I’ve been pretty obsessed with woodworking and woodcrafts for a while now, and my new ambition has expanded from cutting boards and tables to carving, specifically spoons! So when I found a green woodworking spoon carving class in the Cotswolds, I signed up immediately!

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Not my spoons, but I wish they were!

Click to read about our carving adventure

The class was a full day workshop run by Cotswold Woodland Crafts and the spoon carving was taught by David Knight. The class was held at Prinknash Abbey and we were told it was going to be in an outdoor setting and to wear sturdy clothing and shoes accordingly. I wasn’t sure what to expect so we bundled up with our sack lunches and after we parked, we followed the directions to the workshop. This was our path to the workshop:

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First up: a beautiful vine archway made of apple trees!

Over the river and through the woods…until we finally saw this:

The camp/workshop!
The camp/workshop!

The workshop was held deep in the woods, we walked at least 20 or so minutes to get to it! It was a small clearing with a tented canopies and a bunch of wood stumps and sawhorses and tables with axes and knives.

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The workspace
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The axes

There was also a wood burning stove with an iron kettle that was on all day long so we had tea and coffee at the ready.

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Stove fueled by fresh wood scraps

Once we got situated with the workplace, we were given instruction on how to take a branch of wood, split it, shave off the bark, and shape it with an axe.

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The importance of a good branch selection

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Yep, that’s me splitting a piece of spalted birch! 🙂 And here is Omri de-barking his piece of sycamore:

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Once we shaped the wood to resemble a spoon (in my case, a spatula), we used finer tools to shape it further and make more detailed cuts.

Using a hook knife to carve out a small bowl-like curve
Using a hook knife to carve out a small bowl-like curve

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Tools + [soon to be] Utensils
The spoon carving was a lot harder than I thought it would be – and we were using “green” wood, aka wood that was freshly cut or fallen from the tree! My piece of birch was quite dry however, so it was extremely hard to work with, but Omri and I did start to work on a combined sycamore spoon that was much wetter so I experienced the softer and more easily carve-able wood. The picture above shows the hook and straight knives and (from top to bottom) my spatula, Omri’s long cooking spoon, and our smaller scoop/spoon that we didn’t quite finish.

Omri with his creation!
Omri with his creation!

The spoon carving was really fun and it was cool to see how whittling with a fallen branch can lead to a spoon or other wooden utensil! I realized that spoon carving takes a lot of patience (more than I had after 7 hours of carving) but that with practice it could be a really fun and rewarding hobby! I’m now on the lookout for logs and branches that can be carved – let me know if you see any! 🙂