Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How to Utilize Pinterest as a WoodWorker

Getting Started

Sign up for an account at  It's free and is a great resource for a vast array of concepts for your shop.  You can sign up directly through Pinterest, or through your Facebook or Twitter account.

Once registered and set up on Pinterest, you will notice pictures posted on your page.  These are "Pins" posted by others on their accounts.  If you see something you like, click the little red thumbtack on the picture.  Pinterest will then ask you which of your boards you will like to post it to.  If you don't see a board that fits your selection, make a new board.

Start With the Basics

Start with a few basic ideas of what you would like.  I started with various categories, such a techniques, things I would like to build, personal items I have made, and even inspirational ideas.  As you find your boards getting bigger, you can later separate them out into more specific topics.

For instance, I started with a single board called "Must Build" and eventually broke it into separate categories for the kitchen, garden, and workbenches.  Eventually, my kitchen board blossomed into wooden spoons, bowls, cutting boards, salt and pepper shakers, and wine stoppers.  I also keep a board for clocks for inspirational purposes.  I've never made a clock, but would like to keep a collection of ideas before I pull that trigger one day.

A few of the boards on my own Pinterest page.

Make your wish list

Click on pictures or ideas that pique your interest.  They do not have to be things exactly tied to anything you plan on directly doing, but things that inspire you to create.

If the pin is not woodworking related, you may feel a slight hesitation.  Shake it off and click away, we all have other interests besides woodworking.  In addition to my woodworking boards, I also have boards for gardening, grilling, and blacksmithing, among other topics.

One of my favorite things to pin is shop made tools.  Before the industrial revolution, many woodworkers made their own hand tools, and there is a wealth of information on making your own quality hand tools.  I hope one day to dedicate a few posts to just such a topic.

Follow Boards, Not People

One of the great things about Pinterest is that you can follow other posts similar to the ones you like.  When you find a few links you like, follow these boards to get noticed of new links added to it.

However, I do not recommend following your friends or people at all in general if you are only looking for woodworking ideas.  Just because someone posts some really good woodworking pictures, I double check to make sure they do not also have boards for cats, kids, or weddings.  Not that I have anything against these three things, but they are the last posts I want popping up in my feed when I log into Pinterest.

Instead I decide to follow people's individual boards.  By following boards I can keep the junk on my feed to a minimum.

Be Wary of What Pops Up
You cannot escape sponsors, and Pinterest is no exception.
Someone needs to pay the bills for all the free services.

So by now, you have a pretty good idea of the things I like to pin.  Sometimes my main page comes up with some off the wall suggestions.  These are the pins companies pay to have show up in your feed.  You'll notice the words "Promoted By" next to a company's name.  The biggest one I see on mine is Dollar Shave Club, but sometimes I see some bigger names pop up.  What puzzles me when I see some of these pins is when they seem to have nothing at all to do with the rest pins in my feed.

Sometimes you will find pins in your feed that have awesome ideas.  Before saving them, I sometimes click on the link to see what the actual web page looks like.  There can be a lot of dead links out there.  No worries, the pictures themselves can still be a great inspiration for your work.

Because most of my pins involve woodworking, every so often I will see a pin showing "Over 10,000 woodworking plans!"  Sounds like a great idea, but many of these are scams out there to take your money and give you a bunch of ill-conceived or otherwise free plans available on the internet.  There is plenty of free plans out there, and if you do decide to purchase some, as I have in the past, be sure they are being sold be credible sources.  

Get Back in the Shop

Now that you have perused all kinds of great ideas, get back in the shop.  Just like its nice to browse all day at a bookstore without reading, you may find yourself adding all kinds of great Pins without putting any plans into action.

I rarely build anything exactly like it is shown on Pinterest, but I also rarely find any woodworking plans I follow to the letter as well.  In many cases I will print out the pictures from Pinterest and staple them to my shop wall.  In the picture below, you can see a lot of turning projects I have posted right above my lathe.

Use Pinterest as a springboard for inspiration and great ideas, but be sure to get back in your shop and put those ideas to use.  Don't forget to create your own board to show off the beautiful work you make in your own shop.

Pinterest is great for ideas, but be sure to get back in your shop to make things happen!

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Many Advantages of Wooden Spoons

Egyptian wooden spoons at the Louvre in Paris.
Wooden spoons have been a staple in the kitchen since there was nothing more than an open fire with a cauldron.  Wood was the most readily available resource to early man for making spoons, and could easily be fashioned into a concave surface with a handle.  Samples of wood spoons have been found from both the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations, proving their use from the advent of advanced civilization.

So how does the modern wooden spoon, after tens of thousands of years later, still find its way into the modern home?  The answer is simple - when cared for properly, wooden spoons still offer many advantages over the competition.

Plastic spoons can melt if left in a pot


Wooden spoons can last a long time is cared for properly. Hand washing between uses, a simple coat of oil now and then, and coating them with a wax product, such as cutting board conditioner will keep your wooden spoons in tip top shape for years to come. Never put them in a dishwasher, as the extreme heat in the drying process of the modern dishwasher will destroy any wooden items, causing them to crack.


The size and shape of wooden spoons are appealing for the long term use of constant stirring or mixing.  The flat handles of most metal spoons do not compare to the much large handles with rounded edges, and may cause quicker fatigue with extended use and operation.

Metal spoons can get hot really fast if left in a pot.

Low Conductors of Heat

Unlike the metal cousins, wooden spoons will not get hot if you leave them in in the pot when you cook. While plastic spoons are also poor conductors of electricity, they can melt when exposed to extreme temperatures either in your pot or when submerged in hot oil.


When we talk about the flexibility of wooden spoons, we are not specifically referring to their ability to bend.  Wooden spoons can be used in cast iron, non-stick cookware, and in other metal pans.  They will not scratch the most popular cookware surfaces, prolonging the life of your pots and pans.

Always be sure to properly care for your wood
spoons.  Wash them regularly, and coat them
with oil and wood conditioner.

Beauty and Aesthetics

The gorgeous beauty of wood lending itself to a warm and inviting atmosphere in the kitchen.  All aesthetics influence our mood and behaviors, and wood is no different.  While it may sound a bit hokey, it definitely true.  The more wood and earth-type textures appeal to your senses, the more you will enjoy cooking when using wooden spoons.


Just like their metal cousins, wooden spoons come in a variety of shapes and sizes - except you can find even more variety with wooden spoons.  Think outside the big box store and their standard low end wooden spoons.  The local spoon carving artisan will have the ability to provide you the perfect size and shape of spoon you are looking for.


An watched pot never boils, but leave it alone unwatched too long and it could boil over. Laying a wooden spoon across the top of the pot will prevent it from boiling over.  The lazy chef in me has tested this theory with great results.

Where to Get a Good Wooden Spoon

Once you hold a highly functional and classy wooden spoon in your hand, you can understand who its the choice of so many professional chefs in their own kitchen.  The next time you visit your local craft show, stop by your local wood worker's booth, and ask about the wooden spoons he or she offers for sale.  Or, send me an email at for a custom made wooden spoon at a fair price.

Spoon carving is a true art, and there are people who dedicate
their whole craft to it.  Pictured above is some tools used to carve
wooden spoons and a few spoons I had in the process of being carved.