During market season, it sometimes seems like all I make is spoons, spatulas, and other wooden utensils. I take photos of a lot of my work, but I don’t always remember to post the photos here on my blog. So today I’m going back into my photo archives from the last couple years and putting many of my favorite spoon pictures together into one post.
For several years, I was making many of my spoons out of black walnut from a single tree that I helped take down in my in-laws’ back yard. I finally exhausted my supply, and these utensils are some of the last that came from that old tree.
Pecan wood is plentiful down where I live, and pecan spalts beautifully. It is often a challenge to know exactly when to cut up the log. If you leave it sit for too long, it quickly rots. These utensils show off the wide variety of colors that develop when pecan wood spalts. (There’s also a single spoon made from black walnut up in one corner of the picture.)
Another common wood in this area is Eastern red cedar. It’s fairly soft, so I don’t use it for utensils very often. But it does hold up very well to water–the red/brown heartwood is nearly impervious to rot. So once in a while, somebody will bring me a cedar log from their property and ask me to make them something from it. I like to oblige when I can.
Not long ago, an old friend gave me a large red oak log from her family’s property. Oak isn’t great for spoons–the pores in the wood are large and tend to get gunk stuck in them. But it does make a decent spurtle, which is a utensil for stirring stews and sauces. The grain in these utensils is very pretty. The rest of the log will be used for stool legs.
And then there was that one Christmas….
We got an order for a hundred small utensils, needed in two weeks.
So we did it!
It was a lot of work. But we got really good at making them quickly!
I love being able to set out beautiful, unique utensils at every market I attend.
In your post, you mention walnut, pecan and Eastern red cedar that are good for spoon-making. I see you also mentioned oak, even though the pores are large. What are some other good native woods for spoons that don’t have large pores?
It depends on where you are. Farther north, you can find maple, beech, and birch. Down here in the south, you can find lots of interesting woods, including crepe myrtle. Fruit woods are especially good–cherry, apple, pear, plum, and many more. These can be found all over the country.