Spoon carving is a popular, fun and practical hobby, and it can also teach you many of the basic skills you need to tackle larger woodcrafting projects.
Spoon carving is, on the surface, a pretty simple and easy affair. Basically, all you do is you take a chunk of wood and remove everything that doesn't look like a spoon. Ha!
But seriously, that's not too far from the truth. While doing it, you will also learn a lot of the basic carving, knife work and safety skills that you can use to carve more complicated projects.
Here's an awesome how-to video:
For example, you learn how to hold and how to use your knife in a safe manner.
Initially, when removing larger areas of wood you can engage in more "whittling" type motions, of baton your knife or use an axe or saw to get rid of large portions of wood.
As you get closer to a spoon form, your motions with the knife will become much smaller and more tightly controlled.
Don't make sweeping cuts towards your body. Use your hands, elbows and wrist as fulcrums, holding the piece of wood and your knife close to your body, and make short semi-circular type cuts, always keeping the knife secure and using your thumb or fingers at the back edge of the blade to push-cut it into the wood.
If you've got a few wood working chisels or a crooked knife, it makes carving the bowl of the spoon much easier. It wouldn't hurt to invest in a couple of chisels and a crooked knife, if you're serious about carving.
The nice thing about spoon carving - or any simple bushcraft or woodcraft project - is that the projects are relatively short in the time require to complete them. No matter how gifted you may become in carving, it's always nice to pick up a piece of wood and knock out a spoon.
I've been a woodcarver for most of my life, and I never tire of the simple, meditative process of carving a spoon. It's perfectly relaxing. And when you're done, well, you've got something that you can actually use.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.