Thursday, December 8, 2016

Wooden Spoons and Spatulas

 My wife is a very talented cook and baker and it seems she has  passed her passion  onto our Grand daughter Clara.  Clara's brother Kieran likes to make stuff in the shop and last year he and I made a tool box together.  Over the last few years he has been getting tools for his tools box.

  This year it is Clara's turn to began acquiring tools for her work in the kitchen. 

   The last couple of evenings have been spent making smaller sized kitchen tools for Clara for Christmas.


  These are some of the tools I've made in my shop recently.  The spatula in the middle is full sized, the other ones are about half as long, but 2/3 as large.  The shorter handles will help small hands keep things under control more easily.

  There are many, many videos on You tube showing ways to make wooden spoons.  I looked at a bunch of them for method and inspiration.  

  First I traced the shapes on a clear grained piece of Poplar and cut it out on the band saw. 
For the spatulas the band saw was the last power tool I used.  A jig saw, a scroll saw or a coping saw could also do the job, and not much more slowly. So don't abandon making these things just because you don't have a band saw. 

  Once the pieces were cut out I shaped them with knives, small planes and mostly with sand paper.  You could equally use a spoke shave, I didn't because I have not become skilled with one or a draw knife. The draw knives I inherited are to large to use comfortably on small projects like this.

   The spoon, I shaped with somewhat greater modern savagery.  I wanted a rounded handle for the spoon and needed to shape the bowl and so roughed it into shape on my 36 inch belt sander.  A smaller power sander would also work or you could use my favourite rough carving tool, the Nicholson 4 in 1 rasp.  I bought my 4 in 1 rasp early, early on when I began gathering tools and have used it as much and more than many other tools. 

  Projects like these are labours of love and so I listen to music and work at a fairly causal pace while completing them.  As you can see from the bench I used lots of tools and didn't worry about efficiency.

  There is everything from knives and rasps to shreds of sand paper and coffee cups on that bench.  I used the tooth brush to clear fine wood dust out of 320- 500 grit sand paper. Since I did some serious whittling at the roughing stage I wore my carving gloves with their added leather finger tips.  You can also see two large needle files on the work surface as well as 60 grit, 120 grit, 220 grit, 320 grit and 500 grit sand paper.  Were I making these tools for money I doubt  I would sand much past 220 grit, but for family 500 grit seemed appropriate. And incidentally this piece of poplar sanded as smooth as glass.

  As an unromantic foot note  I used my Dremel tool and a ball shaped bit to rough out the inside of the spoon.  Yes, I have gouges and a hook knife, (somewhere) but my dewy eyed hand tool romanticism does have limits. I do like my variable speed Dremel tool with its flexible tool shaft. 

  This is another personal project that can be made with limited tools and at limited cost.  Every  time that spoon or spatula is used the maker will be remembered. Don't we all want to be remember?

cheers, ianw

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