Indian in the Burl

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Project by Josh Carte posted 04-03-2014 03:18 PM 2165 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I carved this Indian into a piece of Big Leaf Maple Burl. There was a round, spiny mass in the wood where his face is now. It just seemed to me that a face belonged in that part of the wood. I have learned that a whole lot of what I do is all about placement. I can make a highly-detailed, complicated carving and end up not liking it because it isn’t as one with the wood :)

I love working with burls because they have their own unique shape and character. Burls are formed on trees due to some form of stress to the tree, normally an agrobacteria. The resulting burl is a work of art in itself. These Big Leaf Maple Burls are unique, even to burls, in that they often have spiny projections protruding from them- I just love that effect. I carved off most of the projections on this piece when I made the face, but there are still a few small spots at the the top.

This fella’ appears to have been around for a spell. This “Indian in the Burl” is a stern and solemn leader. I carved him using rotary hand tools (very similar to dentist’s tools) and painted him using acrylics.

Wood is good :)


15 comments so far

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 4245 days

#1 posted 04-03-2014 03:25 PM

Wow, great work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View hunter71's profile


3558 posts in 4406 days

#2 posted 04-03-2014 03:44 PM

Great. Your work inspires me to want to try to carve.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 2830 days

#3 posted 04-03-2014 04:42 PM

wow, that is so cool, it looks life-like, great work

-- steve, simple and effective

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30638 posts in 3558 days

#4 posted 04-03-2014 05:00 PM

Very nice work

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View PaulDoug's profile


2610 posts in 2923 days

#5 posted 04-03-2014 05:02 PM

Absolutely awesome! The one of you holding the burl looks like he is about to say, “put me down!” Great work. What brand rotary tool do you have. I’ve been wanting to upgrade from my e-bay bought Dremel, looking at the Foredom for a long time but just haven’t been able to justify it. I have no real talent, but do like to play at it.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4814 days

#6 posted 04-03-2014 06:19 PM

WOW your work always stops me in my tracks simply amazing

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View flintbone's profile


213 posts in 4376 days

#7 posted 04-03-2014 11:38 PM

Good job. He looks like he means what he says.
Keep up the good work.

-- If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. - Albert Einstein

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5438 days

#8 posted 04-04-2014 03:29 AM

That is so life-like it’s scary! Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View grace123's profile


258 posts in 3982 days

#9 posted 04-04-2014 04:27 AM

The eyes appear to be totally real. Great job.

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3044 days

#10 posted 04-04-2014 10:53 AM

Another great looking carving with lots of character in the face…Excellent carving.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View ohwoodeye's profile


2680 posts in 4373 days

#11 posted 04-04-2014 01:15 PM

Amazing work.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View Josh Carte's profile

Josh Carte

590 posts in 2900 days

#12 posted 04-04-2014 10:20 PM

Thanks everyone :) I really appreciate all of your positive feedback :) PaulDoug, I use a Foredom. I had a hard time justifying the price before I owned it, too- now it seems cheap for such a great tool.


View Ivan's profile


16967 posts in 4087 days

#13 posted 04-05-2014 06:49 AM

So authentic character!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View DocSavage45's profile


9068 posts in 4062 days

#14 posted 04-05-2014 03:45 PM


Been busy. Late to your party. You have a unique talent. You are one with the wood!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View mbs's profile


1712 posts in 4160 days

#15 posted 04-06-2014 01:00 PM

I admire people with imagination and skill like you have.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

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