I’ve mentioned a time or two the greenwoodworking group on Facebook. It took a few days to get adjusted to the barrage of spoons and other woodcrafts on my newsfeed, but my brain quickly started making connections between certain craftspeople and the work that they produced. One name that kept popping up repeatedly alongside gorgeously sculpted eating spoons was Derek Sanderson. I soon found myself looking at my own spoons, and I realized that they seemed quite dull and lifeless in comparison to his.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the same movement in the side profile that Derek has so clearly perfected. One can only learn so much from a picture, so I decided to order one of his spoons to see where the magic was. It arrived a couple of weeks later, and I was not disappointed. This little cherry spoon is a miniature sculpture, every little detail well-conceived and well-executed. It is, without question, The Best Spoon I’ve Ever Seen.
Let me lay out my argument. First, consider the top profile – very fluid and shapely, though it’s also the easiest part to get right. What’s not as easy to get right is the depth and shape of the bowl, but he nails this as well. It’s quite shallow but very comfortable, like a lollipop. I like how the heartwood/sapwood contrast splits the spoon in half – a very nicely chosen material.
The side profile is really what makes this spoon stand out. It is so active and organic – almost as if the neck is under tension. The lower curve nicely mimics the upper curve, though less dramatically. And look how cleanly the neck was shaved – since the grain reverses direction here, this is the toughest part of a spoon to cut cleanly. There isn’t a single raised fiber here, and this is completely knife-cut. No scraping or sanding.
The curve of the back is lovely and lightly faceted. The curve of the handle mimics the curve of the bowl, which makes it very comfortable to hold. It also makes the opposite ends of the spoon seem cohesive. I’m not sure how to say what I’m thinking, other than both ends “match” one another – they are variations on one shape. I’ve always used strong facets and straight lines on the back of my handles, but I realize now that it is just not as comfortable. I’m going to start trying some curved backs now.
There is even a little bit of flourish at the tip of the spoon – a bit of chip-carving just adds some individuality. Also notice the very subtle chamfers on the sides. Those flow uninterrupted around the whole spoon.
One final parting shot: compare Derek’s spoon, at top, to one of my spoons, below. I was very happy with my spoon until I looked at it alongside a superior example!
If I had but one criticism about this spoon, I would say that the bowl is just a tad wide. It’s fine for me, but I have a big mouth. I doubt the spoon would be as comfortable for my wife. That hasn’t been a problem, because I’m greedy and I’ve been keeping the spoon at my office to eat my oatmeal every morning. My family is stuck with my good-but-just-not-as-good eating spoons, I’m afraid.
I’m not connected with Derek in any way, other than as a satisfied customer. If you’d like to own one of these, you’ll have to get in touch with him on Facebook or on Instagram – I don’t believe he has a website (at least not that I could find).