Why learn to carve a spoon?
Updated: Aug 10, 2020
This is a question that I'm frequently asked when I'm demonstrating skills, or have a display of Bushcraft projects I've completed. It usually goes hand in hand with a few others; "why don't you just carry a spork", "How's that going to help you in a survival situation" and similar other questions. I don't hold it against people when they ask these questions because usually they've not really thought it through before asking.
Carving a spoon obviously has a useful outcome, in that it creates a practical object which you can use to stir your coffee or eat your stew, but there are many more benefits to this activity. Carving a spoon is not easy and it involves learning a wide variety of techniques with the saw, axe and knife. The skills you learn whilst carving a spoon can be directly transferred to other tasks which might have more obvious wilderness and survival necessity: carving a replacement tent peg or canoe paddle, making a bow and set of arrows, carving a trap for catching wild game, repairing broken equipment etc.
It's less about the 'spoon' than about the skills and abilities you develop because of doing the activity. Anyone can buy a spork, but not everyone possess the skills to use tools to craft and repair a wide variety of items from natural materials. Oh, and by the way, if you think you can leave it until you're in an emergency situation to develop these skills, or just make it up as you go along, you might find things don't go as you hope they will. You'll probably end up needing to use your first aid kit too!
Lastly, carving a spoon is a Bushcraft activity and NOT a survival activity. Confused? Don't be. Bushcraft and Survival training aren't the same thing, they share some tasks (fire lighting, shelter building, navigation, water purification etc) but they have very different fundamental purposes. Read my other blog post "Bushcraft & Survival, What's the Difference" to find out more.