My father (Gregg) worked with wood for most of his life. He was a self-employed carpenter, built and remodeled homes. Back in the 1980’s, my parents canoed quite a bit and he started to build cedar strip canoes and paddles. Using a lot of the same tools, he began demonstrating the old-time craft of making treenware in 1985 for their annual hometown heritage festival. Our family also attended French & Indian War period events over the years, setting up as treenware sutlers. Ten years ago he became a full-time “SPOONER”. Desiree (My partner) and I started an apprenticeship with him 7 years ago keeping the spoon carving art alive, and between the two of us, attend about 35 shows each year.
We enjoy creating functional wooden utensils like those that have been in use for thousands of years. We especially like cherry wood for it’s beautiful color and grain patterns, but also enjoy working with other woods such as apple, apricot, osage, curly maple and sumac, anticipating the finished product.
We use mainly cherry wood that is often times harvested from our own property or given to us from friends with downed trees. Larger utensils and bowls are cut from the logs and the smaller utensils from boards, roughed out on a band saw, then finely sanded. Some are made completely from traditional hand tools such as a hatchet, bow saw, gouge, spokeshave and draw knife, working on a primitive shaving horse which acts as a vise. Each utensil is made individually so no two are alike. Deb (my mother) puts our mark on every piece with a woodburning stylus and they are given a hand-rubbed, organic finish of beeswax and coconut oil.