Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"Lift off - beginner class

Second day of a beginner class (two 3 hour sessions) completed successfully - No Blood!
This second session focused on face carving.  The 5 Minute Wizard steps were modified into a Santa pin or ornament.  The class focused on using only the knife to whittle the face.

In the following photo the Santa on the table was the second one whittled....by this class member.

I was impressed!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Beginner class - successful start!

I think that a successful start to any beginner class begins with a project that uses only a knife.  And that the first exercise uses but a few knife cuts.  The stop cut, push cut, and the pull cut.  The first project must be fun to do, not real difficult, but still challenging for the beginner.  It should also have a great chance of being completed during the first hour and a half of instruction.

I choose this small dog, whittled in simplified flat plane style.

The class of beginners were very successful, as this example clearly shows.  The colored example on the left was shown as an example of the finished project.  The example on the right is one of the beginner results.

I present this beginner stylized flat plane learning exercise in a step - by - step sequence.

This next photo is a second learning exercise, done in the same style and step sequence as the first little dog.

These two examples have proven quite successful as a way to introduce beginners to whittling.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Some Patterns!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

HINT, For Improvement and Renewing Interest In Whittling Santa!

Whenever I get into a rut or find that my whittled Santa's are looking all the same I go to a piece of paper and draw.  And in this case I sketch Santa's.  I try to draw all kinds of Santa faces.  This exercise helps me to try to whittle more and different Santa faces.  All it takes is a pencil and paper...

Keep on making drawings until you get one you like, and would like to carve.  Then make additional sketches of the selected drawing.  Make these additional sketches as much a like as the  one selected.  These additional sketches are important to "lock" the drawing process and image into your memory.

I have found these exercise helpful.  I hope you do too.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Painting Within The Lines!

Painting your carving can make or break its appearance.  It is so easy to ruin a decent carving with a not so decent paint job.
There are lots of tips and techniques that can help ensure a good paint on a carving.  For many of us that are older and have poorer eye sight coupled with hands that are not too steady painting can be a problem.  When you carve a smaller item the problem becomes worse.  

Here's a TIP when carving items that have a hat, like Snowmen.

I find it increasingly more difficult to paint the hat (black) without having the black get into the white of the snowman's head.

This example of my poor painting is only good if the snowman has black hair sticking out from under his hat.

There's two ways to prevent this problem, which is the result of shaky hands and poor eye sight.

First, if the piece is already carved, you can carefully cut the hat from the head with the scroll saw.  Paint the hat and the snowman's head separately; and glue the hat back in place.

Or you can carve the hat and snowman separately, then when painted, glue them together.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Don't Scrap Scraps

All carving wood costs money.  Don't waste it.  I have two scrap boxes beside my saws.  I consider only scraps to be wood that cannot be carved.

Here's some pieces that some would consider scraps and then dispose of.  not me....Think small whittling.  Small means many things to many people.  I like to keep some whittling blanks in my pocket with my pocket knife.  I'll whittle just about anywhere.

Here's an example of sketches of small possibilities.   These pieces will be magnets and/or pins - all are small.

Use carbon paper and transfer the sketches onto one of the scraps.Cut the piece out on the scroll saw and label it Pattern or just "P".

I choose a skull...and traced the skull onto a 3/8th inch thick piece of "scrap".

Used  the scroll saw to cut out the skull blank.

I will use only my pocket knife, but will wear a thumb guard on the thumb of the knife holding hand.

Start the whittling by employing paring cuts to shape the lower part of the skull.  Notice how I am holding the piece that I am cutting.  I have it firmly clamped between the thumb and forefinger of my non knife holding left hand.  Experienced whittlers have this thumb and forefinger strength.

Here;s the lower part of the skull shaped.

Next, use the paring cuts to shape the top of the skull.

Notice that there are four (4) areas on the skull that have received special attention.  1) the eye areas have been left with flat spots with the eye sockets are.  2) the top of the skull has been shaped to leave a small ridge at the top of the eye areas.  3) the nostril/nose area has a 3-cornered chip removed. 4)the mouth area has some cuts to illustrate teeth.

Here's the skull with the eye sockets shaped.  There are several ways to shape these eye sockets.  You could use a knife, a gouge, or as I have done.  I elected to use power since I need about 50 of them.

Use a cutter in a rotary tool to shape the eye sockets if you want!

Paint the skull white, and the eye sockets black.

Add a pin back or a magnet to the back.

My 50 will be put to good use for the Halloween season.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Presentation for Shows/Sales An Example!

I have found it always best to spend some time with thinking about how you "present" carvings at shows and sales.  In a previous post I featured a project of small skulls.

This whittling project will result in lots of these small skulls.  Each small skull will have either a pin back or a tie tack back adhered,  They will probably be priced at $1.00 or $2.00 each.

I could have several of the skulls on my table ready for sale, then replenish them as they sell. 

 Or I could present the skulls a bit differently.

Lots of different ways of item presentation.  I like the skull pins/magnets in a small coffin, where folks can select one from many.

There is usually lots of folks at carving shows, and the idea is to get the folks to stop and look at your pieces; and hopefully make a purchase.   I  think the coffin display will be more effective than a pin or too on the table,,,,

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Some kids do not like scary stuff.  And Frankenstein can be scary.
So why not a non scary Frankenstein.....

Started out grabbing some scrapes and going from there.  Basswood, 3/8 x 3/8 by 1 inch long.  The nose is a round headed quilters pin, and then small tacks in the sides of the neck.

This small piece has a tie tack back adhered to it.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


I am always on the lookout for quick and easy items to whittle.  These items need to be carried in my pockets and ready to whittle no matter when or where I might be.
Halloween is in October, and I always like to have some small items to give or to sell.  For some reason, skulls seem to be liked.  

Here's a small SKULL PIN, or MAGNET
 that's easy and fast to do.

The following photos are a step-by-step sequence to start and to complete the small skull pin or magnet.

Step 1-  Make some sketches.

STEP 2-  Transfer a sketch to wood and cut out the pattern.  Here I have selected two sketches for patterns and whittling.

Step 3_  Trace the patterns onto 3/8 inch Basswood, and cut the blanks out.  Trace and cut out lots of blanks.

STEP 4-  Use you knife to round over the edges.

STEP 5-  I used the drill to shape the eye sockets, and the knife to shape the teeth.  The skulls in the following photo were darkened so you could see that I left the knife marks prior to adding the finish.  To lazy to sand!  I dipped the skulls in maple stain, then clear polyurethane. 

Here's an example of sanded skulls.  I like the unsanded.

Step 6-  Add a tie tack or a pin back to the skull.  You could also add a magnet.

I whittled 8 of these with my morning coffee.  Of course I had to promise some for the waitresses at the diner... 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Past Projects 2

Continuing photos of past projects, some of which have been posted in the past.