For some time, it seems, if you wanted to get into spoon carving, then there were only really two books that showed you how in any detail, and they were both out of print and hard to get on a sensible budget. The modern spoon maker/bibliophile is spoilt for choice, with no less than three books being released this year alone.
Spon, by Barn 'the spoon' Carder is the latest one to hit the shelves and it is a must for beginners and experts alike. If anyone is qualified to write a book about carving wooden spoons it is Mr The Spoon. Barn spent several years travelling the country, sleeping in the woods, carving spoons on the streets and peddling his wares. It was at this time that I first found out about him from Robin Wood's blog and contacted him offering him somewhere to stay, if he was ever in the area and fancied a rest from sleeping under the trees. It seems this offer may have frightened Barn as not long after this he moved to the city and took up residence in a traditional dwelling known as a house. Barn is co-founder of Spoonfest, the first international spoon carving festival, and he also opened his own shop in London that sold, guess what? That's right, hand carved wooden spoons. He even has his own Wikipedia page.
The book is well designed and beautiful, but has a raw, almost handmade feel due to the uncovered end boards. There are loads of full colour photographs to help teach and inspire. After an introduction that is romantic, but at the same time pragmatic as he extols the virtues of his craft, there are chapters on wood selection, tools and a step by step guide to carving your first spoon.
What I really love about this book though, is the second section which contains four chapters looking at sixteen different styles of spoon. Each spoon in this section has its own little essay on the design features and how to create them, as well as photos showing the spoon from three different angles. This is incredibly helpful for someone that is trying to improve their carving, seeking inspiration or trying to copy Barn's spoons and pass them off as originals.
Seriously though, I think that copying someone else's spoons is a great way of improving your own carving. Ideally you would have the actual spoon to copy, but this is the next best thing.
For those that want to take things even further, Barn is now creating videos of how to make the sixteen spoons in his book as well as other spoon making tutorials. He has already finished several of them and you can view them by subscribing through the Green Wood Guild.
You can purchase Barn's book here.
And subscribe to the videos here.