Bushcraft is a wonderful art it can be almost infinite in its variety, everyone of us approaches the subject differently. I like to add the emphasis to the craft portion of the name. So for me there is nothing better than finding myself in some quiet spot with a piece of wood and a knife. Carving can become addictive and as we progress we search for the optimum tools. Sometimes we just buy something because it peeks our interest and looks kind of cool.
Running a bushcraft school I need a selection of tools for my students to use. It's a great excuse for getting a new purchase approved by my wife. Some I use daily others see less frequent use.
The spoon tool I find myself returning to the most is my Covert Crafts, Lee Stoffer Scorp.
The Spoon Scorp is a tool that I have been using and developing over the last six years.
This is the most versatile spoon carving tool on the market today. It features a looped blade, hand forged by Nic Westermann, honed by myself and set in an ergonomic faceted hardwood handle. Each tool is supplied honed and ready to carve with a protective wooden box to cover the blade.
Standard - Current batch is handled in Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) with matching blade box.
Deluxe - This limited edition version features a stacked timber handle and laminated blade box with hand braided lime bark cordage peg lanyard. Current models feature a timber combination of Plum, Sycamore and reclaimed Mahogany.
The blade is formed with an internal diameter of 25mm with a shallow sweep back to the tang. The hollow forged inner bevel means that keeping the tool sharp can be achieved relatively easily whilst maintaining the correct bevel angle.
This tool is replaces the need for independent left and right handed spoon knives, all of the spoons I carve are roughed out and finished using a spoon scorp. The blade is set up with a fine cutting edge primarily for working in green wood, finishing cuts can be made after seasoning but roughing out in seasoned hard wood is not advised.
I have had my scorp for a while now I purchased two at the time one for myself and one as a Christmas gift for one of my team. I chose a walnut handle for mine, David's is yew. Both scorps came with a mirror polish and are honed to perfection as you would expect from a Nic Westermann forged blade.
This is a close up of my blade it's approximately 2-3 years old and I have lost count of the number of spoons I have carved with it as well as Kuksa and the odd butter dish. As you can see from the picture the loop offers a range of cutting options for different shape spoon bowls.
I have a bone problem which causes me some degree of discomfort, so the option of changing from a push cut to a pull enables me to carve for longer with less pain. It's also less hassle than repeatedly picking up a left or right handed crook knife.
I have found that the blade's edge retention to be superb it stays proper sharp for much longer than my other spoon tools. Generally only requiring a quick hone on a piece of leather and once again it's ready for use. Occasionally a particularly hard knot on a more seasoned log will put a tiny impefection into the blade. This then leaves a slight groove in the surface of the cut wood.
Always a sign to stop and give the tool a little care. Lee Stoffer does state above that he doesn't recommend the tool for use with seasoned wood.
The handle shape took a little getting used to as I have short chubby fingers. The handle facets are a little sharply defined. I thought this might be uncomfortable to use but in fact they provide a positive grip so the scorp doesn't twist in your hand.
At the time of purchase the scorps did not come with a blade cover, only a little strip of leopard print material. I note now the tool comes with a rather nice wooden blade box.
Ø Quality tool
Ø Good edge retention
Ø Comes properly sharp.
Ø Blade shape allows for diverse cuts.
Ø A little expensive
Ø No longer comes with a choice of handle material.
If you're like me and carve a lot of spoons and you're looking for a tool to delight the senses then this will be for you. If you're on a budget and looking to carve your first few spoons then stick with a trusty Mora. The blade by Nic Westermann is a joy to use it glides almost effortlessly through greenwood and leaves a lovely smooth finish. It cuts through tougher knotty pieces much easier than my Ben Orford tools and holds an edge longer.
In my mind this is the Rolls Royce of Spoon tools. Perfectly engineered and elegant to boot.
Ratings are out of 5, 1 being bad and 5 being the best
Fit for Purpose - 5/5
Versatility - 5/5
Durability - 5/5
Value for money - 4/5
Overall - 5/5
Price from £115
Available from Lee Stoffer at Covert Crafts