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In-person course

Introduction to spooncarving at Hill End

Spoons on a reindeer skin

About the Course

Carving a wooden spoon from a simple piece of freshly cut tree branch is a deeply satisfying experience. Green wood is very yielding and all of your senses are stimulated, from the smell of fresh wood shavings being carved away to the texture and feel of the bowl and handle as they emerge from the spoon blank.

Using just three tools, an axe, a knife and a hook knife, we will spend the day carving our own spoons. We’ll start by cleaving a length of branch wood in two, deciding which piece would make the best spoon blank and then with axe and chopping block hew the wood to define the bowl, stem and handle. We then move onto the use of the sloyd or craft knife to learn the basic knife holds and whittling cuts to further shape the spoon and use an elegantly curved hook knife to hollow the bowl.

There will also be informal discussion on the use of different wood species, how to sharpen your tools and finishing your spoon. There will be a range of carved spoons, books and tools on hand to inspire.

This course will be based at Hill End Outdoor Education Centre, Eynsham Road, Farmoor, Oxford, OX2 9NJ. Hill End has 67 acres of tranquil and beautiful surroundings next to the world famous Wytham Woods used as an outdoor laboratory by Oxford University. In 2020 Hill End is celebrating 100 years of outdoor education, from when the philanthropic ffennell family purchased the Wytham estate in 1920.

We’ll operate the course in a covid-safe way with appropriate physical distancing, hand sanitisation, your own tools to use for the day etc

Click on the available date in the calendar and then ‘make a booking request’ to book directly with CraftCourses.

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

All tools and materials will be provided. The group size is limited to eight to ensure appropriate tuition time per participant. Appropriate physical distancing and cleansing of tools will be observed to create a covid-safe environment.

What to Bring

Please bring your own lunch and drinks and any green woodworking tools you may have. We'll be outside for much of the time so dress appropriately for the weather.


David Knight at David Knight Woodland Crafts
Hill End Centre
Eynsham Road, Farmoor
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This craft course provider has been awarded Gold status for receiving 10 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.

The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.

They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Parking provided
  • Suitable for beginners

Available as a gift

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1 day (10:00am to 5:00pm)

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In-person course
- - #30841

I've now been a spoon carver for just over 2 years. It all started when I went on one of David's courses. I had no idea what would be involved. I started with log of field maple and by the end of the day I walked away with a very presentable spoon. David is for starters a really nice, approachable guy. He's a great teacher, makes sure that you know what you're doing, and supports you throughout the day. The atmosphere was fun and relaxed and there is a great sense of achievement in turning a log into a spoon! David runs our local group which meets monthly in a local wood where we all sit around a log fire, carving spoons, chatting, drinking tea and sharing experiences. So in 2 years I've become part of the spoon carving community! I'm sure you'll enjoy the course!

Response from David Knight Woodland Crafts:

Hi Andy, I really appreciate this review and your kind words. You remind me that learning to carve a wooden spoon isn’t just about learning a new craft skill but is a route through to a wider green woodworking community which is so friendly, welcoming and happy to share skills, experience and supplies of green wood!

In-person course
- - #30719

An excellent and very enjoyable introductory day course in green woodworking, from the welcoming wood-fired kettle right through to comprehensive follow-up email and opportunities for further progress. The whole day was very well-structured and equipped, with superbly clear demonstrations and explanations from David and Mike, which enabled us to make spoon design choices, get plenty of practice with axe and knives, and produce an item of use and individual beauty.

The day was one of care and attention, in a very safety-conscious environment and wonderfully peaceful surroundings, with David enabling us all to get properly to grips with the revelation that the axe is our friend! Thoroughly recommended, as well as a spoon I ended the day with a great sense of accomplishment, and a deeper appreciation of the artistry involved in the craft.

Response from David Knight Woodland Crafts:

Thanks so much for the review, Ruth, it is much appreciated, and thanks to you and your fellow participants for being such an engaged and enthused group. I do hope the day has sparked your interest in spooncarving and green woodworking- it’s a rabbit hole that’s not easy to escape from!

In-person course
- - #30707

A great Introduction to Spooncarving excellently delivered by David and his lovely assistant 😂. The whole day was relaxed and informative we learned so much and the concentration built as our spoons took shape, I highly recommend it.

Response from David Knight Woodland Crafts:

Hi Adrian, I really appreciate your comments, as does Mike! If enjoyment is measured by the amount of shaving around your chopping block then you definitely won hands down- congratulations on managing to carve two spoons in the day and being part of such a wonderful group to tutor. I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend a Saturday!

In-person course
- - #30701

Excellent course. I had a really enjoyable day in a superb location.

David is an excellent teacher and clearly is very passionate about his craft.
He explained and demonstrated every step in a very easy to understand way and inspired confidence in using the tools needed to carve a spoon.
He also covered safety issues at the beginning of the day and how to look after and sharpen your tools.

I'd definitely recommend this course.

Response from David Knight Woodland Crafts:

Hi Linda, thanks so much for your feedback, it is really appreciated. Thank you for being part of a such an engaged and involved group of participants. I look forward to watching your skills in wood carving develop and grow.

In-person course
- - #30692

David was excellent. I had never done anything like this before and he taught in a very clear manner. Whilst I felt I learnt heaps it was never overwhelming. I loved the vibe of the class, crafting around a fire with a pot of hot water constantly on the go. I would definitely recommend it.

Response from David Knight Woodland Crafts:

Hi Hannah, I really appreciate your feedback. Hill End did us proud as a venue and I loved the dappled shade from the birch trees at our site. Thank you for being so receptive to new ideas in developing your craft skills and I hope you’ve now caught the spooncarving bug and will be whittling away in future months and years!

In-person course
- - #30690

Great introduction to spoon carving by David, helped by Mike. Both very knowledgeable and helpful. Ended up with spoon which actually looked like a spoon! Learnt a great deal about cuts needed and orientation of the grain etc. Also safe use of tools and sharpening. An enjoyable day in a fantastic location.

Response from David Knight Woodland Crafts:

Hi Phil it was great to meet a fellow Eynsham resident! Thank you for throwing yourself into the deep end of working green wood. I do hope I can provide continuing support as you develop your interest in spooncarving and green woodworking

In-person course
- - #30683

A lovely way to have spend my Saturday, in such a calm, relaxed and naturally beautiful environment. David was very informative and his calm friendly approach gave me to the confidence to use tools and equipment that I'd never used before. I was so absorbed in making my spoon that I lost all sense time! I look forward to making more things out of wood in the future. Thank you David

Response from David Knight Woodland Crafts:

Thanks so much Rachel, yes the time did fly didn’t it? Thanks for being such a great group to tutor. I very much hope that you’ll develop your skills further and I’d be honoured to help you make more shavings and spoons!

In-person course
- - #30679

It was great to learn the whole process from log to spoon. David’s tuition was excellent and I felt safe and confident using the techniques he showed us.
Highly recommend this course.

Response from David Knight Woodland Crafts:

Thanks so much Angela- you were a great group to teach and as always I learned something new from the day too. Hope you’ve found the follow-up notes useful. All best David

In-person course
- - #30561

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Response from David Knight Woodland Crafts:

Hi Lucie

Thanks so much for the review. The course I taught with you will be unforgettable, not so much for Storm Brendan that hit us, nor feeding the goats in the rain but because you were a great group of students! Keep making shavings!

In-person course
- - #30458

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Response from David Knight Woodland Crafts:

I’m blushing! Thanks so much for the review Roger and it is wonderful to see how you’ve developed yourself as a woodcarver, exploring the properties of different wood species and incorporating that into your designs.

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