Getting Started in Green Wood

Just picked up your first whittling knife and not sure how to get started? We’ve got your back! This evolving collection of online learning materials will give you all you need to get going and continue improving in whittling, spoon carving and the wider world of woodwork...

Read below for our top tips on starting out at home - sourcing material, buying kit and those important first knife grips! And when you’re ready for the next step, our London based courses will help you master the best techniques, avoid bad habits and engage with the spirit and magic at the heart of this wonderful craft.

Check out our Whittling and Spoon Carving workshops.

Barn Profile Pic and spoon2

Quote MarksWhittling is the cornerstone of green woodwork

We see whittling as the perfect first step in woodwork. From the first moment you guide a knife through wood you begin to understand how the material behaves. All woodworking tools can be viewed as some form of knife - Axes, saws, chisels and planes are all edged blades with their own purpose, and when you learn to whittle, you’re already learning how these tools work! There are loads of reasons to love whittling. It’s an ancient folk craft, and as one of the very first ways humans worked with tools, it’s in our blood. But it’s also just fun! Peeling away shavings to make something beautiful is a soothing experience It's also challenging yet immediately accessible. You can become a master spoon carver and never need anything more than a few basic tools and your favourite chair. If you want to learn to work GiftBox_3with wood, there’s no better place to start than carving with a knife. And that journey starts right here!

› Beginner's Whittling Kit  



Your Learning Journey

How to get Started • Basic Tool Kit • Knife Grips • Sourcing Wood • How to Carve a Spoon • Step by Step Tutorials • Knife Sharpening • Membership • Workshops • Green Wood Culture

Learning Journey

Knife Grips - How to Carve

These are the core techniques in whittling & spoon carving. With just these grips there’s almost no limit to what you can make. Be Safe! Pay attention to where the knife is travelling & never carve towards any fingers or thumbs.

Click a knife grip to get a closer look.

Come on one of our Whittling Intro Workshops where Tom will show you the finer points to all of these techniques, in his celebrated ‘calm and encouraging’ teaching style!

Basic Tool Kit

If you want to get whittling, all you really need is a knife and a bit of wood. But a few key additions will open up all manner of possibilities. Here’s our run-down of the ultimate beginner’s kit list…

  • Straight Knife

  • Axe

  • Axe Block

  • Spoon Knife

  • Saw

  • Sharpening Kit

› Tool Buying Guide

Sourcing Wood

Finding your own wood is part of the fun. Don’t just go wondering off into the woods & lopping off branches though! Here’s our guide on what to look for and where to get it.

› How to source wood for carving and axe blocks

Join the Guild

Our physical membership lets you fully immerse yourself in the craft.

London Member’s Workshop Gatherings

   Wood and tools supplied

   Learn directly from Barn the Spoon

✓   Step by step projects

   Spoon design tutorials

   Techniques explained

   Finer points of sharpening

   Build your own kit

£39 per month

Watch this space... Full online membership coming soon!

The Dance of The Axe and The Knife

For a bit of inspiration here’s Barn the Spoon, Green Wood Guild founding member and course tutor of our Spoon Carving Workshops, doing what he does best!

Step by Step Tutorials

Introductory Workshops

Intro Day
Intro Day


An introductory day consisting of 2 satisfying projects – that together cover a range of essential skills in traditional woodwork.

This is perfect for those that would like to try their hand at everything, or want to lay a solid groundwork for the more in-depth workshops they’ve got their eye on.


Wood Turning Intro –

Covering the basics of turning on a treadle lathe. Starting with a log, you will prepare your billet by splitting it out  using axe, froe and mallet, shaping it on a shavehorse using a drawknife, before turning it on the lathe to make a traditional potato masher. This workshop will immerse you into a time honored craft, as you learn the rhythm of the lathe and how to use 3 types of chisels and gouges effectively. This introductory class is a great way to get a taste for treadle lathe work.


Making a Chopping Board – 

A perfect introduction to the use of traditional hand planes, used in almost any joinery or furniture making project. This workshop will teach you the elusive art of taking a rough surface and planing it perfectly smooth and flat, as you make a simple, beautiful chopping board for your kitchen.

You’ll learn the use of 3 varieties of hand plane, some important theory and a brief introduction into Framesaws and knife carving techniques.


If classes have to be cancelled due to Covid-19, we will get you booked on a suitable date as soon as possible.

Otherwise, all course bookings are non refundable, and class dates cannot be transferred once booked.


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