I have never had the pleasure of carving holly until a few days ago. After trying to fight a spoon out of Bradford Pear and using my last bit of Hickory on a failed attempt, I was in dire straits for sure. I was on my walk a few days ago when I saw a holly that had the top partially snapped out of it. I guess it was storm damage, there were others standing right beside it that were fine though, so hard to say. The tree was broken almost in half with the top of it laying on the ground. What caught my eye was the fact that the branches were still green, they had leaves on them. Perfect for what I needed! A few minutes later I had the top laying on the ground, a few branches cut off of it, and 15 feet of usable spoon wood! I threw it up on my shoulder and hiked out of the woods with my new prize. Leaned it up against a tree at the bottom of my yard, and resumed my walk. We have a holly tree on the border between my house and my neighbors. Here is a shot of it from my back deck.
I have been worried about holly, because when I was a kid, my parents always told me never to eat the berries from a holly tree. I was worried that the wood was toxic or could make people sick. Obviously you can't make spoons out of something that is going to cause health problems when they are used. Through my research I found a good deal of information regarding the toxicity of the holly. In summary, eating the berries and leaves could leave you with an upset stomach, but the wood is food safe and is perfectly fine for spoons. Cool, now let's get to carving!