I carve quite a few spoons and have tried various spoon carving knives from hand-made custom models to the mass-produced and more commonly available ones … with mixed results.
Over the past couple of months and the last dozen or so spoons, I have been using a nice new set of knives from Casstroms, their “wood carving range”. This set of 3 – all available individually – comprises:
Wood carving knife 8cm; Crook knife 5cm right, and Crook knife 5cm left, all with carbon steel blades hardened to HRC 60, rosewood handles and sporting metal ferrules.
The wood carving knife is of the classic Scandinavian Sloyd knife style with a Scandi grind and a very sharp 8cm long, 2.5mm thick blade, while the “crook”, “hook” or “spoon” knives – both left and right models – have usefully curved blades, again of 2.5mm carbon steel with a single external bevel and blunt tips.
All 3 knives come with good leather sheaths – a rarity among wood carving knives in my experience – with the wood carving knife having a full friction fit, 3mm veg tan leather sheath with a riveted belt loop and rivets at the ends of the stitching line, while the “crook” knives both come with thinner leather sheaths that are part sewn and close around the blades with a secure press stud. These sheaths are simple, elegant and effective.
All the knives share an identical style 11cm long handle of a tapered oval cross section “barrel” style with a simple ferrule at the blade end and a flat butt. The wood of the handles is a very attractive rosewood and all the elements of the set make the Casstrom wood carving range very handsome indeed!
The idea of having both left and right crook knives is not just to cater for southpaws, but in recognition of the fact that although it is more usual to cut towards you, i.e. if you are right handed, with a crook knife that has the cutting edge on the left side of the blade – it is sometimes easier to make some cuts with a push away from you using a right edged blade, and vice versa if you are a lefty! I find this a better and safer solution than another maker’s double-edged spoon knife that I tried!
In use, I found the carving knife a joy to use and the crook knives very effective and comfortable, the bevel and edge giving minimal “chatter” as they cut.
All the knives came very sharp and as yet I have not had to do any more to sharpen them than giving them, a bit of stropping. I have found the handles very comfortable, although those with big hands may want to round off the edges of the flat-cut butt. It can be easy to mistake the left for the right crook knives at a quick glance, but if you keep them in their sheaths, the fastenings of the sheath, being “handed” to the blade side, allows quick identification of which is which.
The wood carving knife costs £33.95 and each of the crook knives costs £28.95, making the Casstrom Wood Carving range “mid range” in price selection of tools that I find perform well, are comfortable to use and look very good. The inclusion of good sheaths for all the knives – especially the crook knives, is a nice feature that I really appreciate as they protect the edges and protect me from the edge!
For more information visit www.casstrom.co.uk