“I’ve made a lot of mistakes. That’s what the woodfire pile is for. – Jonathan Smyer

I try to think why exactly I got into it so much.

Working with my hands is pretty much the main thing. Taking the tree and finding something functional inside it. If I split it just right, we get a ladle. You cut it, and you’re involved in the process from beginning to end.

Anybody can really do it. All you need is a straight knife, a spoon knife, and an axe. With those three tools I can make a nice spoon.

Jon 2 JUDE Beyond the Glass

They do these things called spoon circles. Everybody will start with a blank, essentially. They’ll carve on it for 5-10 minutes and then pass it. Eventually when you’re done you end up with a spoon that’s been carved by however many people are in the circle. There’s not many people down here that are that interested in it, but it’s something I’d love to do. Get around and carve spoons by the fire.

There are wood shavings on the couch. In my shoes, in my clothes, on the bed. They’re everywhere. Everywhere. You know, I like all the wood though. I was sweeping the patio this morning, and I have to admit, it looks a little magical.


I have so many. It’s hard to let them go, but there’s no sense in hanging onto them. They’re meant to serve a purpose, not just hang on the wall.

Form and function go together. Obviously we all know what a spoon looks like, so there’s that form in your mind. But you can put your own spin on it.

There are definite parallels between woodworking and beer. People throw the word artist, artisanal around but really beermaking is craft. You’re making something for people to consume. To use. It’s more craft than art, I think, because people are using it instead of just looking at it.

Jon 3 JUDE Beyond the Glass

The grain of the wood provides strength. That’s why you follow the grain, so it doesn’t break. You can see through them sometimes, and so that’s a clear sign that you should be done.

But I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Taken it down too far with the axe. Sometimes, you need to fail. If not, you aren’t trying hard enough. That’s what the woodfire pile is for.

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