Some recommended books for guidance, ideas and inspiration

Green Woodworking, a Hands-On Approach by Drew Langsner

So this was the first greenwoodworking book I ever bought and it has remained a well thumbed tome ever since. Note the creased cover! Drew Langsner runs country woodworking workshops in his Appalachian homestead and one of the first tutors for his courses was Swedish master Craftsman Willie Sundqvist who has been the inspiration for a generation of spoon carvers around the world. Drew’s book cover all the bases in green woodworking, but it was the couple of pages on spooncarving, with images of Willie’s spoons, that did it for me. The lump of firewood and blunt penknife that I used for my first spoon didn’t exactly help to create the graceful lines of a Sundqvist spoon, but the die was cast and I was bitten by the woodcarving bug.

Swedish Carving Techniques by Willie Sundqvist

Now back in print!

This book is the bible of spooncarvers, especially those inspired by the Scandinavian tradition of carving domestic utensils during the long winter nights. The book is authoritative on the choice of axes and knives, on sharpening and on the importance of good design. It covers a range of projects including spoon and bowl carving. I was fortunate enough to meet Willie when he came to the UK in 2002 to run a spoon carving and bowl carving course at the Beamish Museum and testify to his status as master craftsman. One memory will remain with me. One of the participants had just bought a brand new hewing axe from Granfors Bruks, designed by Willie Sundqvist. Willie commented that although Granfors had done a good job on the axe head, he didn't like the handle so much. With the student's permission he set to carving the handle of the axe to reprofile it.

Carving and Whittling the Swedish Style by Gert Ljungberg and Inger A:son-Ljungberg

This book appears to be out of print and hard to get hold of second hand. It isn't as comprehensive as the Sundqvist book but has a chapter on spoons, ladles, kasas and scoops. Kasas are wooden cups with handles. The book captures something of the Scandinavian carving ethic and has some particularly fine images of old Swedish domestic ware. There are some nice kasa designs in the book and as you can see from the cover, lots on bowl carving too.

Slojda I Tra by Jogge Sundqvist

Jogge Sundqvist continues in his father's footsteps and runs courses in spoon and bowl carving but with a contemporary twist. The book title roughly translates as 'Handicraft in Wood'. In fact there is little about spoons in it but it does have other woodcarving projects, wonderful colour photographs and black and white diagrams. Jogge's use of colour in the artefacts he creates is very interesting as can be seen on the front cover. Many of the ideas could transfer to spooncarving projects. A great chance to brush up on your Swedish language!

Making Traditional English Wooden Eating Spoons by Eric Rogers

You may be forgiven for thinking that the Scandinavians have cornered the market in spoon carving, but there is a good tradition of making and using wooden spoons here in Britain, but it died out with the arrival of the metal spoon. Eric Rogers, founder member of the Association of Pole Lathe Turners, has researched Medieval wooden eating spoons in Eastern England and has produced this short book published byаWoodland Craft Supplies. It is a very practical guide to the art of carving and turning spoons in the English style

Grunholtz Schnitzen by Tove Yde

The title translates from the German as something like 'Green Wood Carving: a child friendly course'. The author is actually Danish and the original was titled 'Snittebogen'. In it's 70 odd pages the author sets about encouraging children to 'snit a little bit' together in carving clubs. It's a great idea to encourage children to take up carving and whittling when they are old enough to appreciate the risks of using sharp tools and to develop an awareness and responsibly for themselves and those around them.

The book has lots of colour photographs so for non-German speakers it still can provide lots of ideas and inspiration, not just for spoons, but for knives and forks, ladles, strainers, whisks, honey spirals, orange peelers, pegs, combs and wooden mushrooms! ай David Knight 2018