I've been carving some walnut again, trying to make spoons. It's my first time using a hook knife:
Since the blade is on one side of the hook only, there are different knives for right-handed and left-handed people. I find the hardest part is starting the scoop. Once I have a bit of a hollow, it's easy to catch the edges and make it bigger.
I make my spoon blanks with a bandsaw, then I shape them with the two different knives, and then sand them with progressively finer grit sandpaper. I spoke to someone who said, 'that's cheating!' when I told him I used a bandsaw. It's an interesting question. What, exactly, counts as 'cheating' when making an object? I use the bandsaw to save my thumbs (walnut is very hard, and causes blisters...), to save time, and to save the blade of my knife. Having a well-made blank makes the carving process much easier, so I consider the work on the bandsaw to be an integral part of the making process.
If I routed out the spoons with a CNC router, would that be cheating? I think not, because in this case using the CNC would require more skill and knowledge than carving by hand. It would be more complicated, too, because it would mean routing out one side, creating a brace to hold the unfinished spoon upside down, and then routing out the second side. So I'm not sure I agree with the implicit idea that using power tools or digital tools is 'cheating'.