Thursday, January 30, 2014

Loffel Brecher

Three broken spoons does not a spoon carver make. In fact, it makes the opposite of a spoon maker, it makes a spoon breaker, which is now my new nickname at work.

For Christmas I got some Frost Mora knives. I will keep comments on the knives to a minimal (read "do your own d@%n research") but I do have to say the 106 is a fantastic knife, while the 164 leaves a lot to be desired.

New spoon carving knives #106 and #164

On to the spoon My first victim came in the form of a straight piece of Sassafras.  I started hacking away with a hatchet, and then switched to the knives. There was some strange grain in the handle so I kept going back and forth trying to get a smooth cut. Before I knew it there was 1/16" of wood left in the handle. Botch number 1.

The bowl is funny shaped anyways.

Next, I did some independent research into spoon carving methods and forms. I highly recommend this Woodwright episode, anything on Follansbee's website, and Robin Wood's spoon porn. My second attempt I used a piece of Sassafras with a crook and whittled it down to a fairly respectable impersonation of a Swedish style spoon. It wasn't till the very end when I was getting to the anal retentive bowl thinning phase that I cut too deep...which ended up with a nice hole. Botch number 2

A hole in one side...and a pinhole knot.

For my third spoon shaped object I talked to P.Follansbee and got some great pointers on wood selection, spoon geometry, and he even gave me a tour of his spoon carving tool roll. Before leaving he let me take a nice clean piece of Birch. I thought for sure that this would be the time that I actually completed a crappy spoon, but again when thinning out the bowl I took one hard cut and snapped off half the spoon. Botch number 3.

A broken birch spoon

While cutting rafter poles for a house frame I walked the woods for some suitable white birch. I didn't find the birch, but I did run across an interesting tree with olive green heart wood, internet says it is Staghorn Sumac. So I should have plenty of branches to mangle into spoon shaped chunks of wood in the next month.

This is neon green in real life, my next victim.

P.S. Sassafras, fun to say, fun to spell. Also, the oils from the tree were used as a cure for "Social Diseases" in the 17th century. Look it up, you will eventually get it.

P.P.S. I may have just found the topic for my next post.


  1. Spoon #2 was looking really good. I like that form. I say put a few more holes in it and make it a stainer spoon!

  2. Yeah, I was really happy with spoon #2, but Sassafrass is a ring porous wood so even without the hole it wasn't an ideal wood species. I just think of it as a hanging hole on the wrong end. I got my hands on some Apple, so hopefully I can break my string of bad luck!

  3. The work looks pretty good, seems like you just need to go at it a little slower. A friend of mine says leave the heavy handed mechanic at home for this job. Channel your inner swede!

  4. I got the same knives as you for my birthday. Man, do I hate that hook knife. HATE IT.