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  • Spoon carving woods?

    Hello, everyone!

    I'm looking for recommendations for woods for carving spoons. I live in Central Virginia, and we have black walnut, poplar, gum, oak, pine and cedar on our property. I kinow that the coniferous woods aren't really good for spoons, but I'm wondering about the others. Reason is, I can get all of these without having to travel to far places to get wood like birch, which I understand *is* a good spoon wood.

    Thanks to all who reply.

    With best regards,

    Stephen (AKA Clumsy Eddie)

  • #2
    Re: Spoon carving woods?

    ive done spoons in black walnut and oak. I think you can differentiate between eating spoons and decrative spoons. I have done them in basswood and in butternut more because its easier to carve. I don't know about gum wood so cant help you there. I would think oak would be a good choice not bad to carve and edible.

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    • #3
      Re: Spoon carving woods?

      I wouldn't recommend oak. The pores, the vessels, are very large and those will soak up food juices. This could be a good reason to use such woods as beech and birch.

      I have a nearly endless supply of very good birch that I use for my Kitchen Sticks.
      I'll admit that if it were not for that wood supply, all my other carvings would be a lot further ahead.

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      • #4
        Re: Spoon carving woods?

        I've carved a lot of decorative spoons from butternut, mahogany, cypress, walnut, cherry, aspen, basswood, lacewood, elm, and Alaskan yellow cedar. My favorites are mahogany and butternut, since they're easy to carve and really take a fine finish. I have some sweet gum from a tree in my yard that I haven't tried yet, but I can tell it's pretty hard (but it looks good). I finish my decorative spoons with tung oil (Danish Oil, pure tung oil, Waterlox, etc.) and Bri-Wax. They are for looks, not for use, although I carved salad forks out of mahogany, using the same finish, and we use them with no problem (not dish washer safe, of course). The kitchen utensils I make are mostly from basswood, with no finish. Mike
        Matthew

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        • #5
          Re: Spoon carving woods?

          Originally posted by Clumsy Eddie View Post
          Hello, everyone!

          I'm looking for recommendations for woods for carving spoons. I live in Central Virginia, and we have black walnut, poplar, gum, oak, pine and cedar on our property.
          I have used Poplar on several spoos that turned out really nice. It's pretty close grained and looks nice. Some Poplar is reasonably soft and some much harder. I usually shape the inside of the bowl with a large rotary cutter so the hardness isn't much of an issue.

          Pete

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          • #6
            Re: Spoon carving woods?

            main Q is will they be decorative or functional? The only woods approved for food prep use (butcherblocks) in restaurants etc are maple and birch.

            out of the woods on your list, poplar & gum would be best for utensils; walnut, like oak, is open pored

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            • #7
              Re: Spoon carving woods?

              A big Thank You to everyone who has replied so far. I plan to use the spoons and other flatware(?) for eating utensils, so since I have some maple avaiable, I'll go with that.

              With best regards,

              Stephen (AKA Clumsy Eddie)

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              • #8
                Re: Spoon carving woods?

                I have carved, and use, cooking spoons made from maple, cherry, walnut, olive, poplar, purpleheart. Walnut is a bit open-pored, as RV says, but I haven't had a problem, as after it's carved to shape, I soak it overnight in olive oil (what I cook with), which seems to fill the pores adequately. Since I use them almost daily in hot oil or boiling water, then wash them in soap and water, I don't consider it a problem. If I was selling them, I'd limit my woods to maple, cherry, olive, birch (if I could find some in LA), apple, pear, etc.

                Claude
                My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/beadman1

                My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

                My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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                • #9
                  Re: Spoon carving woods?

                  Birch is superb for spoons. Oak not so much.

                  Popular is likely much like Alder which I also find quite good for spoons. Fruit woods are superb too both is carving and beauty.

                  I only carve green woods for spoons.

                  Closed grain is the way to go.

                  I soak all my spoons in flaxseed oil which is a hardening oil so the spoon can take all sorts of use in stride. I avoid mineral oils or cooking oils for a finish. Walnut oil is also excellent. Avoid most hardware store linseed oils as they are toxic. Use food grade flaxseed oil from the grocery.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Spoon carving woods?

                    there is cutting board oil which is basically mineral oil

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                    • #11
                      Re: Spoon carving woods?

                      I make my spoons out of Crepe Myrtle. It is non toxic, tasteless, closed grain, stronger and harder than a harlot's heart. After no telling how much jelly and jams no one has broken one yet that I know of. By the way, good luck splitting it. It is worth the effort.
                      Wannabe

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                      • #12
                        Re: Spoon carving woods?

                        Walnut's great. Maple can be great, but some varieties can be extremely hard (but still make great spoons, if you can tolerate carving them). Seems like most any fruit or nut wood is pretty good. Good luck!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Claude View Post
                          Re: Spoon carving woods?

                          I have carved, and use, cooking spoons made from maple, cherry, walnut, olive, poplar, purpleheart. Walnut is a bit open-pored, as RV says, but I haven't had a problem, as after it's carved to shape, I soak it overnight in olive oil (what I cook with), which seems to fill the pores adequately. Since I use them almost daily in hot oil or boiling water, then wash them in soap and water, I don't consider it a problem. If I was selling them, I'd limit my woods to maple, cherry, olive, birch (if I could find some in LA), apple, pear, etc.

                          Claude
                          Claude
                          I am in Louisiana also, I would like to use walnut and purple heart I dont think those are toxic. what about cypress

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                          • #14
                            Unless you can get some old-growth cypress, I think it's not good (difficult to work because of the alternating hard/soft/hard/soft... grain structure.) DIY stores (Lowes, Home Depot, etc) have several hardwoods in 1 inch thick boards, such as maple, poplar, birch. Also check for hardwood suppliers in the phone book or Google. We have a good one in Ponchatoula (Acadian...). Another wood I have used is Padauk.
                            Last edited by Claude; 01-03-2018, 09:31 PM.
                            My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/beadman1

                            My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

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