Carousel Horse

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Project by shouldwood posted 02-04-2011 05:25 PM 4314 views 2 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally finished this challenge in 2010. Had the whole year to do it being laid off from custom cabinet/furniture shop since December 2009. Didn’t have good excuse to run from my fears of completing the horse. Comparing to initial photos the face/head needed complete revamping. Nostrils too large; mouth/teeth were not consistent with original pattern; eyes facing sideways rather than forward; lack of knowledge of a horse’s anatomy, etc.

Put the horse in room where I slept, forcing me to see it each morning and studying why it didn’t look right. Researched classic carousel carvings more closely to determine why theirs worked. Am pleased with final results. In retrospect, can’t believe I attempted to take on such a large, difficult task as a first carving project. Too many problems to solve when not truly understanding an actual horse’s/carousel horse’s anatomy and trying to overcome the learning curve of carving a 3D object at the same time. Have learned a lot, however. Attempted to glaze it to give appearance of an antique.

As far as what to do with it, I have no idea. Still sitting in my bedroom collecting dust. Wish I knew of a way to advertise my skills; not necessarily in wood carving, but general woodworking. Not competent or experienced enough to make a profit on carving. Pondered if a bank with large windows in front would like to display it for a period, drawing attention to their business and hopefully mine too. Any recommendations from you all would be appreciated. Thank you.

26 comments so far

View Rob W's profile

Rob W

434 posts in 4506 days

#1 posted 02-04-2011 05:36 PM

It looks awesome. Great job!

-- Rob — I've cut it off twice and it's still too short!,

View shouldwood's profile


42 posts in 5128 days

#2 posted 02-04-2011 05:53 PM

Thank you. Looked at your gallery. I appreciate the comment coming from a nice portfolio such as yours. How did you do that Strat? Did you cut out all parts or use existing strat, modified? Looks great.

View gbrown4's profile


116 posts in 3663 days

#3 posted 02-04-2011 06:34 PM

Beautiful. Exellent work.

-- Greg, Concordia, Mo

View Pop's profile


433 posts in 4916 days

#4 posted 02-04-2011 06:34 PM

HI shouldwood, there’s a fellow in Chattanooga, TN named Bud Ellis. He has a book ”Carousel Animal Carving” that is the best book on the subject I’ve run into. It has both patterns & techniques for both horses and menagerie animals. It’s published by Sterling Publishing – ISBN 0-8069-0305-8.

Don’t know, you may already have it, but if you’re going to continue to play with carving carousel animals you may want to get a copy.

Your horse looks great.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2843 posts in 4562 days

#5 posted 02-04-2011 06:53 PM

Excellent Job! So have you found a new job yet?

-- Dennis Zongker

View McLeanVA's profile


493 posts in 4404 days

#6 posted 02-04-2011 07:08 PM

Holy cow that is awesome. I can’t even begin to image how difficult and complex that was to create. It was also great to read about how much you obsessed over the details. Really shows your passion for getting things right.

When you mentioned not knowing how/where to market this, I immediately thought of I know a few LJs who have sold their pieces there. May be worth a look as it reaches a fairly broad audience. Undoubtedly there is a collector out there who would pounce on this beauty.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View Bogdanovich's profile


120 posts in 3734 days

#7 posted 02-04-2011 08:19 PM

Work of Art, I just hope to make something like that some day.

-- My English and my woodworking are matching skills.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4256 days

#8 posted 02-04-2011 09:04 PM

Incredible work. I have wanted to do a carved rocking horse for my grandaughter, but can’t seem to find the time.

Thanks for sharing with us, maybe it will help my motivation.


View shouldwood's profile


42 posts in 5128 days

#9 posted 02-04-2011 09:56 PM

Thank you guys. All of you. I appreciate your compliments. For you, Pop, excellent source. That is the book I initially purchased and used the pattern in that book for this carousel. Long journey. But finally achieved it.

Funny to hear comments about this horse. Has been just sitting around the house completed for several months and has become “old hat” to the two people seeing it regularly.

McLeanVA, have not heard of Will check it out to see what it holds. Thank you for your compliments and suggestion.

Thanks for compliment Dennis Zongker. Have not found a job yet. Still a beach bum. There may be one in the works, however. In the first interview the owner looked at resume and said, “how old are you anyway?” I said, “fifty-five, but healthy as a forty-five year old.” Didn’t humor him much. Never called back like he said so thought this past Wednesday I would go there to show him that older aged employees are not all negative to an employer. With age comes experience, patience and other cliches’.

Got second interview with second owner, grilled me hard with more specific questions as to how I would handle this or do that. Said he would suggest to other owner to hire me as opposed to younger, less experienced man. We will see. Now feeling a bit nervous; insecurities setting in. Should do okay.

To Kent Sheperd, thanks for comment. You stated that the goal is “more tools”. One can easily purchase rough lumber, have planed at local shop for reasonable price, glue it up yourself. Was surprised how few tools were really needed for this project. Rightfully so, to carve, there is a minimum handful of tools necessary to achieve good results. It seems that the majority of this horse was done by hand, using a couple small sets of carving tools.

Thank you Bogdanovich. I appreciate your compliment. ”...the horns….” Are you referring to the horses ears? Do they look like horns? If so, no need to cut them off. My four-year-old grandson knocked horse off stand eight months ago, broke off and destroyed one ear, and broke rear leg completely off at the joint.

Initiall reinforced that joint with 1/2” dowel, but guess it couldn’t handle impact. So this time I drilled loooong 3/8” diameter hole from elbow joint down through hoof, cut long piece of all-thread rod same diameter, coated it with two part epoxy, rammed it into hole, tightened nuts to draw joint tight and let it dry. Then filled exposed holes with (my friend) car bondo.

gbrown4 Thanks for compliment.

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 4415 days

#10 posted 02-04-2011 10:56 PM

Fantastic craftsmanship. Very well done.

View shouldwood's profile


42 posts in 5128 days

#11 posted 02-04-2011 11:18 PM

Thank you Lou. Greatly appreciated. You certainly have extremely impressive gifts of art on your projects list as well. Would love to master the lathe to that point. No tool intimidates me more than the skew. Horrible, horrible tool configuration. Created to destroy a man and grind him into the ground. I grip it as tight until white knuckles but it catches and ruins every piece I attempt to turn. Horrible, horrible tool. :)

View kalapolo's profile


63 posts in 3659 days

#12 posted 02-05-2011 12:34 AM

That is one beautiful horse! How tall is it?

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 4744 days

#13 posted 02-05-2011 01:21 AM

Good looking horse. Very nicely done. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3596 posts in 4682 days

#14 posted 02-05-2011 04:40 AM

That’s an incredible carving! Even more incredible that it’s your first. Thanks for sharing.


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Mike's profile


409 posts in 3657 days

#15 posted 02-05-2011 06:36 AM


not to sound like to much of a smart ass, but I think you really solve your own problem. If you send that photo to some newspapers as part of an ad, I think your going to need to build a new door next since so many people will be banging on it.

Just an idea,


-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

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