How to get (A)head Carving

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Project by stefang posted 01-24-2015 06:40 PM 3149 views 1 time favorited 43 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is my first detailed carved head. He looks a little mad at me for the way he looks. I can’t really blame him. I did learn a lot of things from creating him, but like my last carving, too late for this guy to benefit. He started out as a caricature and wound up with no humor, and no character whatsoever, nor is he doing anything interesting aside from racking down on my work. Too bad, he will just have to live with it!

I am just starting to learn some anatomy. My son sent me some drawing tutorial books on the net and I have been trying to learn a little so as not to embarrass myself again. I thought it would be nice to have this carving in my gallery so I can keep track of my progress.

During the summer I have to sit on the terrace out in the garden with my wife to get some sun. I do get pretty bored just sitting there getting cooked and twiddling my thumbs, so the thought is that I might just as well enjoy myself while I’m at it by doing a little carving.

Thanks for a having a look and I hope a laugh too!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

43 comments so far

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

517 posts in 3582 days

#1 posted 01-24-2015 06:53 PM

Great post Mike, yea, I got a laugh out of it. Carving faces is not as easy as anyone would think. I’ve learned that the eyes are the most difficult and the sockets need to go pretty deep. Looks like the guy still has plenty of room for improvement.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View doubleDD's profile


10712 posts in 3290 days

#2 posted 01-24-2015 06:59 PM

I think if you put a beard on him be could pass as your twin. Only he has more hair. Nice work. Sounds like a good idea to relax in the sun enjoying what you do best.
Just curious as to how many hours would be involved in something like this.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View peteg's profile


4438 posts in 4070 days

#3 posted 01-24-2015 07:03 PM

Great starting point Mike, I think faces would be very hard to get right you have built some real character into this old guy, well done keep em coming

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4588 days

#4 posted 01-24-2015 07:06 PM

great work there mike
your learning curve is amazing

i can understand his reluctance to having someone
carving his face with a knife
it’s not the same as shaving i bet

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3665 days

#5 posted 01-24-2015 07:24 PM

Mike, I think it is a pretty nice carving. I agree with double DD if you look at your posted head shot and the carving he looks a bit like you! Some inner deep meaning or just a coincidence? Perhaps DocSvaga/Thomas can offer a professional opinion.

I think the face has lots of character and expression.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Steven Davis's profile

Steven Davis

116 posts in 4161 days

#6 posted 01-24-2015 07:37 PM

Try paper mache or clay or other low cost sculpture techniques to get a fast feel for what you want to carve.

-- Steven Davis - see me at

View Schwieb's profile


1921 posts in 4708 days

#7 posted 01-24-2015 08:00 PM

Mike, You’re so modest. I think it’s pretty remarkable. I couldn’t even imagine how to begin.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4832 days

#8 posted 01-24-2015 08:35 PM

Well done!He’s looking more and more handsome by the morphined minute LOL .Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Dutchy's profile


4194 posts in 3415 days

#9 posted 01-24-2015 09:29 PM

I find it exceptional that you in so,n short time already make this kind of carving. Well done.


View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3914 days

#10 posted 01-24-2015 10:07 PM

I thought right off that he reminded me of Richard Nixon in a way but no matter you did a fine job on this guy .
Sounds like you have found something that you enjoy a lot and I am sure it will lead to more good carvings .

Stay well and have lot’s of fun .


-- Kiefer

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4550 days

#11 posted 01-24-2015 10:10 PM

i applaud your efforts here mike, i think you did a great job , you’re teaching yourself and doing a great job, i think by the time summer ends again, you will have advanced to a good level…thanks for sharing this with us…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2876 days

#12 posted 01-24-2015 10:14 PM

NO FAIR !!! How many skills can one guy master. :(

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4581 days

#13 posted 01-24-2015 10:23 PM

Thanks for your comments guys. No, it’s not me, I’m a lot better looking (in spite of what my wife thinks). I hope the next one will be a lot better and perhaps even amusing. Carving like this is very therapeutical. Somewhat like basket weaving, but more fun because you get to cut yourself with some really sharp knives.

I bought a carving glove for my left hand and then I cut myself (superficially) 3 times on my right thumb. That was done with my new sløyd knife, not while actually making a cut, but by being a little careless. I have to get used to that longer blade compared with my chip carving knife which I use the most. I actually bought 2 carving gloves. 3 fingers and the thumb will be cut off the right hand glove to make thumb protectors as soon as my wife gets around to stitching where they will be cut off. these gloves are are rubberized on the palm side. I hope she gets them done before I run out of bandaids.

The jury is still out on the painting. I have a lot to learn there too. I can’t help feeling the pain of coloring wood, but these figures do look better when they are painted properly. I’m not there yet, so just don’t hold your breath while waiting to see it done better!

Jim Yes, I thought I had the eyes far enough back while carving, but it is obvious that they are not nearly sunken in as much as they should be. He looks quite bug eyed. His proportions are also way out of whack even though I did try to it right. Now that I’m armed with the drawing books I hope the next figure will be more anatomically correct. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

Dave Quite a few hours, 6 to 8 by my reckoning. I really don’t keep track, as I just do it whenever I have a little spare time to get out to the shop. We’ve been busy this week with home improvement stuff and other shopping (post Christmas sales).

Alistair I can understand where morphine would definitely make this one look better. Shall I give it to the carving or take it myself?

John Just change the word ‘master’ to ‘mangle’ for a better description of my woodworking exploits!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4051 days

#14 posted 01-25-2015 12:07 AM

This is awesome Mike! I’d hang that in your shop by a window. He can keep watch. He does look like you, ya know

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8299 posts in 4600 days

#15 posted 01-25-2015 12:19 AM

Great carving Mike. Like Klaus says it reminds me of Richard Nixon a little. And if you do keep him in the shop you better give him a pair of safety glasses!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

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