Whittle Me This!
Ahh, winter in Maine. It's taken some getting used to, but 7 years later, I feel I have never enjoyed winter as much as I do now. Summer is my busiest time of the year, where work, foraging, fishing, tending the land, and getting quality time with my family all collide. Our summer season is short here, so it requires an effort to get in all the activities I enjoy participating in.
By the time winter arrives, catering slows down, the gardens are asleep, and my family moves into home mode. The boys spend their days on various homeschooling projects, or simple slumbering up with some comfy blankets by the wood stove playing Legos.Just about every year when December rolls around, I gather several books with great ambition to take the time and read them throughout the upcoming winter months. Although I will start one or two of these, I find it more of a struggle to get through the pages without interruption from the kids or simply falling asleep.
While reading is an enjoyable way to pass those cold winter days, I find it's more of a chore than an enjoyable activity. Several years ago, while attending the Common Ground Fair in neighboring Unity, Maine, I purchased a pair of inexpensive whittling tools made my Mora Knife Company. Having these knives in hand recalled finding several apple wood blanks with the outline of spoons penciled onto them. I saw it as an easy way to get started on a skill I really had no experience in. I believe I had split one of the blanks but did eventually whittle out a beautiful spoon that stirred many pots of sauce before my oldest boy snapped it into two pieces.
Since completing my first spoon a few years ago, I've enjoyed whittling from time to time, making spoons when the right piece of wood comes along and calls to be carved. This past Christmas, I decided to put my work to the test and gift several friends and family spoons and spatulas. I busted out my Wanta Forge Puuko for the job and was really pleased with how it worked on the cherry and applewood pieces I had lying around.
So, if you're looking to pick up a new hobby, or simply want to start making more and buying less, I suggest you whittle away and create some sustainable, eco-friendly spoons! The video below is basically shows the process I use for turning a piece of wood into a usable utensil!