One day, I can’t remember what I was thinking but I looked up the word “spoon” in the dictionary —– that great library-sized Webster’s, a common $8.00 flea market item these days. Down there in the section of obscure meanings, along with the fishing lure and the golf club, was the offered synonym “splinter.” I said “no way!” but there had to be some source. Well..…I have friends in academia, so I put one of them on it. It took him a while, but the gist of his report was as follows:

From “spoon” we go back to the early English, four letters of course, “spon” and from there into earlier German (remember English is not a wholly Romantic language) “span” which meant, 1000+ years ago, “split of wood.”

Having split out about a million of them (you have to split out a lot of spoons to find a few worth carving), and actually shaved out close to forty thousand, I’m here to tell you that the right split of the right wood fits the hand better than anything and flexes something like spring steel.