I’m so happy to share an interview with Thomas Søe.
Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Thomas Søe, and I live outside Copenhagen in Denmark, with my wife Stine, and our two kids Vigga (8) and Vera (4). I am 40 years old and work as a carpenter on a three-year experimental archeology project. The project is about Viking land infrastructure and involves building a 100 meters long Viking bridge using authentic tools of that age. I have always loved spending time in nature, whether it’s canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and camping. I have a deep interest in old crafts, woodcraft, and bushcraft and am lucky to be able to combine this with my work.
How long have you been carving and how did you first get interested in it?
I have been carving for many years but more in the line of bushcraft. I carved my first spoon 10 years ago and loved it and have been making spoons ever since. Most of my friends and family have several cooking spoons I have made over the years. Spoon carving is always something I enjoy between other wooden projects.
What are a few of your favorite spoon carving tools?
There are so many great tools on the market now, but the ones I keep returning to are my Nic Westerman spoon knives, homemade sloyd knives and a carving axe from my friend Hans Peter Knudsen (Landvirke), a Danish blacksmith.
Any suggestions of books or websites to learn about spoon carving or woodwork?
When I started, it was easier to get information through books, but now it’s so easy on YouTube, Facebook groups and Instagram, there is are a lot of talented people out there to follow. It’s a good idea to take a spoon carving course because it’s social and you get to different techniques from other people.
Are there any particular spoon carvers who inspire you in your work?
How have your spoon carving techniques changed over time?
A lot has changed, mostly my focus on perfection, the perfect lines of facets. I have thrown out a lot of spoons with minor flaws because I was never satisfied with the result. Now I like the small imperfections and think it actually makes the spoon more special. Sometimes the accidental cuts are what makes the spoon. My carving techniques have improved a lot over the years, but there is still so much to learn.
What are your thoughts on popular decorative techniques like milk paint, kolrosing, or chip carving?
I can appreciate the skills that go into it, but it doesn’t interest me much. I paint some of my spoons and do a little chip carving, but I like the simple spoons most and haven’t got the patience for too much decoration.
What do craft, sloyd, or wood culture mean to you?
It’s difficult to explain. Woodcarving makes me feel like I’m connected to nature and to my roots. I love the calm of my thoughts when I carve, how time just passes by. I love the feeling of achievement when finishing wooden projects, but mostly, I just want to be in the process and the frame of mind that comes with it.
If you had to pick a few songs to listen to while carving, what would they be?
It varies whether I listen to music while carving. I like the sounds of the axe, drawknife, and knife. I find it tho be quite relaxing. When I am in a production mode it’s nice to have music to set the pace. Most of the time, I listen to indie or folk music.
Lastly, why do you carve spoons?
I love the process and being fully emerged in what I am doing. Spoon carving and green woodworking give me great joy and a sense of achievement. I feel rejuvenated mentally every time I have spent time carving.
Thanks Thomas! You can follow him and inquire about purchasing his spoons on Instagram at @handmade_thomassoee.
As I have said previously, my goals with this website are to learn more about spoon carving and connect with the great community of spoon carvers out there. I welcome carvers to contact me if you would like to be interviewed to share your thoughts on the craft of spoon carving.