First Carving

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Project by A Slice of Wood Workshop posted 08-08-2011 09:40 PM 1767 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
First Carving
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Well I figured it’s about time that I start exploring other “fields” of woodworking. I had recieved a carving set a year ago, went and bought some basswood, and then it all just sat. I decided to bring it to work today to practice my carving technique. Here it is!!!! It will be a sign to hang in my sons room. Of course I have to sand it and finish it, but everyone knows what finish looks like, I’m just excited that the main part is finished. Any thought, tips, suggestion are much appreciated.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

8 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3378 days

#1 posted 08-08-2011 10:35 PM

As a beginning carver with a little bit of experience, the best advice that I can give is don’t procrastinate – pick up your tools and carve, and carve, and carve some more. Don’t let it get you down if a carving doesn’t work out. Think, think, and think some more. What did I do wrong on this carving? What do I like about it and what don’t I like about it? When I do this or a similar carving again how can I improve it? Learn to sharpen your tools correctly. If a tool is not cutting right stop and sharpen it or pick another tool. Sometimes learning to sharpen tools correctly can be frustrating. Make up your mind that you are going to learn how to sharpen your tools correctly come hell or high water. Get some good books – all of the main beginner books. Read them and look at the pictures. It’s good to listen to different people with different opinions. In those books you will learn a lot about carvings just by studying the pictures. Get you some good books with lots of patterns in them. It helps to look at a picture of a carving and just imagine yourself carving it. How would you go about it? What would you do first, and second, and so forth? Think about the different levels in the carving. Can you see all of the different levels and depths? Go to some classes, watch some videos over and over again. Join a carving club if there is one in your town. Go to the meetings and get buddy buddy with the old timers or those that are best. Ask them all kinds of questions. There’s probably a whole list of other things that I’m leaving out. Do you like to draw? Would you like to learn? There is much evidence that if you can draw well it will help you carve well. It will help you visualize the different levels and curves that are in a carving. If you really want to get good you may need to eat, drink, and sleep carving for a while to a certain extent. However, it goes back to the beginning, pick up your tools and carve, and carve, and carve some more. There is no substitute for just plain old hard work and practice.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3529 days

#2 posted 08-08-2011 10:55 PM

helluvawreck gave you some wonderful tips and that in my opinion is enough for now. Like he said carve, carve and carve some more. You will eventually come to like a particular type or kind of carving, for me it was Santas. You can do no wrong with them as everyone’s visual picture of Santa is different and most of them are timeless. Good luck and happy carving. Keep your tools sharp. If you see a “scratch” in your wood after a pass with a tool that means there is a nick in the tool and time to sharpen. Check my blog on my tool sharpener if you want to know a good tool to have.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4609 days

#3 posted 08-08-2011 11:00 PM

Good advise above. I will second the sharpening recommendation. Important to get that worked out.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3655 days

#4 posted 08-08-2011 11:00 PM

Great job – your son will love it.

When I was very young my dad carved my name out of wood, and painted each letter a bright colour. I no longer have my dad, but I still have and cherish that carving. And somehow I managed to hang on to it through 20+ moves in less than 30 years.

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3748 days

#5 posted 08-08-2011 11:42 PM

Great job on your first carving. Keep up the good work. Looks like you’ve got some great advice. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your carving projects.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1097 posts in 3685 days

#6 posted 08-09-2011 01:18 PM

Thanks everyone for the comments and the tips. Maybe I’ll go out and pick up a book soon on carving.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View snowdog's profile


1167 posts in 4494 days

#7 posted 08-09-2011 01:36 PM

helluvawreck has it right. Great carving, but remember to enjoy the journey and not just the end product. The more carvings you leave behind the more you will be remembered :)

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 3593 days

#8 posted 08-09-2011 06:10 PM

My philosophy is that most of my work is practice. In this case, it seems to me the goal was achieved. As far as lettering goes, in this case, why not just cut out the letters (somehow) and glue them down (to save the aggravation of trying to smoothe the lowest surface)? I think that sanding and finishing from where the project is now may take you more time than it would take by starting anew and cutting the letters out—and you might like the result better. You could consider laying out the letters on an arc for instance.

I’m enjoying learning about carving too (I started a fish). Enjoy!


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