Behind the Making of the Spoon Shaper™
For the Love of Wood
Cam Brensinger started NEMO Equipment on April 24, 2002 when he was a senior in the Industrial Design program at Rhode Island School of Design. In fact, just three days after graduation, he moved into an old mill space in Nashua, New Hampshire, and started making tents. He carried with him a love for carving that he discovered within the beautiful woodshops at RISD — for the smell and feel of wood, the tools, and the process of discovery that comes with refining a piece of wood and revealing its full character.
When approaching our 15th anniversary — a milestone we only dreamed we’d reach in our early days — there was a lot of reflection on the journey that brought us here. There are so many people and adventures, but one constant element across the years that made us uniquely NEMO: the deep satisfaction of making things. This, combined with Cam’s love for carving, was the inspiration for The Spoon Shaper™.
A Passion Project
Cam personally designed The Spoon Shaper™, focusing on keeping it small and portable so it can be easily taken with you on adventures. Carving is the perfect activity for sitting around the campfire — it’s quiet and peaceful, meditative and doesn’t get in the way of conversation — and this kit, with its waxed canvas tool roll is designed to be stowed with your adventure gear.
But he didn’t stop there: he personally made each bamboo and leather polishing strop in his woodshop and branded them with his initials and a dragonfly—as a tribute to these remarkable insects.
Friday Afternoon at NEMO
Call it an excuse to party, but Friday afternoon found us together as a team with some good tunes, some cold beverages, and lots of love and energy for these Spoon Shapers that represent so much hard work and appreciation. It was all hands on deck, with our entire team of engineers, designers, testers, marketers and even the finance guy coming together to assemble these kits for you.
The Challenge of Carving
And here is our hope for you: that you plan your next adventure and bring this kit along. And that you experience flow, as Cam describes it:
“First you must choose the piece of wood wisely, respecting its hardness, greenness, and grain structure, and any unique features it might have. Once you begin, you build a relationship with it: you study the grain for bit, make few moves, and study again.
As you progress through the project, you gradually achieve a flow, a subconscious awareness of the structure of the wood that guides your movements. The strokes with the knife become fluid and unthinking as you begin to know the piece of wood. And as it takes shape, the design becomes a reflection of both your will and its will.”
Some spoons Cam has carved.
This Isn’t About Perfect Spoons
It’s not about perfect shavings and making the exact object you had in mind from the start; the real pleasure comes from the respect you earn for the wood itself.
Happy carving, friends! Please share your masterpieces with us using #spoonshaper.