Spoon Craft Masterclass
Spoon Craft Masterclass
This is for you folks who have little to no experience in the simple pleasures of crafting a wooden spoon from scratch. Here we will take you through every step of the process from wood selection, tool use/cutting techniques and tool maintenance..... everything you need to get you on your way to a lifetime of carving. Because the course is spread over 2 days, it allows full immersion into the skills required to carve your own spoon along with other useful items where time permits.
The course is held at our woods and all the necessary equipment is provided by us, however there is the option to purchase the recommended tools whilst booking (these brand new carving tools will be razor sharp and will be presented to you upon your arrival, alternatively see our recommended tool list below).
Because we run this course at the award winning campsite, we want you to feel comfortable during your visit to us (not everyone who wants to learn spoon carving wishes to spend the night in the woods, although we find it very calming)... therefore three options are available to you:-
1/ Stay with one or more of our instructors in the woods overnight, where a simple yet tasty hot meal will be provided to you for dinner (veggie and other dietary preferences are available, just make us aware when booking)... enjoy campfire stories and perhaps play a few games when it gets dark (our take on hide and go seek).
Full use of the facilities are available to you ie hot showers, toilets, kitchenette etc. Just bring your own one man dwelling be it a hammock and tarp, bivvi or tarp and bedroll to sleep under the stars with (be sure to bring earplugs with you as our instructors snore!). A simple breakfast will be provided for the morning meal prior to continuing on with the spoons. *A full kit list will be sent out to you after your booking is made.
2/ Pre-book a pitch in advance via the campsite for your stay (there is a tipi and pod for of a glamping experience) or rock up with your tent or caravan. PLEASE NOTE the pitches do get booked up quickly so book well in advance to avoid disappointment (weekend bookings min stay of 2 nights). Fenland Bushcraft cannot take responsibility of this and all campsite bookings are done via the campsite. We recommend that you arrive at least a day prior to the course to allow you plenty of time to set up your pitch as the course starts early, and although there will be short breaks in between, we can't guarantee that there will be enough daylight to set up after the first day.
3/ Come for the day and return the next. You can leave your vehicle at the main car park by reception and head over to the woods where the wood chips go flying.
*** Be sure to inform us what you plan to do so that we can ensure the most pleasurable experience for you. Throughout your stay hot drinks and cold refreshments are provided and breaks will be encouraged to rest hands and fingers.
The course is designed to not only get you outside, but for you to gain practical knowledge and the confidence so that you can take your new found skills away with you for when you want to get your whittle mojo on. The benefits of whittling is that it doesn't cost the earth to do, a few basic tools and good quality instruction is all you need and you reap the rewards of making something completely unique which make great keepsakes or gifts to that someone special. Don't just take our word for it, come and try it, it's quite the sociable and pleasurable past time (and addictive).
What to expect: after parking your vehicle at the reception car park, head over to the Bushcraft HQ arriving no later than 1030hrs where one of our instructors will greet you (it's a couple of minutes walk from the car park and the bushcraft zone is located on the bottom half of 'Fen Park'). If you are staying in the woods overnight you can turn up earlier at 0900hrs to set up your sleeping arrangements prior to the course.
Before we begin promptly at 1030hrs, a disclaimer must be filled out and handed in to an instructor. The kettle will be on and a hot brew will welcome you upon entry.
At 1030hrs our Master Whittler will give a demonstration on spoon carving... the instructor shall also give you a bit of history on the humble spoon. This usually lasts about an hour an is extremely interesting, covers timber selection, and you will see the techniques used in real time with explanations on why the techniques are useful.
At 1130hrs we will take a quick break followed by a talk on health and safety and basic first aid. This is fundamental for any sort of activity where sharp tools are being used. We always stress that despite all efforts there's a 'likelyhood to cut yourself' and don't book a place if that is an issue for you. Tuition cannot compensate for poor strength and lack of attention commonplace with the novice. However we will have our eyes on you and with our experience, are quick to notice and call out if we feel you are not performing a technique correctly so that we can help you can adjust it accordingly to be safer and more efficient.
Between 1200hrs and 1230hrs we shall break for lunch which you will provide for yourself (we suggest a packed lunch or alternatively bring a ready meal which just requires hot water which we can provide for you).
From 1300hrs to 1600hrs (and with full bellies) you will commence your axing lesson, roughing out the blanks for your spatula and spoon using the hatchet (small axe). We don't expect you to remember all the techniques during the demonstration so will refresh everyone where necessary. The spatula will come first and is part of the process for learning the grips and techniques used for carving your spoons. This allows for errors to be made before moving on to the more technical and detailed spoons. We will remind you to take regular breaks to stretch your body throughout the day so that fatigue doesn't set in too easily. A tired body and mind can lead to a project going south or worse risk injury to oneself.
After your axing session for the day, we will talk about how to maintain your tools with a demonstration under our 'sharpening station' using various mediums, some of which will suit all budgets, some more expensive like the high quality stones we use sometimes. We can discuss some of the pros and cons of each and we may even have some small components for a maintenance kit to hand for you to purchase should you wish. A sharp tool is a safer tool. This concludes the first day of the Spoon Craft Masterclass.
(*Those opting to stay the night in the woods with our instructors can finish off adjusting their respective shelters before settling down for an evening of food and relaxation. Of course you are not restricted to stay on site at any point so if there is anything you wish to do in the evening do go ahead. All we ask is that you return safely and at a respectable time as our instructors will want to get some rest.)
After a rested sleep on the next day, promptly at 0930hrs we will take our seats once more to complete our spatula and spoons. This time we will be using 2 different knives.... a precision carving knife and a crook knife. Here we will revisit the techniques demonstrated the day before, and you will now be able to finish off your projects. First you will contour the outside of your items and then finally you will hollow out the bowl to your spoon. As before we will prompt you to take breaks to avoid fatigue and at 1230hrs we draw the session to a close, giving you some insights into allowing the wood to dry before adding the final finishing touches.
It is imperative for this Spoon Craft Masterclass that you are sitting comfortably for this and therefore we strongly recommend that you bring a good sturdy folding camping chair. Should the weather be on the cooler side feel free to bring a cushion also to prevent getting numb bums.
Price of booking (for session only, not including camping at The Secret Garden): -
Option 1 - £170
Option 2 - £135 (this is with the 10% Crafty Campers Discount for those who are paying to be booked in for a stay at The Secret Garden)
Option 3 - £150
*please note a 25% non refundable deposit must be paid upfront at time of booking (maximum allowance for booking 1 month prior to course date).
To see available dates for these and our other offerings, please click on the Events Calendar box below.