Sunday, March 1, 2020


I have found that it is a good idea to use all of the Basswood that you order.  This has become a challenge for me to do.  It is a fun challenge.  About once a month I sort through my scrap bucket, and select out some smaller pieces to whittle.  I then look at the small pieces , and think what can I whittle.  I have developed some criteria for the whittlings that the scrape wood must meet.  The first criteria is that the finished piece must be small enough to fit on the scrap wood.  Next, it must be able to be whittled, with only a knife, and it must be completed within the limits of my attention span.  My attention span is short!  Most of these small items get done with a fifteen minute span.  And finally, NO paint and no sand paper.  The finished piece must be merely dipped in wood conditioner then stain, and polyurethane to finish it.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Dolphin Pendent

When living in Florida, especially on the beach, one must get with the program.  For a whittler, this means all things from the sea.  Dolphins are sighted multiple time a day just off the beach.  They are either feeding or if you're lucky you can see them "playing".  To the tourist, the trip is not complete until you see the Dolphins.

Since I truly believe that it is better to give than receive, I decided to come up with a fast and relatively easy whittling of the Dolphin.  This was achieved by eliminating any "curved" edges on the Dolphin pattern.  I merely flattened the curves.  This flattening created "flat planes" on the edges of the pattern.

After drawing the Dolphin and making a pattern, I traced the pattern onto 3/8 " Basswood and cut the blanks.

The first knife cuts are shallow stop cuts at the base of the Dolphins Dorsal fin.  After making these stop cuts, use the knife to thin the Dorsal fin on both sides of the blank.  Remove about 1/3rd of the wood from each side of the Dorsal fin.

Next, use the knife to thin the Dolphins tail.

Use your knife to slightly taper the Dolphins head  to the nose (both sides),  Start to remove some of this wood from in from of the Flippers, and continue to the nose.

The following photo has the edge of the blank marked where the flat edges come together.  At each of these marks make a shallow stop cut (both sides of the blank).

This next step is where the "Simplified Flat Plane" style is achieved.  Starting anywhere on the edge use the knife to remove a sliver of wood from the edge, between the stop cuts.  Try to have each sliver or wood removed about the same width.  Also try to remove the slivers so that the planes created are clean where they meet.

Next, flatten the edges of the Dolphins flippers and dorsal fin.

In the above photo you'll notice that the Dolphins flippers have been split.

I seldom paint anymore.  I use a three dip method of finishing the piece.  The first dip is in PRE-STAIN.  After shaking the excess off, dip the piece in stain, and set aside to dry.  After the stain is dry dip the piece into lacquer and let dry.  If you're too cheap to buy beer , do this in a closed non ventilated room.

Here is one that is completed and fitted for either an ornament or a necklace.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Easy and fun sea turtle

I am discovering more and more about life at the beach in Florida; my new home.  I purchased a typical "old Florida" house on the Panhandle.  By "old Florida" I mean up on eight foot pilings, one floor plan, screened porch across the front, open deck across the back.  I am a couple hundred feet from the water.

  One of the first things I had to learn about were the sea turtles, and their nesting on the beaches.  During turtle nesting and hatching season, life on the beach is all about the turtles and protecting them.  There are organized turtle patrols that monitor the whole cycle of nesting and hatching.  It's a real experience, and for me a learning experience.

 My circle of old as well as new friends know that I like to whittle, so some approached me and asked if I could whittle a sea turtle.  Those of you who are more familiar with me and whittling, know that I whittle every day while at breakfast, and I have for years.  One of the fun parts of my routine is whittling where I eat breakfast.  At my new home, my breakfast is taken at THE TRADIN POST on Cape San Blas.  Thus, I spend about an hour and a half whittling with some friends at the TRADIN POST, every day.

Here's a couple finished sea turtles.  These are merely stained instead of painted.  I have a suspicion that I'll be whittling a lot of them.  So I wanted to be able to complete them in the shortest time.  I already have been asked for about ten.

I started by locating a  photo of the sea turtle that I wanted to whittle.

It is rather difficult and time consuming to carve directly from a photo, so I like to simplify the subject (turtle) by making a sketch from which the pattern will be made.  It is at this point that I will consider how I will whittle the turtle with my knife.  I will stay away from tight arcs and curves as much as possible.
 Transfer the pattern onto a 1/2 inch thick piece of Basswood.

Use coping, scroll, or a band saw to cut out the turtle blank.

Draw the pattern of the shell.  Rather than attempt to paint the sea turtle we'll wood burn instead.  Wood burn the pattern on the shell before any shaping of the shell is done.  It is a lot easier to wood burn on a flat surface rather than a curved one.
 Use your knife to round over the top edge of the shell.

Add the shell pattern that was removed when rounding the shell.  Add another burn line that represents the bottom of the turtles shell.

Knock the edges of the flippers down a bit with the knife.  Dip the piece into stain prep then light brown stain.  Let dry then Polyurethane.
Add a magnet to the back or a pin back or eye hook.  A great way to get rid of some scrap wood.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Halloween and Thanksgiving Pins

With Fall nearly here, it's time to start thinking about some carved pins for gifting.  The Pin that come to mind is a PUMPKIN.  The pumpkin can stand alone as a pumpkin for Thanksgiving and/or add some features and it is a Jack-O-Lantern for Halloween.

Just a plain Pumpkin!

The plain Pumpkin blank with a handle to provide more to hold onto when carving.

Round over the edges of the Pumpkin blank.  I leave the detail pumpkin segment lines drawn on and I make sure that the Pumpkin is rounded, with no flat spots when the segment lines are carved away.

Carve the segments . Here is the Bonus part of this little project.  Cut the handle off and carve a skull out of it.
Paint and add a pin back and you have a nice little gift for someone.  This one was turned into a friendly Jack-O-Lantern.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is coming!  It may be four months away, but it is coming.  Any whittler worth her or his salt will be starting on some Christmas items.  For me it's ornaments or pins.

 When I start getting a wee bit bored, I like to shake it up some. 

Maybe this year I've shaken it up a bit too much, but it sure is fun.  I already have some folks in mind to gift one of these "off beat" Santa pins to.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

BACK And Posting!

It has been four months since I've posted, and I apologize.  In one of my last posts I mentioned that I was dealing with some changes in my life.  What I did not realize was how extensive this can be.  In one day several things happened that I thought I handled.  My wife of 56 years was diagnosed with a form of fast progressing dementia and the same day I rolled and totaled a new vehicle.  I refused transport to the hospital because I thought I was OK.  One week later at the gym an ER doctor friend took one look at me and said "You don't look good, what happened"?  I told her and she she said "What did the ER say"?  I said,"I am fine".  She said no you're not, you eyes tell me your might have had more than just a bump on the head.  She said I still should see a doctor, that there are all sorts of delayed responses to a head injury.  The doctor said a most prevalent response is memory issues.

To make this a shorter story, it seems that I actually forgot about this blog.  I don't mean that I just kept putting off posting.  It happened just like my doctor friend explained.  The Blog was gone from my memory, and then yesterday while clearing some copy from my computer I found it - just like that.  I wonder how many other things I have forgotten and have yet to find.  Maybe there is a winning lottery ticket with my name on it!

The one piece of information that can be learned is to have yourself checked out if you are in a accident, understand that all injuries are not completely physical and obvious.

But I am back, and it feels like I never left.

I am completing another book for Fox Chapel Publishing, which will be released this fall or winter.  The main trust of the book will focus on the newer woodcarver, or more specific whittler.  The book will use the flat plane style of carving to introduce the newer carver to whittling.  The book will simplify the flat plane carving style to three basic knife cuts.  The main thrust of the book will focus on knife technique.  Projects will be presented step-by-step that will result in a completed piece that will provide the reader an early whittling success.

Here's an example of the SIMPLIFIED FLAT PLANE style.

Thank for hanging in there!

Tom Hindes

Saturday, April 20, 2019


I have been in my new house for 6 weeks now.  When I moved in all I had was a pocket knife, strop, scroll saw, and some Basswood scrapes.  I had several changes of clothes.  The house came furnished.  When I say furnished I mean everything.  I need to get back to Ohio and bring some more stuff.  When I say stuff I mean tools, paint, supplies.  I am getting settled in.  However, not spending as much time whittling as I want to.  The very nature of what I like to whittle means that a lot of it is given away as soon as it gets done.  Here is about the extent of what I still have....

I will get some more done soon.

Monday, April 1, 2019

New Whittling from the Beach

Finally settled, at least to the point of whittling.  Most of my tools and stuff is still in OHIO, but my scroll saw came down with me.  The hurricane took out everything from under the house, up to about 7 foot from the floor.  The house is on 8 to 9 foot piling so the house was basically OK.  After connecting some piling with walls to form a work area I set about to build a solid bench for the scroll saw.  I used salvaged wood from several houses that did not fare so well.  This saw table must weigh several hundred pounds and is very stable.

After deciding what to carve/whittle I cut some blanks from some Basswood  that I brought with me.
Here's what I whittled, and made into pendents, and a shelve sitter.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Getting Settled & Ready To Whittle!

These are the first pieces whittled since I relocated to the Florida Panhandle.

Here's a photo of my new carving/whittling "studio".
This is the front porch, which one can hear the surf from.

I am getting settled, but lots of things that I need are at my house in Ohio.

I will start posting some more whittling projects.

Thanks for checking the blog..

Tom H