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Materials Tools
1"x2"x7" wood
PVC ring
Coals from campfire
Metal tongs
E-6000™ glue

See the Wood Carving section for more instructions, hints and tips.

This is a challenging activity for a campout.

Native American Indians used this method to make spoons, bowls, and canoes.

Always work close to the campfire with no dry leaves or other tinder nearby. Remember to always keep safety in mind.

Choose a piece of wood without cracks or knots. The easiest way is to use a piece of 1"x2" pine purchased at a store. You could also use a 1 1/2" to 2" diameter limb. It needs to be dry and not pop very much in the fire. Cut a piece about 6" to 8" long from the limb. Using a saw, make a notch about 1/4" deep through the center of one end of the limb. Place a wedge in the cut and hit the wedge with the hammer splitting the limb in half.

Next, you want to form the bowl of the spoon. Get in a comfortable location sitting where nothing is between you and the campfire. Choose a glowing ember from the fire about 1/2" by 1". A shovel and metal tongs come in handy for this task. Place the ember on one end of the flat part of the wood. Use a small twig to hold the ember in place on the wood. Now gently blow on the ember - slow and steady is best. Be careful with any sparks that fly off; they'll burn through pants. The ember will heat up the wood causing it to burn into the wood. It takes patience and perhaps 30 minutes to get the bowl the right size. Don't make it too deep. You may have to replace the ember with a fresh one. Move the ember around to form the bowl to the desired size and shape. Use a knife to clean out the charred wood to see how deep the bowl is getting. Don't make it too deep or you will make a hole completely through the wood.

Once the bowl is formed, get out your knife (make sure it is very sharp) and carve the inside and outside of the bowl. Remove as much of the charred wood as possible or your food will all have a burnt flavor.

When you are satisfied with the shape of the bowl, start carving the handle. Finally, use sandpaper to smooth the whole spoon. You don't want any splinters!

If your first attempt isn't very successful, turn it into a neckerchief slide by attaching a PVC ring to the handle with E-6000™ glue, string, or wire.

Copyright © 2003 Vincent Hale