How I Make Wooden Spoons

Getting the Basic Shape

Sanding a Wooden Spoon
When I make wooden spoons or bowls I start out with a band-saw, and not only cut out the basic outline, but cut off the corners until it is pretty near the shape it is going to be. I do not use a pattern or jig or even draw on the wood; I just pick up a piece of wood and start cutting, so no two come out exactly the same. Then I grind the piece of wood into shape on a 6 inch belt sander, the kind on a stand. If you tip the sander up you can get at the back side where it doesn't have the flat iron table right behind it. That way it has some give and will go around the curve of a wooden spoon a certain amount. I use 36-grit sanding belts, which are quite coarse and leave heavy scratches, but it is reasonably quick.

Creating the Bowl

Once the outside of the spoon has been shaped, I hollow it out. If the spoon's bowl is more than 1/2 inch deep I start with a drill press and a 3/4 inch to 1 inch bit, set to come no closer than 1/2 inch above the table. I bore as many holes as it takes to get out most of the wood.
Sanding a Wooden Spoon

Then I use a Hitachi electric die grinder with a cutter in it that is a one-inch ball covered with sharp points, what is generally called a burr. The one I am now using has carbide points and is the extra coarse or extreme sphere type made by L.R. Oliver Co. I kind of tuck the grinder under my right arm and grip it with my right hand and work on a table, using my left hand to hold the wooden spoon and turn it whatever direction is convenient to work from.

This is the hardest step to judge in the whole process because I have to guess how much wood I have to leave so that after the spoon is sanded down smooth it will be neither too thick nor too thin.

It is also the point at which I let the spoons dry, if the wood is not dry already. Once roughed out into spoons, very few of them will crack unless left in direct sunlight.

Sanding, Sanding and Then More Sanding

Making a Bowl
Once the wooden spoons are dry, I give them four sandings on the inside using flap-wheels and a flexible pad sander with progressively finer grits. This is followed by three sandings on the outside with an inflatable drum sander. This does a pretty good job on all but the edge of the spoon's bowl, which tends to end up sharp or rough.

I finish up sanding this sharp edge by hand and then I go over the whole thing one last time with 320-grit sandpaper.

Note: If you have questions about the tools I use, please contact me. There are details that would be useful to a woodcarver however I think it might be too long-winded to go into on this page.