I thought I would compile a blog post with what is hopefully lots of useful information for those just getting started in the world of spoon carving. If you've been on a workshop with me, below is all the information we talked about during the day, plus a little more!
I hope you find it helpful.
www.wood-tools.co.uk - Robin Wood & Co. design and make the best, off the shelf beginners (affordable) carving axe available. Highly Recommended.
The crook knifes they make are also great. They do a spoon carving 'set' - Axe and two knives - which is a great place to start.
Mora 106 & 164 - The classic, ultimate spoon carving knives. The 106 sloyd knife is all you need to carve. Its great & will serve you well if you keep it sharp. The crook knife is good, but not the best. Perfect if you're on a budget.
https://www.facebook.com/GaryHackettTools/ - Gary Hacket is a fantastic blacksmith. I own a few of his crook knives which I use daily and wouldn't be without. Very reasonably priced also.
https://nicwestermann.co.uk/ - The one and only Nic Westermann. Considered the best tools by many. Almost impossible to get hold of mind you!
https://www.instagram.com/adrianrlloyd/ - Adrian has recently started making some lovely sloyd knives!
Regarding folding saws, I have, use and like very much the Niwaki Moku folding saw. However, if you want something a bit more heavy duty you can't go wrong with a Silky Pocket Boy!
If you need a nice axe block to work on, or a nice bark sheath for you knife, look here!
Those tools of yours need to be kept sharp, really sharp. Really, really sharp. There are plenty of kits and sharpening systems out there, and we all have our preferences. Some of the best options are..
Japanese Waterstones -
You can find fairly cheap double sided stones online. Ideally you'll need two. One around 1000/3000 and another at 5000/10000 or something similar.
Paper based sharpening kits -
https://thespooncrank.com/sharpening/ - Dionisis from The Spoon Crank has created this 'all in' sharpening system, and truth be told it's a thing of beauty. Highly recommended if you want everything you need in one easy, beautifully made package!
https://www.hewnandhone.co.uk/shop/ - More goodies to keep tools sharp!
If you're a bit more DIY, you can quite easily make a couple of sharpening blocks from some pieces of 18mm MDF. Use one, with abrasive paper (think car body work sandpaper) for sharpening, and rub stropping compound on the other block for honing! Easy & Cheap!
Books & online Resources
Swedish Carving Techniques - Wille Sundqvist - This book contains everything covered on my beginner carving workshops (plus lots more) - If you need help remembering all the techniques, this is the book to get!
Sloyd in Wood - Wille Sundqvist
Spon - Barn the Spoon
Sharp - Saun Hellman
Sourcing carving wood
My advice to those having difficulty sourcing green wood for carving is always, ask a local tree surgeon. Failing that, search for local spoon clubs, coppice groups etc. Volunteer yourself in a local park or nature reserve and you'll have a way in!
tuition & courses
Nothing can substitute real learning from an experienced teacher. (I would say this of course!) Whether you've never picked up an axe before, or want to improve your skills & techniques, my regular spoon carving workshops are highly regarded by all who join.
Since I began running them, I wanted to emphasise actual, structured learning, rather than 'have-a-go' type sessions, of which there are many all around the country.
I aim to give everyone who joins a workshop with me a method, skill set & awareness of safety which will stay with them as they continue their carving journey.