Updated: Aug 31, 2022
One of the best things about camping is getting to spend time outdoors with family and friends. And what better way to enjoy your time together than by carving some wooden spoons? It's a fun and easy activity that anyone can do, and you can use the spoons for all sorts of things while camping, like stirring your coffee or cooking over the fire. In this blog post, we'll show you how to carve a wood spoon when camping so you can have some homemade utensils to help make your trip even more enjoyable!
I was recently camping with some friends, and one of them started carving a spoon as soon as we arrived. I quickly learned that he does this every time he goes camping, and I thought it was an interesting way to spend time at the campsite. I've always wanted to know how to make a spoon and what equipment I'd need. I’ve carved a spoon on most of my recent trips, and while I’m no expert, I can show you what you need to get started. Before you head out on your trip there are multiple and I mean multiple wood carving videos on youtube. They are great to watch to get an idea of how to start or different techniques that the pros use. I feel really productive when I finish a wooden spoon and use it later that day for scooping out some delicious pulled pork that I smoked all day. See my post www.longdaycampingco.com/post/types-of-portable-smokers-the-comprehensive-guide for a guide on the best camping smokers.
At the bare minimum, you’ll need a hook knife and a straight knife. You'll need a hook knife to carve the concave part of the spoon, which is surprisingly easy with a sharp knife. You can pick one up for about $20 on Amazon. The other knife you'll need is a straight knife for carving the outside of the spoon. Additionally, these are both quite affordable. I have one from Beavercraft that I really enjoy using. With just these knife tools, you can begin carving a spoon project; though it may be helpful to also have a strop and small hatchet on hand for larger chunks of wood that need removing quickly - this will make the task go by faster and be more fun too. Maintaining sharp blades is key in the quality of your carving results; simply stropping every 20 minutes or so should do the trick nicely!
Learning how to carve a spoon the fastest and easiest way will require green wood or something very soft, like basswood. If you're gathering green wood, be sure you're familiar with your state's rules. Some national forests demand a permit to chop down live trees. The simplest method to do this is to enlist the help of a friend who has property that would not mind if you chopped down a tiny tree on their land. Spoons are made of birch and aspen, which are both popular choices. You can also find basswood at any hobby store if you want to go with basswood instead of birch or aspen. I usually just use a piece of firewood that I brought or bought from the camp store. I have done alot of spoons out of cherry which is easy enough to carve and the wood grain always looks great.
Start with a smaller piece of wood 3″-4″ in diameter. You can finish the project more quickly by splitting the wood in half with a small ax or batoning it (as I do in the video). After that, you can use the ax to remove wood around the handle quickly.
You don’t have to trace out the spoon. For more complex projects, that can be helpful, but it's not necessary for this case. I keep a picture of a spoon in my mind as I work, and it goes just fine. Start by carving out the bowl with your hook spoon; when you get to the desired depth, switch to the straight knife and start working on shapingthe outside of the spoon. Learning how to carve a spoon takes some practice but isn't difficult--and you'll be surprised at how much knowledge about knives and spoons one project will give you.
Finish the spoon by sanding the inside. Once you've used 220 grit sandpaper, finish with 600 grit until the surface is silky smooth. I prefer not to sand the outside of my spoons since I like the raw look and because it would take too much time--I'd rather move onto carving other utensils. When you're satisfied with your work, wipe down the spoon with linseed oil; this will protect
the wood and give it a nice shine.
Carving a spoon on the camping site has added a new, relaxing component to my weekends. It's something I can work on while still conversing with others, yet there is also a meditative aspect to it. I hope you give it a shot since I believe you'll enjoy it as much as I do.