Carving A Ladle From Firewood

Last summer while on her way to a walk in the woods, Mrs. Barn dropped by to check my progress on processing the coming winter’s firewood.  She noticed that I had set aside a couple of burls while continuing with splitting tons of hardwood bolts.

“Oh,” she said, “that would make a lovely spoon,” pointing to a piece I had already identified as a candidate for just that purpose.  We spoke no more of it and she headed into the woods.

For almost three months beginning in early September I hacked away at the chunk of burl.  Eventually it was finished, just in time for Christmas.

To this point I had never carved a spoon, I am behind the curve on that one as apparently every other woodworker in the universe has done so already, so I was looking forward to the project.  Of course I was embarking on some of the most nettlesome woodworking I had ever tried.

My first step, not knowing if it was the right one because I did not attend the University of Youtube course on spoon carving until I was almost done, was to remove all the parts of the piece that did not look like a spoon, using saws, shaves, and rasps.  Actually I did not design the implement, it pretty much designed itself.

Once that was done I started working the piece very gently as the burled wood was not tight.  At all.  Using spoon cutting knives or even carving gouges was not getting me anywhere as this was burled cherry, and was a combination of hard and crumbly.  Not optimal.

I decided to cheat (?) and drill out a lot of the inside mass for the utensil to give me some entree’ for moving on.

It was only then that I encountered fully the feature that would plague me for the next several weeks while sculpting the ladle.