Apr 282016

IMG_7951To carve a spoon you need a hatchet (or a band saw), a straight knife and some kind of bent knife. You can carve the bowl of a spoon with a chisel but a bent knife is often a more efficient tool. Bent knives come with an almost infinite number of variations. I have three double edged bent knives forged on Waldron Island at North Bay Forge.  These are terrific knives that hold an edge and move a lot of material.

They are designed for doing totems and masks and other types of Northwest carving. But they work for spoon bowls as well.

I also have a couple of what are known as “spoon” knives. My newest one comes from a forge in England. The craftsman is Nic Westerman.

His 65mm Twca Cam is a really popular blade with spoon carvers. Twca cam, pronounced “tooka cam” means “hook knife” in Welsh. You will note, if you clicked the link to Western’s site,  that the Twca cam doesn’t have a handle. Lots of blacksmiths just sell the blade. I guess it’s assumed that a wood carver ought to be able to carve a handle for his knife. I made one about a foot long for my Westerman Twca cam to give me lots of leverage. You drill a hole starting with a small drill bit and then larger ones so that the hole is tapered, then epoxy it in place.

Bent knives are surprisingly easy to sharpen. Most of the time you just need to strop them. Glue a piece of leather around a dowel and rub stropping compound on the leather. Once in awhile I hit it with some fine sandpaper also wrapped around a dowel.


Gooseneck scraper

Even with a razor sharp Twca cam and my selection of bent knives I find it difficult to get the bowl as smooth as I want it. Barry H. on the island, who makes very high end violas and violins, taught me about scrapers. He uses them as a finishing tool. Most importantly, he taught me that you can sharpen them. I’m talking about a scraper that looks like this.Very inexpensive when compared to the bent knives.

Kestrel Tools, the forge on Lopez Island calls them “crooked” knives. They rivet their blades to the handle and have quite a variety.

Kestrel makes really great tools. I’d like to watch a blacksmith forge a curved blade some day.Current+blades+2009_DSC7424+copy


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