an even simpler life returning in June. I'm sorry to say I won't be posting out any spoons this Summer, I know in my last post I suggested I might but it is not possible to keep up with the demand at the moment and I don't want to be a constant disappointment. Street selling is going well and when Autumn comes round and I settle again I intend to sell one off bent wood spoons online, the prices will start from £25 each and will reflect the time put into them, once made i'll post a photo and sell them on a first come first served basis. I am extremely excited about the winter prospects of street selling in London, and if you would like to get one of my standard artisan spoons i'm sure you can send someone to one of my regular London haunts to fetch you one.

I have been on a long journey to get to where I am now and though my hands work in the present my sights are set firmly on the future. When looking for inspiration I am really looking for guides on my journey. It is surprising where inspiration comes from, I would find it hard to name many mainstream woodworkers whose work I admire, more often than not I am looking to a few people who post online (many of whom I look forward to meeting for the first time at Spoonfest), and historical artefacts to point me in the right direction.

I know some very talented musicians, a while back when a guitar playing friend was singing a song, it was so beautiful I wanted to cry but because it was just him and me I managed to hold back, maybe I should have let go, I think i may still be crying if I had! Music is lucky to have so many teenagers obsessed with creating it, if only more of them dreamt of making the perfect spoon! but of course there are more and more people out there making nice spoons.

My good friend Tom Ball from Marthas and Arthas was in the woods where my "Green" woodwork training began, it is not possible to separate the way I feel about spoons from the music he played in the woods, just as it cannot be separated from the way an Ash tree bends in the wind and the smell of burning Birch Bark.

Music is so accessible, more often than not I find myself turning to music, whether overjoyed or looking to channel pain, it's the wind in my sails. Happiness is not a chemical it's a song that sings in your heart. If I could write music I would write you a song - spoons are the song I am singing, and I want them to sing their way into your house and to dance around your kitchen.

Barn the Spoon
last orders at the bar...n
Sorry for the crap joke,

Thanks for all the spoon orders and the wonderful feedback, selling spoons is a fantastic way of life and i am very grateful to those of you that have bought spoons online for making it such a pleasant experience, i now have spoons in Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, Itlay, Spain, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, India, China, America, Canada.  I am very pleased that at least half of my sales are repeat orders so i must be doing something right. It won't be long now until i will be roaming free, like some giant wild spoon carver, so i'm afraid no more orders, i may well be selling online again come Autumn.

If anyone is desperate for a spoon then you can try and persuade me, but expect a no.

The weather recently has been amazing and has made me realise quite how soon i will be back on the road again, still a little time to shed some of my winter coat! (i hope).

My true calling is street selling spoons, i often get emails from people wanting to know where i am so they can come and buy a spoon but don't like telling them, sorry if this seems funny, but a large part of what i do is based around the freedom of not needing to be anywhere and it just wouldn't work for me. I won't be posting Journal style about where i am during the summer but will no doubt be putting some crap up here! hopefully photos of spoons too.

If you a keen to get a spoon in person i am more than happy for you to turn up at the end of one of my courses, as a rule i don't do "shows" unless it's for friends but i shall be at the Bodgers Ball which is the Pole Lathe associations annual get together, the APF show with the bodgers, and of course Spoonfest.

Bring on the Summer!

ps if you saw the hilarious interview in the Guardian Fashion section you'll be glad to know i've got some new trousers! Emily Stein (the photographer) saw me in a newsagent in London and said i looked amazing (she has a thing for funny looking people) and that she would love to photograph me, Emily emailed me several times over the last year and half and i finally gave in not least to entertain my new young friends in Bristol. The interview was done over the phone lasted around 45 minutes and was condensed into Becky's own words.
Barn the Spoon
Spoon Design

Another quick video with a few ideas about spoon design, having watched it I feel I should have done some preparation for it, but the main idea was to give a good 3D view of a couple of my spoons which is much better than just a photo, even better is to have a real solid 3D spoon in your hands! And what better place to get your hands on some beautiful spoons than


Barn the Spoon
Axe Blocks

A quickie video whilst i'm still in a house with a large chopping Block. There are obviously a million and one different ways to use an Axe with a block but this hopefully gives a brief idea of the ways I often find myself doing things. This is not an instructional video which i think would be irresponsible, the safe and efficient use of  Axes and Knives will always be best learnt face to face with someone who is an experienced teacher.

My Axe Blocks from barn carder on Vimeo.

We have added some more exciting news to our "what's on" and "Lineup" at

Barn the Spoon
Carving Video

Here's a video i've made of me making one of my Octagonal eating spoons, i'm hoping to do some more videos to talk about spoon design and how to set yourself up for carving. The video was produced by my housemate Chris, there isn't much missing he just edited out the repeated bits but i will put the full length online at some point (~14 min), the spoon knife i'm using is a bit big for this spoon because i snapped my normal one by being too strong (it may have benefited from being normalised before being hardened). Now i'm settled i am using a Ben Orford hand adze to start the hollowing but forgot to bring it downstairs so didn't bother, it only saves a couple of minutes per spoon and is quite heavy so when travelling around i don't carry one, i'm hoping future videos will be more useful but this is a start!

Barn the Spoon
Spoon Carving Courses
At last new dates for London! I apologise for the delay, it has been difficult to decide which days I can commit to so that I can work on Spoonfest and also make a visit to Scandinavia. For now I am Just putting in dates for London, those of you keen to come on a few days please book early because I may not be able to put more courses on until the winter.

Saturday 24th March Beginners 
Sunday   25th March Developers 

Saturday 26th May Beginners 
Sunday   27th May Developers 

Saturday 23rd June Beginners 
Sunday   24th June Developers 

The idea being that you can come on developers courses once you have been on a beginners, many of you will prefer to do these concurrently, but you can also then go away and practice before you come back on a 3rd and 4th day, this is an extremely efficient way of learning and though perhaps harder work for me allows you to get great teaching value for your money.

I very much enjoy teaching and look forward to welcoming new carvers as well as those coming back to perfect their techniques. These courses are unique because as far as I am aware I am the only Artisan in Britain making a living from carving spoons using just folk tools (axe/knife) to create practical utensils. I am also passionate about teaching and have extensive teaching experience (I was a professional teacher before I was a professional woodworker).

I am increasing the cost of the courses to £65 for the day, and if I move to London next winter there will be a further increase to at least £75. To soften the blow I'm giving a discount for early bookers this will be available until 14th February 2012, and will remain at last years prices £50/day.

For more information have have a look at my London Courses Page

If you would like to chat about my courses feel free to email or give me a call 07950 751 811.

Bristol Spoon carving courses

31st   March  Beginners
5th     May     Beginners
9th     June     Developers

Sorry to those I had to turn away for the last workshop, hopefully these dates will work for you if not you might be able to persuade me to do some personal tuition (but probably not now i think about it).

I now have a much larger room at the Quaker house which is turning out to be the best place ever for courses (clean, light, large and well organised) I might be able to put some photos up as some customers took photos last time. I really have been very lucky to find this venue, you've got to love a quaker! i am much more comfortable renting a space in a place like this than arty workshopy places.

Please take advantage of the early booking discount, it is much more convenient for me and saves you money. I do know what it's like i often get the coach up to my London courses and if only i would be organised and book them early i'd save £15 each time!

There's more information on the Bristol Courses Page
Barn the Spoon
Happy New Year!

There were some gloriously sunny days street selling spoons last month, and then there has been the last few days! Sorry i haven't posted for a while I have been busy with wood, and since the weather has been bad i have been in doors and feeling very grateful to have a home. I am pleased i finally came round to the idea of selling online and though i am definitely happiest selling sat on the street, i have very much enjoyed parcelling up spoons and sending them off. Thank you all for the kind messages you sent back.

The two handsome men above are me and Paul Wylde of Grounded Ecotherapy, put this in because i have discovered that although i had been telling everyone the hat was the black bit from a Panda Bear fur, turns out it's Rabbit, i definitely don't condone causing extinctions but can't see what's wrong with wearing fur next they'll be saying you can't shit in the woods.

December was busy i ran two courses - a beginners in Bristol and also a developers in London, i only had one day selling in London and it rained till lunchtime but it was a fantastic afternoon at a new location  (London streets really are paved in Gold). Although i very much enjoy teaching beginners, it has been great getting people coming back on the developers workshops. I never take photos when i should but here are some of George's spoons who has been on two of my workshops (thanks for sending me these George).

An amazing year 2011, my favourite time was spent in Oxford, I had a couple of weeks there and was very productive, it was nice to see so many people i had met there the year before and even better when they came back for more spoons. I also had a fantastic time At Mr Abbott's Living Wood, I missed the old man and was very pleased to be asked back to teach, i'll be heading back for one of his development weeks as a holiday sometime in Spring.  

I am currently making the spoons I dreamed of making, this is hugely rewarding, and is made possible because you buy them all. Having worked my head around a couple of new styles, I am now looking forward to making several new designs and offering these online.

I am very grateful to all of those that have helped me towards my goals, Mike Abbott who gave me my foundation in working green wood his general philosophy permeates my work, Ben Orford who was the first person I saw  skillfully carve a spoon with an axe and a knife, and Robin Wood who has given me much help over the last couple of years and is the only person who seems to be happy to put up with me talking endlessly about spoons and spoon design without these people I would be scratching around with blunt chisels and sandpaper. There are many more people that have helped me along my way thank you.

I definitely made the right decision living in a city this winter, the last few years of my life have just seemed to get better and better but the winters have been less good, this year i have broken that habit! Those of you that know me will have heard me talk about my "new young friends" who have been extremely supportive of my endeavours, not least putting up with wood shavings all over their houses every time I turn up unexpected and do my washing.

Something to get off my chest, this is my little sugar spoon I've been making a few of these recently,  it's stained with coffee, an interesting phenomenom i have discovered is how people love the look of dirty/stained spoons, if ever I have an old spoon out selling (which i sometimes do if I'm copying one) people want it straight away. Ironically many of my spoons end up not being used because they are too precious! this is ridiculous and  I find it very frustrating.

I do not regret turning down the offer of having a book published, the stuff which I would have wanted to write about is personal and deserves to stay that way, i can understand peoples interest in my way of life but this blog is a good outlet for anything i have to say and is free! I do regret not getting to all of the people I had hoped to carve spoons for, and would be happy to send a spoon free of charge to any of those people I did not make it to. The only other regret of 2011 is that I did not dance, maybe that will change in 2012.

Spoon On! 

Barn the Spoon
Spoon Rack

Brilliant! finally got round to making one of these, my large spoon rack was over flowing with all my spoons and some even had to live in a draw! Those of you that are spoon enthused will have seen antique ones of these and i have seen Wayne Batchelor of the APT with his -which i think had the loop made from hazel in the round.

It works perfectly with my octagonal handled eating spoons. I don't have any whippy bits of hazel at the moment so i made this with cleft hazel, I barely skimmed the bark off the outside of the loop and steam bent it to shape (it wouldn't bend without the heat), this has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience reminds me of steam bending days in the woods for chair making except instead of using an open fire and oil drum i was using a roasting pan on a gas hob. In fact i enjoyed it so much i have just made another 2 in Wych Elm with similar hazel hoop, they each hold 6 hazel eating spoons and one could be yours for £60 spoons and all.

These two racks have sold now, but i'de be interested in doing some more if anyone wants one get in contact.
Barn the Spoon
Bent Branch Spoons
I have just been staying in a nice little wood which was lovely after a few hectic days of birthday celebrations. I am very happy to be in a City for the winter, but i do crave getting back on the road, not least for the solitude, i miss my time alone with trees very much. 

I was staying with friends Olly and Lily who are introducing a seven year hazel coppice rotation to their wood. I am usually interested in the straight hazel for my octagonal eating spoons, and have come back from the woods with enough straight wood for a few hundred spoons, but this time i was also looking for some bent branches, these i wanted particularly for making birdy caddy spoons (more on this another time). Below you can see one of the forks ive brought back with me, i find it easier to split if you leave it as a fork even if like the one just below i will probably only get one spoon out of it (because of the knot).

This fork shows how i've cleft the two spoons out, these spoons have the same style neck and handle as my cooking/serving spoons on the "for sale" page. I like the way they've both come from the same branch, and obviously the grain follows the bowl which makes them more durable and some claim more comfortable to eat with. You can buy this pair of special spoons with my makers mark on each spoon for £45 (this includes postage)
Barn the Spoon
Spoon Club
Don't worry i've not become a communist, well not yet at least...i'm more a "social anarchic individualist" (luckily for you lot i know nothing about politics!).
A few folks have asked if they could have a copy of this, so i thought i would post it here, don't worry about cutting off my blog at the bottom and using it yourself.
It was created by a couple of friends i live with who are self employed artists and available for work.
Spoon on.

Barn the Spoon
Spoon Club
The original Spoon club was held in my static caravan in Herefordshire on a winters day a couple of years ago. Will (who looks like a caveman and has a spaniel that can't keep secrets) was going to come round and we were going to carve spoons. He brought with him a whole bunch of sausages and his puppy. I don't remember much about the day but we went and chopped down a field maple tree with a chainsaw and i had no ear defenders on, I remember thinking this would have been better with a hand saw, anyway we got back carved some spoons ate a whole load of sausages and I had a general feeling of this is brilliant lets do this again.

Spoon Club grew into something that happened every Saturday, everyone knew that I had open house on Saturday and people would come round, the general idea being that it was purely a social event based around carving of spoons, lots of tea and coffee and a pan of sausages. Friends would come round with tools and wood, though ideas were passed around and skills shared passively, there was no formal teaching, no one was "in charge" it was just a gathering of people doing stuff they loved. We would sit around my static caravan which seated 8 or so around the woodburner and carve and chat. I am hugely indebted to those that came to Spoon Club as it helped me through a difficult time. I am particularly grateful to Ben and Lois who were staunch supporters of Spoon Club, and the other regulars Toby, Ali, Pete, Maurice, and obviously Will thanks guys.

It'll come as no surprise, seeing as most of you are crafters, that being sat around as a social group creating folk craft is a truly beautiful thing. It is just something that feels completely right. In my opinion it is one of those things we were created to do, it is a shame it's missing from many peoples lives.

You will probably know about the quilting movement, affectionately known by some as "stitch and bitch" groups, where friends meet in each others houses and sew together. Quilts are beautiful folk craft, like spoons they are something that everyone still needs and use on a daily basis, and who wouldn't rather have a hand made quilt than a lifeless one from a factory? the most beautiful part about quilts is they are a mix of old fabrics where part of a dress/curtain/etc may have worn through a small section of the good stuff is saved and these are sewn together in a mosiac, so not only is the quilt beautiful in it's own right but the owner may recognise the fabrics which gives the Aesthetic a depth that can't be bought.

I hope you will forgive me but I always promised myself I would take things a bit more seriously when I reached thirty and that has happened today! (11/11/11) I'm on a mission to get a hand carved wooden spoon into every household in the country, and i hope you will join this mission. If i could carve all of them myself i would but although i would love to be a Spoonillionaire i don't think this is possible. If each town had a spoon club going then we certainly would be able to do it. I want people to have that same empowered feeling i get when i create beautiful practical utensils using simple tools, the tools we have been using for thousands of years but seem to have turned our back on in the last century.

It won't seem strange for me to suggest that times are changing, the whole cultural environment we live and work in has shifted as much in the last ten years as any other decade in our history. As we move into the future big organisations will become larger like they always do with more levels of complexity. I am not against this, but i am certainly for the indiviual, far from cowering under the shadow of corporations we should flourish under their canopy, and it looks like we are! I think we are entering a new age of Folk Craft and Artisan Craftsmanship, it is my hope we embrace this, and my personal wish that Wood carved with axes and knives is part of that movement.

Like the last couple of years i will be travelling around carving spoons from around April , i would dearly love to visit some "Spoon Clubs" along the way, if you would like any advice on how to set up a spoon club please get in contact. I will also be getting spoon club up and running in Bristol, so this is an open invitation to any other spooners out there to come along.
Barn the Spoon
Sanded Spoon!!

Well all of my original spoons 12 years ago were sanded and i was really pleased with them at the time, when i see them at my parents house i also quite like the naive Aesthetic they have. I have wondered if you can make an item functional what is the point in chasing down different designs and trying to perfect them? i think the answer is some of us are just chasers and i think beautiful spoons are a good a thing to chase as anything else. Anyway this spoon is interesting for a couple of reasons, firstly it has been made from a bent branch you may be able to notice the elongated rings in the bowl, if the bend in the branch perfectly follows the curve of the bowl then you get straight grain and no rings at all, in my experience it's rare to find a perfect match, and when you force it it definitely looks forced to me (i don't think that this is a bad thing). But i think it is not neccessary, certainly using a bend even like i have above will greatly increase the strength of the spoon not least because of the ripple in the grain that interlocks and also looks pretty.

So i've cocked up and left my old spoon knife in London, and all i have now are my new (lovely) Spoon Knives, i am still very excited about these, and i'm looking forward to exploring the shapes of bowls they will  make, i am finding that i can finish the bowl of a spoon in about half the time it was taking before with a lovely uniform finish. 

So you may ask why i have sanded the inside of this spoon. Well because the spoon knife is symmetrical it has quite a limited size bowl it can make. When you carve with the grain (which i find faster) you need to maintain enough shallowness to the bowl so that you can tidy up the middle across the grain. I'll forgive myself because this type of knife is very new to me (if you know anyone that uses one like it please get in contact), but i was left with a few fine hairs in the bottom of the bowl and had run out of space to change it. Having recently picked up some old stuff from storage i found some micro mesh that i used to polish my wooden jewelry with, this starts with 1500 grit and secveral grades up to 12000, i did it all in just over 5 minutes, under a warm running tap (hot water from a tap is a luxury i adore), the water lubricates the very fine abrasive as well as keeping the grain from flattening, i let it dry and gave it a quick rub with the 12000 again. As i hope you can see from the photo it leaves a very smooth finish which you can see you can actually see your face in. I used this spoon to eat with last night, and was nervous that i would prefer it to the carved finish i leave on my spoons. Luckily i did not like it at all, and shall not be sanding any more spoons. Disappointingly all my housemates liked it because they think it looked nicer, don't know what to do about that : (

Barn the Spoon
Massive Crisis of Faith

 The other day i was having a very pleasant trip to my parents, they were watching Antiques Roadshow. On the show there was porcelain vase that was astonishingly beautiful turns out that due to some tax thing in the olden days for a short period of time porcelain or whatever was taxed very heavily probably to pay for some war, so these vases were actually made by glass blowers they weren't porcelain but white glass. They were so nice that for almost a whole minute i was determined to become a glass blower, i was ready to give up everything and retrain. Don't panic, i got over it! but i feel there is much to learn about Aesthetics from studying other materials.

The vase had a beautiful organic shape to it, there were slightly spiralling "ribs" around the outside that had the glass stretched between them it looked similar to a seed pod. After being told it was glass you could tell from the rim that it was, i don't know about glass but it was probably snapped off the stock material to make the opening to the top of the vase, and then melted a bit to remove sharp edges.

Anyway this reminded me of some of the stuff Fritiof had for show when he came over, Rob has some nice photos on his blog. The stuff of his i really loved were the birds. My point being that i loved these items because the wood almost seemed stretched, it gave a ligtness to the objects, you can use the bellly of the knife for the slight hollows. I feel like the Aesthetics of the two designs i'm working on at the moment are like forging metal the material feels like it has been hammered out this is shown by  distribution of material.

Tips for Spooners
The profile of the inside of the bowl does not need to be parallel to the outside, in fact it can have quite a different profile, and i often prefer them that way.
Try flexing the spoon along it's length i like it when they don't flex more in one spot than another.
Think about shapes as dynamic when you shape a curve where does it start? where does it go? does the tightness of the curve accelerate or deccelerate.
Triangulation! all the cool knife grips are about triangulation, it generates absolute control.

Below are some photos of the spoon i made when Fritiof was here, i finished the hollowing this morning with my new hook. I am pleased to have such a large spoon to go with our new 18.5 litre pan, the pan holds about 30 odd portions of food and the new spoon serves one portion in one dollop. The hook is great for stopping the spoon dropping in the pan and for storage, i like the hook position so it doesn't interfere with holding the handle. The shoulders of the bowl are a signiture of Fritiof's spoons and are a great design feature that is easy to achieve.

Barn the Spoon
Spoon Carving Workshops
Friday morning i took the national express to london for one of my monthly workshops, i took this photo of some graffiti on my way down gloucester rd to the coach station. This kind of artwork never fails to impress me, i keep meaning to post some other photos i've taken of my favourite graffiti. I must admit i find legal "graffiti" a bit sickening, and hope this man crept about with a bit of adrenaline flowing through him whilst the noxious fumes from the spray can entered his lungs. The attraction for me is the underlying passion/obsession and focus to manifest a concise image, one that might catch someone's eye like mine (more on this another time).

I run the workshops in the heart of the East End of London right behind Mile End tube station, there is much poverty in this area which is overlooked by Canary Wharf.

Tower Hamlets has a fantastic Park resource it's 30 acres of woodland with wild flower meadow is notorious for it's huge biodiversity, it is amazing to see the trees reclaim the earth from the gravestones of the old Bow Cemetery. I have the run of the Soanes Centre for the weekend, this has kitchen and toilet facilities with a classroom and a covered open air space outside, i also source all my materials (for the course) from the park too.
I was introduced to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park by Paul Wylde who set up Grounded Ecotherapy with Kelvin Barton, they work with a group formed mostly of volunteers who regularly do conservation work in the park. I got involved with these guys after meeting up with Paul in London, Paul is a brilliant and hilarious man and i very much enjoy spending time with him, but i also passionately believe in the work he and his team are trying to do, i have spent quite a lot of time passing on skills from hafting axe heads and spoon carving to fire by friction. This Monday after running my weekend workshops i was to firm up some foundations they have in Pole lathe turning, getting them to cut a pole and set it up to churn out some treen. It's empowering to be able to make the machines you use!
I'm very grateful to the group for always making me so welcome in London, i consider it a privelige to work with such a lovely group of people.
Sorry i've got no photos of the actual  course i'm too busy working! (i promise i will next time) But i'm sure you get the general idea, axes, axe blocks, wood, knives, spoons and lots of wood shavings.

Barn the Spoon
New Spoon Knife

The first spoons i made were made from Lime turned on a Pole lathe and hollowed out using Pfeil gouges (beautiful gouges). I am obviously completely sold on axes and knives. But i do admire a lot of traditional carving that has been done with chisels. That said after having a bit of tuition from a world class carver i was very disappointed to see the vast number of different chisels he used, his work was beautiful and he was a skilled man but the number of chisels were too prescriptive (and too expensive) for me.

I started using Svante Djarv spoon knives about 10 years ago i think these were either introduced to me by Mike Abbotts books or Ray Mears, i got several bad cuts from them because i didn't know the safe way of using them, cuts from spoon knives can be quite nasty because they cut chunks out rather than nice neat gashes which can close and weld themselves shut like straight knives do.

When i was serving Mike Abbotts apprenticeship i met Ben Orford after trying his spoon knives i was amazed at how sharp they were, he also had a slightly flatter design knife that gave a nice smooth finish.  Since then i started using Ben's knives and use them on my courses, i find the smaller knives are better for beginners as they do not need to take big cuts.

It didn't take long to realise that the big knives were the way forward for making lots of spoons and for giving the very best finish. As i think is often best i tried out what they did in the olden days, let's face it they knew what they were doing in those days and to be honest when it comes to Artisan spoons very few people know what they are talking about these days. I had seen old photos of twca cam's etc and got masses of information from watching Ion Constantin on YouTube.

Anyway when i was travelling around i had this large Svante Djarv spoon knife blade that i'd put in a large handle, but i find his bevel angle too fat and i didn't have anything to grind the bevel down with, so then i think i bought a large Ben Orford hook which is similar size and shape to Svante Djarv but has a more acute bevel angle. I am very embarassed to admit i snapped this blade when attempting to fit it into a poorly drilled out mortice (about ten years previous to that i had snapped a Svante Djarv when i put it in a vice and tried to open up the curve a bit (luckily i know more about metal these days!) woops.

So then i was at friends in devon who had a belt sander (machines like belt sanders or wetstone grinders are great for sharpening not just because they are quicker but because you do not need to move the blade backwards and forwards this gives much greater control for sharpening particularly reshaping a spoon knife).  I ground the angle down considerably and sharpened it, wow what an improvement! the bevel on bent blades can be more acute because the bend puts tension in the blade and prevents edge roll (or something like that).

believe me there are as many ways to use and hold a spoon knife as there are with straight knives so don't let anyone tell you their way is the only one. I have been using this long handled spoon knife ever since and have several of my own ways of using it which i will go into more depth on another post.

I learnt much after chatting to Rob about how Ion used his spoon knife and a combination of studying YouTube videos and Rob's description of how he used it and using the replica of Ion's knife that Rob made. I made much progress in how i felt the future of my spoon carving needed to be. Since then i have made a lot of spoons and i have been getting more and more frustrated with my spoon knife. The main problem for me arises because the blade is asymmetric, this makes it difficult to create a symmetric shape bowl. Like i said there is not just one way of doing things but my future spoon carving lies in symmetrical blades and i have known this for a while.

Anyway i finally got around to forging a new blade to my exact designs with Rob, this is the first one i have put a handle on and the photo is the first spoon i made with it. I know i have been waffling on a bit but i am very excited about this, it really is the dawning of a new age of work for me.

The ongoing debate between the spooners i respect goes sonmething like this, it appears they all use asymetric blades, Rob has experimented using scrapers inside his bowl which he reckons medieval artisans did and having looked at medieval spoons they do look like they may have been, Jogge sands the inside of his bowls to a very smooth finish. And Fritiof who also was concerned about the asymmetric shape the knives made the bowls does somthing completely different, he leaves grooves in the bowls by doing a series of cuts across the bowl all going with the grain, he comes from two directions and meets in the middle, this leaves a good finish and allows control of the shape of the spoon. I have seen spoons made by Ben where the cuts leaves grooves working into the centre radially.. All of us do some hollowing with adzes/axes before hand.

Anyway, i know i waffled on there, there is just so much to say about these things, but i need to get going with work now. This spoon is a special one and therefore the price is more than normal. Yesterday was a brilliant day, not least because it looks like Spoon fest is getting some legs.

Cherry Spoon (Sold)
Barn the Spoon
Craft Wood?..Craft Metal!
It strikes me that as with industry most craft hobbies have taken the same route - more machines = less skill. Now i am not naive enough to think that this is always the case but i am certain all woodworkers of any kind would gain much from learning how to sharpen a knife and carve a spoon. The beauty of spoon carving is the simplicity of the tools and the availability of the wood, it truly is a folk craft.

Spoon carving is a real challenge, although i do teach spoon carving on day courses there is much scope with spoons. It takes a day to learn the very basics, but a lifetime to perfect, a hobby for the woods or for the living room, projects that can be completed in 20 minutes, aesthetics and function that takes a lifetime to perfect.

Without the use of machines, work benches and jigs there is no room for excuses, just the wood you and a sharp edge, this is where true understanding of the properties of wood comes from. It is no surprise that the once beautiful and functional lovespoons became increasingly made on machines, and the skill used to make the simple and elegant functional spoons was replaced by complexity.

I started this post in response to seeing Robin Wood's Post on Knife sharpening, i think this kind of course is massively useful to the spooner enthusiast especially after a bit of experience using and sharpening knives, all the crafts people i respect use razor sharp tools. Mike Abbott might suggest you don't need a sharp axe for cleaving and i'd agree, and he might even suggest using a blunt drawknife for "sheaving", this too makes sense, but whenever he did a babies rattle demo when i was working for him, he would go to the six or so pole lathes and see where the sharpest skew chisel was, incidentally he would sharpen his turning tools on a tormek and then use japanese waterstones to hone them, he still does not strop his tools (though i have tried to persuade him) but does use a very light touch and fast action with the fine waterstone. Fritiof also used a tormek on his knives and then japanese slip stones, i would hollow grind my knives too if i had a nice wetstone, but i no longer have a tormek ideally i'd have a grinding workshop with a great big electric waterstone like Robin.

So like the post title says if you want to craft wood, you need to know how to craft metal. Then you can craft a razor sharp edge, not only does this make the carving easier but it also leaves a beautiful finish.

When i used machines i would order exotic timbers from catalogue, cut them on a fretsaw (noisy/dusty), abrade them using grits from 80-400 with belt sanders and dremel like machines (noisy/dusty), then by hand 1500, 2400, 3200, 4000, 6000, 8000,  i would use the finest grade i could find 12000 micromesh this did leave a beautiful mirror image finish, with practice you could get the desired shape without losing the crispness of edges like beginners do, but any sign of human touch, of deftness was gone.

But now i source my own materials locally, i use hand tools that are beautiful in their own right, there are no whirring engines of machines or dust extractors, and i can get a hand carved finish in an instant with my knife and if that knife has been honed to 16000 then the finish is even smoother.
Barn the Spoon
How Many Handmade 3D Objects do you own?
It strikes me that although often i am a massive fan of modern life, for example the wonders of YouTube (being able to watch a video of a Romanian Spooner), and the availability of beautiful high quality music at the click of a button. So few of us seem to own beautiful handmade objects, things that actually exist in 3 dimensions not just as pixels on your computer. I am trying to make a concerted effort to spend less of my money on cheap consumables, and more on quality crafted 3D, things i can pick up and use without plugging them in or using WiFi.

It is a very sad fact that i have spent more money this last month on coffee than craft items, this is not because i don't crave them, there are loads of things i would love to own and use, but i never have the money to buy them because i waste it on crap i don't need.

But i am not alone, there is a city phenomenom where people put stuff outside their house they no longer want, i have furnished my room this way and have not paid a penny for a bed, chest of drawers, corner cabinet and shelving unit, i have also recently got a new hat, pencils and all sorts of stuff that is just left outside the front of peoples houses. Yesterday it only took 20 minutes for our old microwave to be taken and we'd only put it outside because we got another second hand one that was in better nick. It is nice that we do this, but it would be naive to suggest this is just through altruism, in the most part it is done because the objects though useful have no real value at all, if they had value they could be sold, and if sold they would be valued at less than £10-20 which is negated if you are employed by the cost of selling them.

Watch this space! if i don't post about something beautiful i have bought this next month then consider me a failure and pull me up on it.
Barn the Spoon
Spoons for Sale
Sorry this post went up when i thought i'd just saved it i've put the photos to normal size now.

here's an example of the spoons i'm selling online, check out the others here.

Barn the Spoon