Jack is based in Dorset in the United Kingdom and he teach spoon carving, green woodworking and ancient crafts. He also design and build wooden furniture, gates, fences and buildings.
How long have you been into spoon carving and when and how you got hooked?
More than six years. Spoon carving seemed to be a natural progression from whittling sticks round the fire in the woods.
How does your partner reacts to wood chips and your spoon carving?
With utter joy and exuberance.
Please share a spoon carving tip and tell us about the how and the why.
For a smooth transition at the neck, remember to make the narrowest part of the handle far enough away from the bowl so as to allow a clean cut when coming round the side of the bowl and continuing into the handle. It’s very hard to explain in words alone! Join me on a workshop and I’ll show you!
How do you like to finish your spoons? Do you decorate your spoons? Can you elaborate on your different techniques? I like to keep things simple. Though I have been experimenting with a star on the end of the handle instead of a ball!
What the three most important tools in your carving tool kit and why?
Axe, Sloyd knife and hook knife – otherwise we have no spoons!
What is your most favourite part when carving a spoon and why?
Axing out the spoon blank…. not sure why it’s my favorite part. I just find it the most satisfying!
How do you approach sharpening and what are the benefits of keeping your tools sharp? with a grumble and a sigh – though i’m always pleased afterwards! Sharp tools mean good cuts, which usually mean good spoons!
Where do you find green wood for carving? Any tips you’d like to share on how to source green wood? By hook or crook… My entire working life and world revolves around trees. I’m lucky enough to have a ready supply of wood through Arborist work.
Do you carve at home? Where do you carve most often, where do you like to carve and why is that?
Somewhere quiet. I struggle to relax enough during the daytime to carve, so it’s usually after the sun has set….
Lessons learned from cutting yourself while carving? How you minimise the risk of an accident while carving a spoon? Slow down. Don’t carve tired.
Do you have a particular philosophy about the craft of spoon carving and the hand carved wooden spoon? Use them.
What are your thoughts on collaborative work among makers in general?
Never done any, but if it’s good, it’s good!
Why is the crank an important spoon design feature? What’s your process for creating the crank on your spoons? How much is enough crank? Crank determines how the spoon functions. I usually rough out the top, plan view of the spoon first, then flatten off the bottom leaving as much thickness as possible. For the crank I usually axe cut down at the crank point, remembering not to go to deep so as to allow carving the angular crank left by the axe into a smooth transition with the knife.
How can we do spoon carving and green working more accessible you think?
Access to nature and the countryside is quite important I think, as is spreading the wood via any means necessary!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
My belief in, and respect for indigenous societies across the world is at the core of everything I do. I believe these societies have an understanding for the natural world, and our place in it which far surpasses our western ideas.
I’ve spent my life trying my best to learn from these societies & rediscover the scraps of our own. I believe fully that trying to learn, replicate & reinvent our own beliefs & interactions with the natural world, based on the fundamental principles of indigenous beliefs, can only serve to bring about a fuller & healthier society for us all. Spoon carving for me is just one small part of this immense, lifelong path.