Hillbilly Forge Spoon Tools
Review: Linda Nathan, Wood Review Editor
Sharp out of the box is every tool lover’s preference and these handcrafted spoon and whittling tools from Hillbilly Forge don’t disappoint. Opening the kit, the urge to immediately grab a piece of wood and test them was irresistible, so I did!
Wicked would be a fitting description for the two knives with blades that are relatively short for their genre, one very short. The tip of a blade is best for tight curves and tricky grain. With very narrow bodies these have more of that pointy part, that fine tip which offers less resistance for fine and accurate work. If you’re looking for more a brute whittling tool with length these knives won’t suit that need.
Spoon tools with only one sharp edge suit me better because I can control the pressure and direction with my thumb. Small, medium and large, these fit the bill and yes they were sharp too.
All the metal in this kit is bright and shiny, 12C27 with 416 stainless steel bolsters. I like that. The handles are eye-catching in red mallee burl, a nice touch for the native wood connoisseur. The addition of bright orange G10 liners gives the effect of racing stripes. The look is not subtle but these are not shy tools.
With nice curves, the handles are very smooth and comfortable even for a fairly small hand like mine. I did wonder about the stubby ends but they do mean you can stand the tools on end if you so desire.
All that remained was the test of time. How long would those edges stay sharp for? Time to carve a spoon, or three in this case. Silky oak, blackwood and a ridiculously hard scrap of lacewood were the test species. Fairly frequent honing on a paddle strop with jewellers rouge was all it took to keep those edges going for all three.
For a longer edge test you’ll have to try the bespoke tools made by Jason Gwillam for yourself. To order one email firstname.lastname@example.org and see also his Instagram page.