An Interview with Tim Cooper

NOVEMBER 1, 2017

Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been carving spoons and how did you first get interested in it?

I’ve been carving for about 15 years now. When I started, I was going through a hard time in my life and came to the conclusion that if ” we all just got back to basics, we’d all be better off “. So, I became interested in how people made things before power tools and happened upon Drew Langsner books (Country Woodcraft and Green Woodworking), which lead me to Willie Sundquist’s book ‘Swedish Carving Techniques‘ and Jogge Sundquist video. I have since realized that there is more wrong with the human race than whether their tools have power or not. However, I still carve spoons with knifes and enjoy all types of hand work. There is such simple pleasure in hand work. Also, I find joy of seeing a raw branch’s inner beauty revealed.

What are a few of your favorite spoon carving tools?

My favorite tools have to be my Del Stubbs Sloyd with a wonderful Persimmon handle which has such a sweet weight to it and my Hans Karlson Hooks which I have sharpened sweetly and their profile is so versatile it works really well for the way I work.

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

Wille Sunqvist and his book ‘Swedish Carving Techniques‘ birthed my passion to make beautiful, functional object in wood, Del Stubbs who always enlightened me with his knowledge of tools and design, Tom Dengler and Fred Livesay who are both excellent spoon carvers and whom have been such an encouragement to me.

Any tips for new spoon carvers based on what you have learned?

Yes, strop often. Strop during a carving session and strop when putting your tools away, strop, strop, strop. Keeping your tools sharp is paramount for good carving. Also, if possible find someone that you can learn from first hand (a class, a gathering, etc). I’ve taught myself many things from books and videos and that works in time, but nothing beats first hand tutoring. Also, have that teacher/friend teach you how to sharpen. It’s so important to know how to keep your tools sharp. It was such a struggle for me over the years, I hope it wouldn’t have to be for you.