Tools for Starting Out

By far the cheapest way to acquire an axe for spoon carving is to get hold of a small to medium second hand axe or axe head and add a handle and/or regrind the bevels on the blade. Older axes will have been made with better quality metal. Alternatively you can buy a cheap new axe and reprofile the blade and handle as Sean Hellman does here.

If you want to purchase a new mass produced axe, then it is worth looking out for Stubai side axes, with just one side bevelled. The Japanese hand axe sold by Axminster Tools in the UK is reasonably priced tool that allows you to get your hand right up behind the blade for controlled use.


In the next price bracket up are hand forged tools, including the mini-hatchet (pictured) and wildlife hatchet from Granfors Brucks, axes from Wetterlings or some lovely small axes such as the Taljyxa carving hatchet by Svante Djarv or axes by Hans Karlsson. Go to the tool suppliers page for lists of companies that sell these axes.


The best starter spoon carving knife are Frost knives produced by Mora the Swedish company. They have triple layered laminated carbon blades and birch handles. My preferred knife is the the Frost #120, with a 59 mm blade length. The Frost #106 is also popular, with a blade length of 79 mm, but I personally find the additional length gets in the way.а

The bext price bracket includes sloyd knives with hand forged blades from Svante Sjarv, Hans Karlsson and Ben Orford based here in the UK. Ben's sloyd knife is pictured left. In the US, Del Stubbs makes quality carving knives

The choice of a carving knife can be a very personal one, and moving beyond the the utilitarian sloyd knives is a wide choice, some of which are highlighted on my 'knives' page. The three keys to a knife that will be good for spoon carving are; no guard on the blade; a flat bevel on the blade (sometimes called a Scandinavian grind) rather than a secondary bevel; and a modest blade size.

FInally you will need a hook knife, crook knife or spoon knife to shape the bowl of the spoon. My choice for an entry level hook knife would be the Frost #163, a gently curved and double edged blade. It's pictured right with a home made leather sheath. The advantages of this design are that you can cut to the right and left without needing to change tools, but with only a small part of the blade near the handle available to press your thumb against, this knife does take some getting used to. The Frost #162 has a tighter curve on the blade and is again double edged. The Frost #164 is similarly more tightly curvedа(Peter Pan's Captain Hook would be proud of it!)ааis a single edged,blade which makes it more controllable. It only comes in a right handed version. а

As with the sloyd blades, the next step up is to hand forged hook knives, which come left and rightаhanded and with a variety of curvatures. Svante Djarv, Hans Karlsson and Ben Orford, pictured below, all make quality tools to shape the bowl of your spoon. Watch out for hook knives made by Swedish knifemaker Bo Helgesson. You'll need to put your own handle on them, but these are beautifully polished blades of high quality. They are stocked by the Woodsmith's Store. ай David Knight 2018