Patterns & Projects

Carving a Traditional Love Spoon


By David Western

This simple design is the pattern I use with beginner carvers in my love spoon carving classes. Although it is a straightforward design, it contains several elements that will assist new carvers in learning important carving techniques.

Shaping the abundant curved edges will vividly illustrate the importance of following the wood’s grain. The design also contains over-under work, which will prepare you for undertaking more complicated knotwork patterns as your skills progress. The opportunity to do some cutting out (known as fretwork) will develop patience, tenacity, and motor skills. I recommend carving your first spoon from an easily worked timber such as basswood, poplar, or alder. Using pine or similar softwoods will make for easier carving, but will require razor-sharp edges on the tools for a crisp finish.

Basswood: 3/4 x 3″ (19mm x 76mm) x 11″ (279mm)
Danish oil
Sandpaper: assorted grits (optional)

Scroll saw
Carving knife
Bent knife (to shape inside of bowl)
Drill with bit: 1/8″ (3mm) dia. (blade-entry holes)
Paintbrush and rags to apply Danish oil

CLICK HERE to download the Traditional Love Spoon Pattern.

For more information read Fine Art of Carving Lovespoons by David Western. Learn to create beautiful lovespoons, hand-carved symbols of affection popular for centuries. This is the most thorough and detailed book available on the subject of lovespoon carving. Contains sections on the history of lovespoon carving, selecting woods, using and maintaining tools, applying long-lasting finishes as well as 3 step-by-step projects and 15 original patterns. The book is available for $24.95 plus S&H at

Read more great articles from Woodcarving Illustrated Holiday 2008 (Issue 45). 

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