The Right Axe for Spoon Carving

Fiskars splits logs
Fiskars splits logs

My spoon carving started when I purchased a Fiskars X7 hatchet. The hatchet tempted me because it was light, affordable and I thought it would be what I needed to carve spoons.  It was a great starting hatchet, but it took a bit to keep it sharp.   After a while I realized I was not getting shaping power at the finer stages of the spoon.

From that start, I knew I enjoyed carving wooden spoons from green wood.

Making spoons gave me a great product to make from the branches I often acquired – finding a branch on a walk or having someone give me a section of a tree. As well, I could throw my axe and carving knife in the trunk of my car and take it when traveling.

As with making other items from wood, I enjoy the process of seeing how the wood itself contributes to the process of creation – finding the curve of a branch or a knot in the wood not visible before the branch is split.  And looking at the grain or color of a branch helped me decide if the bowl of the spoon would show rings or straight grain of the wood.

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Eventually, I knew I needed to upgrade my axe to become more efficient.

I purchased a Robin Wood axe, made in the UK. It arrived within weeks and is a wonderful double bevel axe.  A little heavier than the Fiskar hatchet, it  made the roughing out the basic spoon much faster.  And it keeps its sharpness longer.  The handle was quite rough when I received it so I torched then sanded it for a unique look and more ease on the hand.

Now the Fiskar’s hatchet is only used to split the logs that will become spoons.  Generally it is not kept as sharp because it deals with removing the bark.

Then I purchased a Gränsfors Bruk, a very small carving axe. (Lee Valley carries them.) The axe is double bevel and is much smaller than the Robin Wood Axe, making it a great fit for more delicate hands. The Gränsfors is incredible, and I can almost complete the spoon using it. It travels well due to its smaller size and comes with a leather cover.

The Fiskars hatchet got me started, but the Robin Wood axe and Gränsfors are so radically different from the Fishers hatchet and have made my carving so much more enjoyable.

As you know if you do woodworking, having the right tool makes the work so much more enjoyable.

Right now I’m making spoons from birch I collected while hiking in Tennessee.

At craft fairs where I’m a vendor, I’m always told by several people that my spoons make great holiday gifts. My spoons are available in my Etsy store, and I will have them at my next few shows to add to your joy in gift giving!


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