( tools, sharpening, books, events )
We recommend Mora 120 knives. These are not general purpose knives and should never be used for food or for splitting wood. There are many online suppliers, we usually use the Woodsmith Store, they are a small independent business and will give you friendly advice on the phone if you have questions about tools.
Ben Orford is a blacksmith working in Herefordshire who makes lovely crook knives for spoon carving.
Spoon carving set
Robin Wood’s spoon carving starter kit (his own axe and spoon knife with a Mora straight knife) is the most economical way to get the tools you need for spoons.
Knives for kids
For small hands we reccommend the Mora Scout, but there are a few similar knives made by Mora for juniors. A rounded tip is essential (this really helps to reduce injuries), a hand guard on one side is also useful to help the kids tell the blade from the back of the knife (a surprisingly common problem when people get excited), and a decent sheath for protecting you and the knife in storage is important too.
If you buy a knife it is essential that you also have a way to sharpen it. The stone from your kitchen drawer is likely far too course to use on woodwork tools. Sharp tools are safer.
Wet and dry emery paper is a cheap alternative to buying sharpening stones. Sean Hellman sells a kit that is made up with replaceable abrasive paper.
There are loads of blogs and videos for instruction, this one by Paul Kirtley is a good starting point. Note that some sharpening systems must be used with water and not oil.
There are loads of books about whittling and green woodwork these days, but the most useful resource remains the classic ‘Swedish Carving Techniques‘ by Wille Sundqvist originally published in in 1990.
Barn the Spoon sells a pack of 4 graphic postcards which illustrate basically all you need to know- knife grips, edge geometry, grain alignment and grain pattern. He also offers online membership to Spoon Club, which gives you access to a library of video tutorials.
Events we recommend
Annual gathering of the Association of Pole-lathe Turners and Greenwood Workers. The Bodgers Ball is held every May in a different part of these isles each year.
The international celebration of the carved wooden spoon, featuring: masses of green wood, the best carvers in the world doing free demonstrations and paid workshops, campfires, a spoon gallery full of inspiration, local beer sold for charity and a wood fired pizza oven. Held in Edale on the first weekend of August. Sells out like Glastonbury.