Spoon-Playing, the beginning:

In the beginning...

Notes, sharps, flats, bar chords, etc. none of these things are needed or even required. There's a long history
of music, but somewhere in that large mess, spoon-playing was invented in the early to late 1800's and early
1900's. Before drums and guitars were available for cajun music, a pair of spoons were commonly used to help
keep time to the music. Most spoons are pre-set. In that their ends are tied together, for easier playing. Most
spoons are held together by string, wood blocks, or various other things. This is done to prevent them from
slipping from wet hands. A master of spoon-playing is capable of playing off most parts of his/her body. Most
commonly played in one's hand or on one's knee, the spoons are one of the few instruments capable of being
played in many other positions. Any type of spoon can be used as long as one simple rule is followed: use a
pair. Spoons can also give different rythm and melody sounds according to their playing position. For beginners,
it is best if teaspoons are used.

For all the uninitiated, spoon-playing is a form of music that is done by using a pair of spoons. There are also
different positions to play the spoons in. Any kind of spoons can be used as long as they're a pair, and they
aren't the only thing that can be used for spoon-playing, knives and forks can be used as well.

For beginners, long metal teaspoons are recommended. These spoons are easy to play and give a steady basic
rhythm. I remember when I first started playing; I had a pair of teaspoons that I used. I would sit up all night and
play to the music I had on my tape player. These spoons were light and quiet. When I advanced, I began playing
wooden spoons. These spoons were a beautiful yellow-brown color and had been sanded and polished. They were
sold a year later, when I made a new set. (Picture of Metal Spoons and 3rd set of Wooden Spoons made of Cedar.)


Current Set of Spoons: Set #5 of 6
Red Cedar Spoons side view   Red Cedar spoons top view
*Pictures taken in 2001


Choosing your spoons:

Wood spoons are loud: Play them in large groups.
Metal spoons are moderate: Play them in small to moderate crowds.
Clappers, Almost spoons but don't be confused: Clappers aren't spoons and don't sound like them either.

Wood spoons are for big hands: Big hands play big spoons easier
Metal spoons are for smaller hands: Easier for the smaller handed people.
Clappers: ... I won't discuss those here, because I'm not a clapper player, and I don't know.

Wood spoons are for intermediate players and advanced players.
Metal Spoons are for beginner to intermediate players.
Clappers are for any type of player.


How to Carve a set of Spoons:

You know how to play the spoons, but want a pair of wooden ones. There are three basic steps for quickly making
a set. Carving out the pattern, carving (or drilling) out the spoon heads, and sanding the handles should be the
order the spoons are completed in. Be sure that it is done this way to ensure that you don't accidentally break them.

The basic pattern should look some-what like a spoon. This rough shape should be cut out before the space between
the spoons is cut. This space, between the spoons, should not exceed 1/8 inch. Now that you have a rough cut, you
can now commence to carve down the inside of the spoon head. (If you are drilling the spoon heads, they should be
done first. This method of carving the spoon heads easier, and can be further carved out during the later stage. Only
carve the spoon heads at this stage if you are hand carving with a chisel or knife.) The spoon head should slope
downward and into a cinter point relative to the sides.

After this is completed, begin carving the handles. The basic shape should be ovular in shape and should about 1/2
to 3/4 in. some-what evenly thickness. Light rounding. (If sanding with a belt sander, use low speed, so that you can
examine the amount that is sanded off. Fast speeds take off too much wood and leave the handles too thin.) When
this is done, test the playability of the spoons. If they are too thick, sand them down more. Once you get the sound
you want, spray spoons with acrylic sealant or other type of sealant to protect the wood. From block, to spoons, to a
playable instrument that is light-weight and easy to carry around. Have spoons, will travel.