Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Wooden Utensils

Just before Christmas I went out into my unheated woodshop and made wooden utensils to give as gifts to my family. It started with a request from Julia to help replace our brother-in-law's favorite curved wooden spatula. The maker of that one had retired, and everything Julia found online to replace it felt too clunky or had poor craftsmanship. At Thanksgiving we did a tracing of his worn utensil and I reproduced it––I then exhausted my supply of exotic hardwoods (and a few less exotic) until I'd reproduced two of the favorite shapes he and Julia both use when they cook.

They start life being traced from a pattern and cut roughly out of a plank on a bandsaw. Next comes the shaping on a belt sander with rough paper. Then lots and lots of hand sanding going from 80 grit up to 220. Lastly a polishing with 0000 steel wool and finish of mineral oil. They were fun to make, but labor intensive and tough on the shoulder of my sanding arm. I happily made these for my loved ones, but I won't be going into business making them anytime soon.

Below are closeups of each wood species I used (unpictured are two Cherry ones that were ones we ordered from someone and were disappointed with, so I reshaped and refinished them--but since I didn't make them from scratch, I'm not showing them).


Leopard Wood


Zebra Wood

(one of them had a split and so I reshaped it into a large butter knife shape instead)


(I made these as matching mirrored pairs to be used as salad tongs)

(I only had one small piece of walnut--enough to make one short spatula)

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