Patterns & Projects

Personalized Celtic Lovespoon


By Jim Gledhill

Because of the rich Scots/Irish heritage in my Canadian community, I receive many commissions for gift items like Celtic crosses, and lovespoons. To streamline my work, I create hard patterns to use as templates. Once the basic template is created, I can easily personalize the piece or alter the design to fit my customer’s needs.

This design started with standard elements of an Irish Celtic cross—a center with four emanating points, representing the four directions, and the connecting wheel, representing the circuit of the sun, seasons, and life. The spoon is from the Welsh lovespoon tradition, and by combining the handle of the spoon with the base of the cross, there is ample space for banners, knot work, or anything else to customize and personalize the piece.

The material for this spoon is African mahogany removed from the galley area of a 1950s Great Lakes sail boat as part of a renovation. Since all surface areas are being carved or textured, I did not bother to remove the many coats of varnish.

Wood, 3/4″ to 7/8″ (19mm to 22mm): 31/2″ x 10″ (89mm x 254mm)
Carbon paper
Lacquer or finish
Colored paste wax, such as Trewax or Minwax (optional)
Sandpaper, wet dry: 220, 320, and 600-800 grits
Malachite cabochon (optional to embellish cross), 10mm
Epoxy, 2-part, 5-minute (optional, to secure embellishment)

Carving knife
Hobby knife, such as Exacto knife handle with Olfa art-knife blades
Japanese detail gouge, 9mm shallow
#6 gouge, Japanese detail: 6mm
#4 gouge, long handled: 1/4″ (6mm)
Drill with bits: 1/4″ (6mm), 3/8″ (10mm) dia.


CLICK HERE to download the Lovespoon Pattern.

CLICK HERE to download Lovespoon Variations.

Read The Fine Art of Carving Lovespoons by David Western for more information. This is the most thorough and detailed book available on the subject of lovespoon carving. It 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. It is available for $24.95 plus S&H from

Read more great articles from Woodcarving Illustrated Summer 2007 (Issue 39) here.

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