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Thread: Wood for eating utensils? Spreaders and spoons

  1. #1

    Wood for eating utensils? Spreaders and spoons

    I was trying to use a plastic knife to spread some almond butter, and it was extremely awkward to use.
    I'm thinking of making some spreaders (butter knife things) for friends, family, and personal use.

    It seems like the perfect whittling project.
    Unlike a spoon, I only need one knife.
    And it's pretty much not something that most people have used...I imagine that it would be utterly satisfying for the receiver.

    Do you have any recommendations for a good spreader?
    I'm not sure if it has to be hardwood only, or if I can just pick up any old branch.
    I know that there's maple trees in some parts of my town.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    E TN, near Knoxville
    I'd look for a fine-grained hardwood, either local wood or exotics. Maple would be good, hard (sugar) maple would be better. You can certainly use a branch or offcuts from someone's shop. You don't mention where you live but nearly any woodturner or woodworker I know would probably gladly give you enough good wood to make some spreading knives.

    I like to make such things from cocobolo, lignum vitae, hard maple, dogwood (my favorite), ebony, persimmon (a type of ebony), olive, osage orange, black locust, etc. In general, I like fine-grained hard and strong wood for utility things like scoops and such.

    BTW, carving is great but I might put the final shape on a "flatish" blade with a belt or disk sander or by hand with sanding sticks made by gluing sandpaper onto flat strips of wood or plywood.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    North Virginia
    I would stay away from really porous woods (such as Ash and Hickory) and very oily woods (such as lignum vitae). My favorites are maple, persimmon, olive, and osage orange.


  4. #4
    Fruit woods are great for this too. Cherry, apple, pear, plum etc. are all pretty.
    A woodchick can chuck wood

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Silicon Valley, CA

    I just watched the Jarrod Stone Dahl Spoon Carving DVD and (from memory) he recommends fruit woods. He also suggested birch & maple. As I recall he specifically warned against Oak as it is too porous.

    Most of what he talked about related to wood however was reading & picking the grain. He was talking about eating spoons specifically, but his emphasis on aligning the grain with the axis of the spoon for strength would apply to spreaders as well. (He split, rather than cut, his blanks to align with the grain. He also considered radial versus tangential orientation because that also affects strength and resistance to splitting in use.)

  6. #6
    there is a fellow that hits the craft fairs in central PA that makes wooden kitchen ware. Carves out spoons etc. I know that about 20 percent of what he makes is from Cherry. I think most of the rest is hard maple.

    My Father once made some of those big oven spatulas, like the paddles used to remove pizza from the oven. Not quite so large and he had a old guy run some hard maple through a shingle mill to get the tapered stock. Then he cut sort of a folk design and finished the piece with mineral oil. They were about 24 inches long and the paddle was about 8 or 9 inches wide, just the right size for fetching an 8 inch cake pan out of the hot oven. I have been keeping a look out for a guy with a shingle mill for that very purpose. Got a nice big piece of cherry out in the barn for that purpose.

  7. #7
    I'd suggest Maple, Birch, Beech, Poplar. These are usually pretty innocuous woods for treenware. One might also check a wood toxicity chart to see which woods are most likely to give your recipient problems. I tend to stay away from exotic woods for this purpose.
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  8. #8
    I've carved from a lot of different woods. I'm doing a set from six different kinds of wood right now on commission. Maple is great, honey locust not only looks nice when you're done it smells good when you're carving. Birch is good if a little boring. I liked working with orange agate and the finished product was gorgeous. A lot of folks use cherry. I've also used pear and apple. There's a guy who uses mulberry and the finished ware is beautiful.

  9. #9
    Olive wood is great for that.

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