Having the right tools for spoon carving is essential. If you’re looking to start spoon carving, the basic tools you’ll require are an axe, a straight knife, and a curved or hook knife. These are the ones you’ll use for most of your projects and are great for anyone getting started. Apart from these basic tools, there are other spoon carving tools, like power tools, that would make your work easier and faster.
In this post, I’ll review some of the tools you’ll require when starting out and some upgrades and power tools you can get along your spoon-carving journey. Enjoy.
1. Carving Axe/Hatchet
An axe in spoon carving is used to do the heavy duty of shaping the spoon and removing most of the extra wood that is not spoon-shaped. When starting, it might be hard, but with practice, you can get very close to the final spoon shape. When starting, use a pencil to draw the shape of the spoon and use a carving axe to remove most of the wood.
Although there are other tools for roughing out a spoon blank from wood, the axe is the best tool. It carries a weight of momentum and works very efficiently. One of the best axes to start spoon carving is the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet. It is well-balanced, has a good weight, and the edge geometry is good for carving.
There are a number of different types of axes used for different tasks. If you choose them for the right purpose, it becomes easy to work and potentially dangerous. A carving axe is different from a wood-splitting or kindling axe. Most axes you’ll see around have a rounded edge rather than a flat one, which is used for carving. Several manufacturers out there make good spoon-carving axes; check out our list of the best axe for spoon-carving.
2. Straight Knife
A straight knife is one of the most important knives for wood carvers. It can be used for many jobs, from roughing out to detail. A straight knife has a wide and slicing bevel. Pocket and kitchen knives don’t have this type of bevel, making them a poor substitute.
If you’re looking for the best knife, the Morakniv 106 Wood Carving Knife is one of the best. It has a long blade allows for powerful sweeping cuts, while its thin tip helps carve into tight corners. It holds an edge very well and is very inexpensive to buy.
3. Spoon/Hook Knife
The hook knife or spoon carving knife is most useful when carving when you are carving the bowl of the spoon. A hook knife for spoon carving should be strong enough not to vibrate or flex as you slice through the wood. Polishing the back of a hook knife will make it slice through wood smoothly and naturally.
The curvature of the hook knife blade is also important to look after. A tight curve and shorter blade are easy for a beginner to use but will leave a plowed surface effect that will need to be sanded later. An open curve leaves a clean surface cut, but it might take time to learn to use.
For a good spoon carving knife, The Morakniv 164 and Morakniv 162 are some of the best hook knives you’ll find around. They are easy to find and quite cheap to buy. These two are the best regarding availability, affordability, and quality. When choosing, be sure to get right or left-handed as needed.
Other Spoon Carving Tools
Apart from having an axe, straight knife, and hook knife, other tools can make the process faster, easier, and new things possible. You can invest in some of these tools if you have a workshop. Below are other important spoon-carving tools.
- Mallet – A mallet is great for controlling wood splitting when driving an axe into the wood to create spoon-carving blanks. You can make a mallet out of a wood lump, but ensure it has reasonable tensile strength. It should also be easy to swing and heavy enough for your force and momentum.
- Axe Block – In practice, an axe block is just a lump of wood that you can use as a base when you’re using the axe. The type of wood you use does not matter, but it should not be soft to avoid your axe sticking in. It should also be firm and have a sensible height for a comfortable working experience.
- Saw – A saw is a modern tool compared to an axe or spoon carving knife. Saws are great for cutting across the grain, which can be a hard task when using an axe. Saws also make a great tool when sawing logs to different lengths in the early stages of spoon carving. A folding saw, like this one, is a good choice for a spoon carver. However, if you’re cutting through bigger logs, get a bigger saw that will work for you.
- Adze – The adze is a very efficient tool that combines an axe and a gouge. Having an adze in your arsenal will allow you to hollow out spoons quicker and venture into bowls and cups. It is a great tool but optional, especially for a beginner.
- Drawknife – A drawknife is a tool that bridges the gap between the axe and knife. It’s a nice tool for working after the rough work left by your axe and before fine detailing with a knife.
Happy Spoon Carving
That’s just about all the tools you’ll need for spoon carving. Apart from the different hand tools, there are also power carving tools that can make spoon carving easier and faster. However, great tools don’t make a skilled spoon carver. Spending time using the tools and, most importantly, learning to sharpen them correctly will make the biggest difference.