8 ft Totem Pole

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Project by linjay posted 12-02-2012 07:18 PM 7484 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My 1st totem pole is finally done. The top half was done about 1 year ago. see
I really have no idea how many hours are in this. It’s probably somewhere around 250 I would guess.
This pole was made for my wife and she wanted a deer on it. The deer was a real struggle. I couldn’t find much out there that I liked so it was hard to come up with the vision of what I was trying to accomplish. It took too much time because I had no idea where I was going. The ears helped make it look a bit like a deer.. I don’t like the front legs—the front shoulders are too low. I’‘m still trying to figure out how to add eye brows that might be appropriate.
In contrast, the beaver on the bottom was fairly easy. I had seen some examples that I kind of liked and I had a pretty good vision of what I wanted. I added some material for the nose to give it more depth and I hadn’t ssen any done that way.
My neighbour is a linesman for a power company and brought me a part of a power pole to use for my next attempt. It is western red cedar about 14” diameter on the bottom x ~11 ft. long. It’s very heavy—about 300 lbs. I can lift the smaller end but not the lower. One of the issues of using power poles for carving is that they collect a lot of dirt and dust over time and they can really dull carving tools quickly. My plan is to put is to put it between centers and remove about 3/4” using my router and the biggest diameter cutter I own.

-- It's easy when you know how - but that's the hard part. Ontario, Canada

11 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118334 posts in 5072 days

#1 posted 12-02-2012 07:33 PM

This is a very cool and unique project,a great job. I never would have guessed this was for inside a home.


View IndianJoe's profile


425 posts in 3745 days

#2 posted 12-02-2012 09:53 PM

vary good work nice I have carved a lot of them most just light carving for them that do not have a lot to pay
like I sad good work

-- Nimkee** Joe

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30679 posts in 3833 days

#3 posted 12-02-2012 10:46 PM

Great work. The wife should love it. Can’t imagine that much time on one project.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27824 posts in 4601 days

#4 posted 12-02-2012 10:48 PM

Outta sight!! That is a beautiful totem pole and you can sure be proud of it!!
What is the story it tells?

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4804 days

#5 posted 12-03-2012 01:10 AM

Excellent carving. A piece of art to be proud of.

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 4521 days

#6 posted 12-03-2012 08:29 AM

It sure looks impressive. Great work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View Michael's profile


201 posts in 4493 days

#7 posted 12-03-2012 03:43 PM

Friggin’ awesome!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been wanting to make one for several years just haven’t settled on a design.

-- "A woodworking project is either a masterpiece or a POS" Dr. Lang

View linjay's profile


124 posts in 4119 days

#8 posted 12-03-2012 06:48 PM

I was asked about the story it tells. It doesn’t have much story. The thunderbird is there because a totem pole just has to have a thunderbird on top and the fox, deer and beaver are things we see regularly where we live. On the chest of the thunderbird is a polar bear and lady bug that represent our son and daughter.

-- It's easy when you know how - but that's the hard part. Ontario, Canada

View 3DBMe's profile


134 posts in 5180 days

#9 posted 12-05-2012 07:35 PM

Nice job linjay. Good info and suggestion about using power pole.

View GUR's profile


37 posts in 3879 days

#10 posted 12-14-2012 10:58 PM

Very good work.

View ktabor72's profile


7 posts in 2441 days

#11 posted 10-25-2015 05:17 AM

That is a wonderful piece of work. I hope to someday do another one. I would love to really learn how to do it, they are very cool. Nicely done.

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