An Interview with Patrik Bäck


Tell us a little about yourself:

I’m 34 years old, and I live in Gothenburg, Sweden, with my to lovely daughters and our, not always so lovely, dog 😉 For the last 15 or so years, I’ve been working in different pet shops and animals and nature have always been a big part of my life.

How long have you been carving and how did you first get interested in it?

I have been carving for about 3,5 years now. I first started carving because I needed baby spoons for my oldest daughter, and I figured I could make better spoon my self than the plastic ones I could find in stores.

What are a few of your favorite spoon carving tools?

Mora 106 and my spoon knife from Svante Djärv. The 106 is a really cheap, yet excellent, carving knife. The Svante Djärv spoon knife is a bit more expensive, but I feel that a quality spoon knife is worth every penny for spoon carving. I would love to have an excellent carving axe, but my budget is just too tight for now. I’ll have to make do with my 9 euro axe from the hardware store.

Any suggestions of books or websites to learn about spoon carving or woodwork?

I really haven’t any suggestions for books, I’m afraid. A bit embarrassing, but I haven’t read any on carving or slöjd yet. I love using youtube, though! Plenty of “how-to” and “DIY” videos on just about anything. Including carving and slöjd.

Are there any particular spoon carvers who inspire you in your work?

I bought my first wooden spoon from Dave Cockcroft. A pocket spoon made from sloe. I still use that spoon almost daily. Absolutely love it, and it always makes me want to carve when I look at it. Dave also has a really nice and instructive Instagram and Youtube channel under the username Dave The Bodger. There are plenty of others out there, but since Dave was my first real inspiration, I think I’ll leave it there.

How have your spoon carving techniques changed over time?

I’m not sure, to be honest. I think the changes have been so gradual I really can’t put my finger on it. One thing I do know is I don’t cut myself as often as I used to, haha. I also don’t use sandpaper to the same degree as I did in the beginning. I’m still very much a newbie and have so much more left to learn.

What are your thoughts on popular decorative techniques like milk paint, kolrosing, or chip carving?

These are a few of the things I have left to learn, I’m afraid. Done well, I think it looks great! Especially on plain-looking woods like birch. But I do love the grain and colours of fruitwoods, and it is what I tend to use when possible. And it’s simply too pretty to cover up. Probably one of the reasons I still haven’t tried panting any spoons.

What do craft, sloyd, or wood culture mean to you?

This is a tough one. As a schoolboy, I was terrible at woodshop (träslöjd in Swedish), and I’m not sure I finished a single item. I think this made me shun away from everything related to woodworking for years. The first time I made something as an adult, I was hooked. It was so much fun making something I wanted from scratch! Today working with wood is a way for me to relax and feel good about myself and my own capability. Knowing you don’t have to visit the hardware store when your axehandle breaks is a great feeling!

If you had to pick a few songs to listen to while carving, what would they be?

Something calm and mellow, I think. Probably some Beatles, maybe ‘Blackbird,’ ‘Samson’ by Regina Spektor, and a Millencolin song called ‘The Ballad.’

Lastly, why do you carve spoons?

Spoons are challenging, beautiful, and useful. They are also small enough to store away with ease, even when you carved quite a few more than you really need

Thanks Patrik!