If you’re a greenwood greenhorn, you probably have a lot of questions. Here is some introductory guidance and resources to get you started in the right direction. Check the requirements for the specific classes you’ll be attending, and make sure you fill out the liability waiver before the festival.
Fresh hardwoods with small grain structure are the best material to use for making treen (bowls and spoons). It helps to start carving with hardwoods that are relatively soft, such as Black Walnut (Jugulans Nigra), Red Maple (Acer Rubrum) and Smooth Sumac (Rhus Glabra). Other suitable woods include sweet gum, birch, cherry, any fruitwood (but fruitwood tends to be very hard and fine grained). Other interesting woods are Staghorn Sumac and Osage Orange for their fantastic colors, Box Elder with it’s flame texture, and Mulberry, Beech and Sycamore for a bit more variety. White Pine and Poplar are softer and often used to make bowls.
When drying greenwood it is prudent to work your pieces to a relatively even thinness as soon as possible to prevent cracking. Keeping your work out of direct sunlight and wind will also help. Another method to prevent cracking is to put partially finished work in two paper bags. Blanks or billets can be sealed on the end grain with left over latex, alkyd paint, wax, or latex rubber. They can also be stored in a freezer for about 6 months to limit drying.
A good place to start for basic spoon carving tools is the 106 Mora knife. You’ll also want a custom spoon knife or a broad 1”+ long bent gouge which can also be used to carve bowls. There are a number of greenwood tool craftsmen scattered across the United States. A few of them are linked below, along with a few larger tool suppliers that carry appropriate tool for green woodworking.
by Ty Thornock
It’s easy as a beginning carver to get stuck trying to decide on what axe to buy. This is a general guide of the most important features to look for when shopping for a carving axe.
Slöjd in Wood
by Jögge Sundqvist, Lost Art Press
Swedish Carving Techniques
by Wille Sundqvist, Taunton Press
Spoon A Guide to Spoon Carving and the New Wood Culture
by Barn the Spoon, Virgin Books
The Woodwright’s Shop: A Practical Guide to Traditional Woodcraft
by Roy Underhill, University of North Carolina Press
Understanding Wood A Craftsmans Guide to Wood Technology
by Bruce Hoadley, Taunton Press
Join our newsletter for important updates on tickets and events.