Ingredients: Handcarved Wooden Spoons and Utensils by Bob Matus

Heron Cove Wood Carving Owner Bob Matus interviewed by Sharon Kitchens

Product: Hand Carved Wooden Spoons ($20 – 35)

What town are the spoons made in?


Where is your workshop (how would you describe it – pristine, cluttered, sunny, dark, music playing, windows open in the summer….)?

As far as my shop I guess you could say all of those terms apply  at some point or other!..No, I take that back… the only time it was pristine was when I first built it.

I mean my boatbuilding shop, which is where my bandsaw is and that’s the first step in making my spoons. After that I usually will shape the roughed out spoon blanks in front of the garage with the door open if it isn’t too nasty out….I might have music on sometimes, but since the various power tools I use at times drown out the radio more often than not it’s left off.

I prefer to work outside because the light is better and I can see flaws in the developing shapes .. there is a pretty good overhang in front so unless it’s raining or snowing hard I will do most of the shaping there. For the actual spoons I usually bring them inside and hollow out the bowl with gouges while sitting at the kitchen table looking out at the St George river, in summer I often do this outside on the deck. Then I go back outside for the final sanding… so while the process doesn’t sound all that efficient it actually works out fairly well. I’m usually up at the shop (which is 1000′ feet from the house) working on something else and I’ll rough out a spoon or two before returning back to the house, I keep the various pieces in a couple of boxes and will shape several at a time. This isn’t a full time job for me so I can pick and choose what I feel like working on…roughing,shaping,hollowing,sanding,etc. So the clutter comes from accumulating pieces in various stages of completion!

How did you start making spoons?

How I started making spoons was I began accumulating various wood scraps that just seemed “too good to burn.” These were either short pieces leftover from boatbuilding projects or sometimes a nice looking piece of firewood that I couldn’t bear to burn. Since there wasn’t really that much wood to work with something like a spoon or ladle seemed like a natural thing to make from them.

What did you do before you made spoons?

I’ve been making spoons for around 20 years but its always been a sideline, I started making them as gifts then sold a few to friends that asked about them. Then I did a few craft fairs and eventually ended up selling at several galleries. I also sell online thru where my shop is called HeronCoveWoodCarving.

Before and during the time I’ve made spoons I’ve been a boatbuilder and woodworker as well as lobstering in the St George river from June thru November the past 26 years.

What do you most enjoy about making the spoons?

What I enjoy about making the spoons is creating something from a piece of wood that might otherwise be used as firewood. I like to see what sort of shape an individual piece of wood might lend itself to. Often the pieces are curved and bent so the finished piece will follow the grain and no two spoons will be exactly alike. I enjoy the hand work aspects most but given the labor intensive nature of the work I appreciate the usefulness of power tools at the early stages of the process.

Almost all the wood I use is salvaged in the sense it was not bought intentionally for spoonmaking but instead were small pieces leftover from bigger projects, or firewood… often on finding a dead or downed tree on my property I will start setting aside “spoonwood”  to the point where the firewood pile is much smaller!

Are any of your spoons made with salvaged wood?

As you know the spatulas I’ve made for the Schooner J. & E. Riggin were originally part of the deck so this is a case where the wood truly was recycled/salvaged. It’s also the only time I’ve used softwood  (cedar or yellow pine) in making the spatulas. Usually I use cherry and  apple, sometimes maple or birch. It all depends what I find.