Complete Guide About How To Use A Wood Carving Hook Knife

A spoon knife is perhaps a green woodworking tools with the largest number of names. It is also known as a hook knife and a crooked knife. We call it “spoon knife” because it is necessary for making spoons, but also any other types of spherical holes in the wood.

Today we will be speaking about this interesting tool. We will discuss some characteristics and variants that can be found in the market, but also see how it’s used. Let’s learn more about the hook knife!

Tools For Making Spoons

The hook knife is the main star of the spoon carving, along with the axe and the straight knife. Without these three, you can’t really make a wooden spoon. And spoons are what most beginners make, in order to practice working with the blades. Additionally, spoons are some of the main products of most wood carving workshops – along with bowls and plates.

Also, spoons can even be made into pieces of art.
Whichever purpose, you can’t really escape making spoons on your wood carving journey. And that basically means you can’t escape hook knives as well. 

Spoon Knives Characteristics

We determine types of spoon knives based on some characteristics. These mostly refer to their blades and shapes.

When it comes to the blades, it is clear that spoon knives have them curved. However, the degree of the curvature can vary, from more open (shallow) to less open (deep). The curvature of the blade directly affects the way the wood is removed and the shape of the hole the tool makes in the wood. 

The next trait to pay attention to is the length of the blade. There are shorter and longer ones. Since they are more stable, shorter ones are more convenient for beginners.

The tip of the blade is also important and can be wider or narrower. Each of these tips will require a different hand manoeuver from the carver, and will therefore dig hollows differently.

Also, this green woodworking tools spoon knife can have a one-sided or a double cutting edge.

If we are speaking about the handles, these are often overlooked as people focus on the blade when they choose this tool. However, handles can be short and long. And while most of the hook knives today are produced with a rather little handle, this is not so good for hand fatigue. I would recommend finding something around 7 inches long. Also, if you are lefthanded, make sure you buy a hook knife that is adjusted to your left hand.

As you might imagine, this kind of blade needs a special kind of sharpener. Companies that produce hook knives also produce various hook sharpening kits. These sharpeners are specially designed to fit the curved blade and properly hone the cutting edge.

How To Carve With a Spoon Knife?

The general rule is to start with a more shallow blade and then continue with the deeper ones. We strongly press the cutting edge against that part of the hunk which we wish to remove until the desired depth is achieved. It can be quite tiring for the hand wrist at the beginning.

Once it’s all over, as usual, we will finish the project with sandpaper, to remove any visible tool traces and to flatten the surface. Most of the carvers will add some kind of protective oil on the wood, especially when we carve objects meant for practical use such as spoons or bowls. The oil will protect the material from chemical damage.


Whatever you do in wood carving, you can’t really avoid spoon knives. Beginner or professional, a businessman, hobbyist, or an artist, you will have to take it in your hands sooner or later. 

Luckily, they are very useful and practical, but not so expensive. You can find a spoon knife online for around 20 dollars or even less, depending on the brand. As there are many different products and sets, so whichever you decide to take, try to research it a bit before buying. Happy carving!