In Dutch we have a saying, “the crazy and the cheeky own half the world”. What do you make? A wooden what? Make sure you always have a homemade spoon with you to show. There is a good chance that will get the conversation flowing. Do tell them that fresh wood is always welcome. If you also have a saw with you, you can be sure that a great opportunity will not pass you by.
For spoon carving you need fresh, soft wood. You will not find that in a store. Here are five ways to source wood.
1. Family and friends
Tell as many people as possible that you cut spoons from prunings. There is a good chance that they will think of you as soon as they start working somewhere. Especially in the beginning, don’t be too specific about the type of wood. Keep it on leaf trees about 7 cm in diameter or more, preferably straight or slightly curved. This way it won’t be too difficult for your wood scouts. Advantage: you immediately learn more about the properties of the different types of wood. If it is not suitable for cutting, then you have at least learned something.
2. Woodcombing / Streetcombing
Step up to people. No you already have, yes you can get. Do you see someone pruning, or prunings on the sidewalk; ask what they are going to do with it and if you can have some trunks. Explain what you want to use it for. Your best donors are always very happy with a spoon from their own garden.
3. After a storm
After a heavy storm, many branches fall from trees, or even entire trees fall. Take a stroll after a storm. If there is something somewhere, ask if you can have part of it, because otherwise most of it will disappear in the chopper.
4. Pruning crew
Team up with a local pruning crew. Many landscapes have pruning teams that maintain areas or prune tall fruit trees. Often it is not a problem if you take home some wood. That way you kill two birds with one stone. Extra hands for a good cause and some wood for you.
5. Arborist or gardener
Timing is key. A good time to approach an arborist or gardener is in the fall and winter. As soon as the birds start to make nests, the pruning season is over. Making appointments for a few months away is difficult. Picking up something that has just been pruned is much easier. Take a box of chocolates or a spoon with you as a thank you. Maybe you’ll have a steady supplier.
Of course, you can save yourself the chore of finding wood and buy pre made spoon billets or blanks from a local carver like myself or via The Spooncrank. It will get you started really quick without an axe. In a next blog I will tell you more about the species of wood I like to work with.