What Is the Best Wood for Carving Spoons?


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Creating spoons out of wood can be one of the most satisfying experiences that you can have in woodworking. Wooden spoons impart a rustic type of feel while using them for cooking. If you are stirring a pot of rice, noodles, or stew, it feels good to use a wooden spoon. Many people shun metallic spoons and spatulas for cooking in preference to the wooden variety.

If you are a woodworker and have the inclination to make wooden spoons, you will have chosen well. Not only do you get great satisfaction from making them, but you will also feel good about handing them over to others. It may be that you are interested in making these wooden objects as gifts to your friends and family. And they will surely make excellent gifts. However, you can also sell your products to earn a decent income as well.

Best Types of Wood for Carving Spoons

With so much said about the positive aspects of wooden spoons, you would probably be interested in how to make them. The first thing that you need to consider for making wooden spoons is your choice of wood. The good news is that most types of wood are suitable for making spoons. You can practically pick up fallen branches and small logs and make spoons out of them.

However, it would help if you considered a few factors when you procure wood for your spoon carving project. Here are five of the best types of wood for carving spoons:

Paper Birch

Birch (image source)

Here is a fast-growing species that has a characteristic white bark. Paper Birch has a short life cycle, so there isn’t much concern about these trees getting cut down. You will see these trees growing where there has been some disturbance to the surrounding area. The botanical name for this tree is Betula papyrifera, and it has just the right level of hardness for making wooden spoons. At a hardness of 4,000 (Janka scale), the wood is soft enough to be worked on by hand tools but hard enough to use in the kitchen.

Silver Maple

Silver Maple: Source

The botanical name for silver maple or soft maple, as it is also called is Acer saccharinum. You will often find this wood as a hybrid with red maple, which creates confusion as to what you have with you. But you don’t have to panic, because you will find it comfortable working with both types of wood.

An added advantage of working on maple is that it exudes a sweet, maple syrup-like aroma. With a Janka hardness of 3,110, silver maple is softer than birch, but still sufficiently hard to work on for making spoons. The advantage of using maple is that it has a pronounced grain that will give you some pretty patterns on finishing.

Black Cherry

Cherry Wood
Cherry Wood (Image: CG Masters)

The pink heartwood of black cherry is as attractive as the pale cream sapwood. Although the sapwood may not change color, the heartwood mellows to a reddish-brown in time. You can use both the heartwood or sapwood while using cherry to carve spoons.

The texture of each part of the tree is different. While the sapwood has a softer and a more plastic-like feel, the heartwood is harder and more brittle. With a hardness of about 4,200 (Janka scale), black cherry has the right amount of hardness to be suitable for carving wooden spoons.

Black Walnut

Black Walnut

Here’s a bit of a challenging material when it comes to wood for carving wooden spoons. The botanical name for black walnut is Juglans nigra, and it is a preferred wood for making veneer and cabinets. Rather than the central part of the tree trunk, you can harvest the timber from the tree’s crown. Since you need tiny bits for wooden spoons, it is easy to get sufficient raw material. Thus, you can harvest your wood from a tree stump, totally free of cost!

Walnut has a hardness of 4,500 (Janka scale), which again, is suitable for carving wooden spoons and spatulas. With the striking contrast between the sapwood and heartwood, you can end up with a spoon made over the transition between the two to get a stunning-looking finish.

Apple

Apple Wood Grain. Source

Applewood is the hardest species on this list with a hardness of 7,700 (Janka scale). You will have to put in a considerable effort in carving apple wood. But you can get some spectacular results. The knotty, twisty grains can give way to some interesting patterns. The light and dark brown hues between the heartwood and sapwood also add to the aesthetics.

If you plan to use apple wood for your spoon carving project, you are in for an adventurous ride! The high level of hardness of the wood also makes it extraordinarily brittle, and there is a high possibility of cracking or breaking as you work on it. It would be best if you were a bit experienced, and use well-sharpened, suitable tools. But the results can be rewarding.

Conclusion

Making wooden spoons is one of the most satisfying woodworking projects that you can undertake. It is an activity that you can do on the side as you work on other woodworking projects. Or you can even make it into a full-fledged commercial venture. Many woodworkers take up wooden spoon-making as amateurs and part-time activities, while they have a full-time job doing something entirely different.

There is a lot that you need to consider while selecting the wood for making wooden spoons. As you get more involved in your project, you will find that you learn as you go along. Once you have made a certain number of spoons, your experience will take you further.

Whatever the extent of your involvement in wooden spoon making, the satisfaction you get will make it worthwhile. The beauty of making wooden spoons is that you don’t need an elaborate setup. Further, you can get your wood so quickly and cheaply, often free of cost. It is a win-win situation. Now you know what to look for, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start making some wooden spoons!

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