Kolrosing grid-based patterns

By | 14th January 2019

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I have been asked a few times how I lay out the patterns such as basketweave on my kolrosed spoons. I still really consider myself a novice at this, but would like to share what I have learned.

This is in no way a general guide to kolrosing. Other people have already done that far better than I ever could, and I’ve linked some resources at the end of this post. There are, of course, other ways of doing this and they may work better for you. This is relatively foolproof and works well for me with my inability to draw anything freehand.

The foundation of my kolrosing is from a short workshop I did with Adam Hawker at Spoonfest in 2017. It’s also the key to laying out a pattern on the spoon (or anything else). Adam carves wonderful spoons, and he is reknowned for his kolrosing. Check out his website for an opportunity to buy his spoons and follow him on Instagram

Adam is generous with his knowledge and has kindly agreed that I can share the method he taught me (and many others on his courses and workshops). My explanation is of how I understand it, though, so anything that doesn’t make sense is down to me.

The basic method is to lay out a grid of squares on the handle. Honestly, this is the trickiest bit.

Adam has a cunning trick to make this bit easier. It is simple, but effective.

To make the tool, you simply need a piece of thickish plastic film like you would get from Easter egg packaging. It needs to be thick enough to not be floppy, but thin enough to be flexible.

Cut a square of the film. It is important that it is done accurately. The size is not important, just that it is a true square. Mine is 8cm square and that seems to be a good size.

Once you have your square, use a ruler/straight edge and the tip of a knife to score a line from one corner to its opposite corner. The line does not need to be deep, just enough to be visible.

Now, on two adjacent sides, mark and score a line corresponding to the width of the squares you are going to use. I use squares of 2.5mm so I score the lines 2.5mm in from the edge.

That is it. You’re done.


Using the thing is much easier to do than to describe. The first step is to line up the diagonal line with the centre line of the object you’re kolrosing. It is enough to just mark the centre towards the top and bottom (on a spoon, near the end of the handle and towards the neck). You would normally draw in a border first, this is quite easily done just using the pencil and using your fingers to act like a depth gauge, running around the edge.

Locate the top corner with the top of the area to be decorated and run a pencil line along both edges. This defines a pair of lines perpendicular to each other that run diagonally across the area to be decorated.

Now line up one of the scratch marks with one of the pencil lines and draw in another line. This should give you a pair of parallel lines, spaced 2.5mm apart (or however you have spaced your lines on your template).

Repeat until you have covered the whole area.

Then repeat in the other direction.

When complete, you should have covered the whole area in a grid of pencil lines.

Now that you have a grid, you can go ahead and create all kinds of patterns. I have included a digitised version of a sheet of patterns that Adam created, plus a pattern I added myself. There’s plenty of room for more, and variations. For information on how to actually do the kolrosing, see the videos and documents in the Resources section below.

Here is the spoon used above, completed


A PDF of patterns that can be created using a simple grid pattern. These can be made more complex by adding dots or finer lines to imply fibres in the basket weave etc. (as in the example above)

A Guide to Kolrosing with Adam Hawker – YouTube video with ZedOutdoors

Ty Thornock is a very respected spoon carver and kolroser and is very generous with sharing his knowledge, to the extent of writing and illustrating an ebook about Kolrosing Spoons, and sharing it freely with the community

Kolrosing Spoons – an illustrated guide by Ty Thornock (A5 pdf ebook)

Kolrosing Spoons – an illustrated guide by Ty Thornock (Half letter pdf ebook)

Adam Hawker – http://www.adamhawker.com/ – information about courses, sign up to his newsletter and web shop

How to carve a Spoon with Adam Hawker – YouTube video with ZedOutdoors

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