Carving

The clubs post was appreciated, so here are a few more things I’ve carved at various times, mostly as gifts.

Below, some Christmas ornaments (Santas or wood spirits, I guess) from the same unidentified shrub as the spiked club. Each is maybe 2 or 3 inches long. The “hats” are just the bark left as it was. I think the one with the nose might have been from a maple branch, and gave me the idea for some other ornaments I made the following year.

I did a few different types of ornaments. This year I went a little more extreme with the noses, using branching bits, and I decided to use some fiber for the hair rather than paint. If I do this again I’ll save some milkweed fuzz to use instead so they’re all-natural.

This was the most crooked nose of them. so I kept it for my tree.

As you can see the bark is still a bit green in spots; I cut this from my Japanese maple in the fall and it didn’t have time to finish drying out completely. Time will tell if the ornaments will crack as they continue to cure, but I think they’ll be OK.

Here’s the other one I kept.

I also made a bunch of snowmen, and also snowman heads in long hats. I gave all of them away except for one snowman head; unfortunately he spent a year in a houseplant’s pot and some of the paint has peeled off from getting wet, despite the coat of polyurethane I’d sealed it with. I was pretty happy with how the landscape on his hat came out.

The nose is the end of a toothpick, whittled down a bit (the whole ornament is maybe three inches long). The snowmen were made from thick pieces of branch, carved into three rough globes with a top hat; the carrot nose (a bit of toothpick), arms (tiny twigs) and a yarn scarf added after painting.

A bigger project was a Mother’s day gift (my Mom really loves ravens and crows):

The base is just a slice of a log; the heart and crow are carved from some 2 x 6 lumber I happened to have laying around. I don’t remember how I stained the heart; it might just have been some watered down red paint. I cheated and used a saw to cut the rough shapes, and did a lot of filing and sanding. My carving knife is more suited to softer woods, like the shrub or stuff like basswood. I can’t claim the idea is original; I saw a photo of a similar, more stylized piece in a newspaper add for a local gallery.

This is a gnome I carved out of a block of basswood:

It took a long time mainly because I didn’t do a very good job of sketching him out first. I could have saved a lot of effort with a saw or chisel if I had. He’s maybe seven inches tall, including the hat.

This is a woodpecker toy I made for my Mom for Christmas a few years ago.  The bird (a downy woodpecker, which is one of the two species of woodpecker I know of in Ohio) is carved from basswood. If you tap the lever it pecks the stump. The bird is about six inches long, I think.

I made a similar one for my sister’s birthday the following year, and a bunch of mini woodpeckers as ornaments to give as gifts.

They work too — the little twigs are levers to make them peck the trunk. The smallest woodpecker is a little under an inch long.

It should go without saying I am completely self-taught. Anyone can carve wood. You just need a sharp knife, which you’ll find yourself strapping a lot to maintain the edge. I was given a very nice one real carvers use; I’ve tried using some of the junk they sell at craft stores and you’re better off with one or two good tools than a set of crap. Just remember to cut away from yourself and keep an eye on the grain of the wood and you should be OK.

I got the plans for the woodpecker toy in old a book on making wooden toys, and the gnome design was based on a plan I saw in another book, both from my local public library.

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Published in: on January 20, 2018 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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