How to carve a Welsh love spoon

Firstly, the carver will need to select a single piece of wood for the spoon. There are several important considerations to take into account at this stage; it is much better to choose wood that isn’t green and is completely air dried as moisture can adversely affect the carving process.

Often a carver will create a paper template of the design of the spoon and stick it on the piece of wood chosen and draw around it.

Next the process of shaping the spoon begins. There are an assortment of tools that are available to a carver in modern times. In the centuries past a craftsman would have been reduced to using simple tools such as an axe and a knife. This process would have taken long hours and required great patience. Today, apparatuses such as the electric scroll saw or band saw have empowered the carver to work at a far greater pace and make more intricate designs.

welsh love spoons gouges
welsh love spoons gouges

To carve the spoon bowl a curved gouge is selected usually from various sizes and with the use of a mallet chips away at the wood with the grain. Another option is a tool called the bent-bladed knife. A piece of fine sandpaper is then used to smooth out the curve of the bowl.

To begin the process of shaping the spoon and removing any unnecessary wood, as specified earlier, such machine tools as the scroll saw or band saw could be used. Another option would be the more manual coping saw.

Once the excess wood around the edges has been removed a drill could be used to drill holes to start off the interior cavities. The gaps would then be extended to configuration by using such tools as the coping saw or scroll saw. When approaching the more intricate edges of the cavities the bench knife, chisel or gouges would be employed.

After a final sanding with the grain and never across it, waxing, staining and polishing can take place.

Here is a great video of Joe Dillett carving a lovespoon.



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