I travel for work once or twice a year. This summer it’s a week-long stay in a hotel, and I have evenings pretty much to myself. In such situations, I never want to be without my spoon carving tools and a few blocks of wood. Here’s my work-station:
The tools fit into a small bag. I bring along a couple sloyd knives, a couple other knives, a hook knife, a spokeshave, and card scrapers, along with an Arkansas stone and a strop. I also bring an old bed sheet to spread on the floor to catch shavings. It catches most of them. At the end of the night, I roll up the sheet and either take it outside and shake it (I find an area covered with wood mulch), or I carefully put them into the room’s trash can.
Here are a few I’ve made recently:
I’m using mostly black walnut, which carves pretty easily even when dry. The lighter wood is the walnut sapwood, which actually is a little tougher than the heartwood. Softer hardwoods like poplar also carve pretty well while dry. I do prep my blanks beforehand, cutting them to length and shaping one face with the drawknife or hatchet. Everything else is knife work.
At some hotels, I’ve been able to carve outside on the deck. I try to select an out-of-the way place, but people sometimes stop to watch anyway. If they do, I often have a pleasant conversation about woodwork or handicrafts. If they don’t, I get spoons made.
Either way, it sure beats watching TV all evening.