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Survival Spoon: Eating Utensils The Wild Way
"The more you carry in your head, the less you carry in your backpack". This is a mantra that I hear again and again in the survival community. I am finding that the folks who embrace this ideal tend to have "the right stuff" when it comes to being at home in the wilderness.

Wood Selection
Finding the proper materials is paramount to success with this project and most others. In this example I used a piece of carved red cedar which is a softwood that burns very easily. Whichever wood you decide to use, be certain that you do not choose a toxic species because you will be burning the material as well as having the finished product in your mouth.

The Chisel Stick
This is simply a stick that I carved on one side to form a chisel point tip. It is perfect for pinning down a hot coal without burning your fingers (see next step).

Hot Coals
Now we need a small fire that is just big enough to produce a bed of hot coals. On the topic of squeezing in dirt time, I used this portable fire pit in my backyard for this demonstration. If some of your projects involve fire, these pits are an excellent way to have a full campfire in residential areas.

Burn The Depression
Once the fire is hot, rake out a glowing coal that is about the size you would like your depression to be in the spoon. Then hold it in place with the "chisel stick", and keep a slow steady stream of air on it. Stop if you get light headed! A hollow reed or bone can greatly increase efficiency when used as a blow tube because it allows you to concentrate the air with pinpoint accuracy.

Burning Complete
Be sure to get all your burning done now because if you apply too much heat later on it will probably cause the wood to crack. You can see in this picture that I have burned a shallow depression and then scraped it out. Sandstone rocks are perfect for scraping away any remaining char on the inside of your spoon.

Carve Away!
Now simply carve the rest of the spoon out around the depression that you have already burned. Start by working the entire piece of wood down to a more manageable shape. It is best to go slow with the carving as one poorly aimed slice could ruin the project.

Getting There!
With the mass of the material now removed, go ahead and begin the fine detailed carving work that will thin the handle and contour around the bowl of the spoon.

The Finished Product
Here is the completed spoon. All it took was a little more carving and some patience. Bacteria love collecting in the porous surfaces like this spoon. The best way to clean it is to place a hot coal in the bowl after every use. Be sure not to let it burn too much as you do not want the spoon to crack. Olive oil or animal tallow will also help to preserve the wood and keep it in usable condition for a lifetime.

  Best always,
Paul Scheiter

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