by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Hand-carved wooden spoons and such are by far superior to those that have been machined and the reason for this is that in hand-carving the wood is split with the grain and worked with the grain while in machining the saw is at work, which means the grain is being cut any which way.
Some folks, no doubt, would say that I would say that being a carver of wooden utensils and such, and a forester to boot, but the truth remains that hand-carved, worked with the natural flow of the wood, is by far better and stronger than machined.
While it is true that cracks can also develop in hand-carved utensils this is far less the case than is with machined, in the end, and thus paying a little extra for handmade surely adds up. It also gives an income to local producers crafting products from locally (so at least it should be) grown and sourced materials.
Hand-carved, however, does not have a consistent look and thus, basically, each and every item is unique, and will differ in looks one from the other, but will last a great deal longer than any machined one.
In fact there are still hand-carved spoons and other treen goods about today that are perfectly serviceable that were made a century or more ago. I doubt that the same could be said for those that have been machined.
Let us look, per example, at a wooden spatula. One that has been produced simply by use of a band saw will not have the strength that one that has been split from a log and carved will have.
Splitting with the grain and then working the spatula (we shall keep with this example for the moment) with hatchet, draw-knife and such, ensures that the grain, mostly, stays intact and thus the utensil retains the full strength of the wood.
If you look at most cheap wooden spatulas and other wooden utensils you, more than likely, will find that the grain is not necessarily running straight, and that means that, if the grain goes, say, diagonally it could break.
It is true that hand-carved utensils are more expensive, quite a bit more expensive often, compared to factory produced ones, nowadays more often than not in faraway China, but each and every one is unique and crafted with care and made to, hopefully, last a lifetime.