Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tree Branch Wooden Spoons

Got any tree branches lying around your yard?  Sure you do.  If not, its probably just a matter of time.  There's all sorts of stuff you can do with them, depending on your inclination, but one of my favorite projects is using them to make wooden spoons.  I've been pretty obsessed with spoon-making for the past couple of years, so I'm use this post to point out the tricks of the trade.  Using very basic tools that most folks have access to, you can probably make your first spoon in a hour or less.

This year, I decided to institute a new holiday tradition: starting in 2014, I plan to make a wooden spoon (or several) from the trunk of our Christmas tree each January.  I’m all kinds of excited about this, but, of course, you can just use whatever you have on hand, up to and including actual milled boards.  In this case I used a handsaw to cut the trunk into few 12” segments.

 Each spoon will be coaxed out of a blank that roughly resembles a board.  How you make this blank depends on the tools you have on hand.  A bandsaw is ideal, but an axe and chainsaw work too.  

Once you have a blank roughed out, draw the outline of your spoon.  I always draw an oval where I’ll be removing material for the bowl of the spoon, too.
      To cut out the spoon, use a jig saw, bandsaw, or hand-held coping saw with an aggressive blade. 


 I like spoons that look good in profile, too.  I usually go for something curvy and fun.

With the excess cut away from beneath the spoon, it is really starting to shape up.

To hollow out the bowl as quickly and easily as possible I use a large Forstner bit to remove a lot of the material.
To shape the interior of the bowl, I use a nifty little saw that mounts in any drill or Dremel tool.  With a little practice, you’ll quickly get a feel for how to use it.  I suggest starting out slowly if you haven’t used one before.
Because I’m pretty experienced, I can rough out a bowl in just a few minutes.  Even if it takes you twice as long, that’s still pretty fast!
From here on out, the work consists of smoothing things out.  To smooth the interior of the spoon bowl, use sand paper, or follow my lead and use a sanding drum in a drill.  Just make sure to let the sandpaper sleeve hang over the edge of the drum so that it mashes down and creates a rounded edge.
 A belt sander helps if you have one.

And so does a palm sander.

1 comment: