The source of inspiration during the holidays to try out the “wood spoon carving” was Martina Merz from the agency mërz punkt. On her Instagram account @martina.merz she shows pictures of her handsome wooden spoon collection and we were fixed. Thanks to the Internet, we quickly found a suitable provider. However, it was unpredictable that our pocket knife carving course with Tomm Baumann from manatu wilderness seminars would also become a natural experience.
When Tomm asked: “What do you associate with carving?” we only remembered childhood memories of growing up in the countryside. At that time we carved arrows from the branches, from the annual tree cutting of the fruit trees from our garden, made bows and organized shooting exercises on straw bales with friends. Nowadays, as “Munich city dwellers”, we wouldn’t know where we could get the right wood for carving.
The forest is calling.
And with this question Tomm helps us to find the right approach. We met in Gilching at the parking lot of the middle school and went from there a short bit into the forest. As equipment we had our Swiss army knife, provisions and seat pads with us. That was all, it doesn’t need more. In a nice place with a few fallen trees as a sitting possibility, Tomm has stretched his rain tarpaulin (it is clear that it rains in Bavaria in August) and off we went.
Theory and practice
We have learned the 9 safety rules for carving, the matching carving posture, the 3 most important tools of the Swiss army knife and the right selection of the carving wood. At the topic of which wood is suitable for carving, I got our rain jackets out of the car and came back with a huge branch of an old oak tree in tow. Tomm took note of this without comment, although he had previously explained the appropriate types of wood. Maple, linden, hazel, pine, poplar and fruit trees are great for carving wooden spoons as they are easy to process and not too coarse-grained. It is important when selecting the wood found in the forest that the wood is dry. Therefore, do not use woods that lie directly on the forest floor, but best look for pieces of wood that lie elevated and could dry well. In addition, use only broken wood and do not saw off branches of healthy trees. According to the Waldknigge of the Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald https://www.sdw.de/waldwissen/verhalten-im-wald/waldknigge/waldknigge.html, branches, bark and wood lying on the ground may be collected in small quantities for personal use. On the other hand, the felling of trees, the cutting or tearing of branches is prohibited.
Back to my oak:
My oak is more of a hard wood and the carving therefore takes up to ten times longer. Of course, I finished with my wooden spoon last and sawing the mould was quite tedious, but the result can be seen thanks to the patient guidance of Tomm.
Anyone who has experienced Tomm in his courses knows that he likes to let his students try it out first. His special training as a wilderness teacher with Matthias Blaß also follows this principle. Coyote Lessons: The wilderness teacher gives no answers. Through tricky questions and exercises, he encourages the student to work out the answers on their own and experience them first-hand (my experience on that day was the calluses on my hands).
Our wooden spoon carving course was not a wilderness seminar. But the experience in the forest for a few hours to stay in one place and to set up was good. The silence of the forest, the search for the right wood, the look for details, where I find the right soil to work my wood, the shaping of the spoon, all this calms, grounds and brings you closer to nature.