I find no better distraction from the stresses of chairmaking (namely the complex joints on the rocker arms that I am making) than heading out to the woods with my chainsaw to enlist some apple wood for spoon carving. I am fortunate to have many apple trees that are years overgrown and respond to a good cutting with more apples next year. Apple wood has a gorgeous color and texture. It glistens when sliced with a sharp blade. I also wanted to make some spoons for my new showroom.
Apple trees undulate and squirm in a way that makes sense only to them. It can be perfect for spoons, with the bends built right in, but can also be a tangle of disappointing knots and sapwood. Below are some of the ladle blanks that I harvested recently. I've roughed them out on the bandsaw (a dangerous technique) and will hollow out the bowls before drying them. Once dry, I'll finish them off with spokeshaves and scrape and sand the bowls. The carving gouge is shown for a sense of scale.
Here is a recent spoon finished with walnut oil. It hangs nicely on any nail or lip. I carved the sides with an undercut. One of the joys of spoon carving is the freedom to follow each one to a unique solution, in harmony with the grain direction and the special offering of the tree.
As usual, these spoons will go to clients or for gifts, and my kitchen will be left with my ragged and wacky first spoons (that I could never repeat, and therefore cherish the most).