Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Don't Scrap Scraps

All carving wood costs money.  Don't waste it.  I have two scrap boxes beside my saws.  I consider only scraps to be wood that cannot be carved.

Here's some pieces that some would consider scraps and then dispose of.  not me....Think small whittling.  Small means many things to many people.  I like to keep some whittling blanks in my pocket with my pocket knife.  I'll whittle just about anywhere.

Here's an example of sketches of small possibilities.   These pieces will be magnets and/or pins - all are small.

Use carbon paper and transfer the sketches onto one of the scraps.Cut the piece out on the scroll saw and label it Pattern or just "P".

I choose a skull...and traced the skull onto a 3/8th inch thick piece of "scrap".

Used  the scroll saw to cut out the skull blank.

I will use only my pocket knife, but will wear a thumb guard on the thumb of the knife holding hand.

Start the whittling by employing paring cuts to shape the lower part of the skull.  Notice how I am holding the piece that I am cutting.  I have it firmly clamped between the thumb and forefinger of my non knife holding left hand.  Experienced whittlers have this thumb and forefinger strength.

Here;s the lower part of the skull shaped.

Next, use the paring cuts to shape the top of the skull.

Notice that there are four (4) areas on the skull that have received special attention.  1) the eye areas have been left with flat spots with the eye sockets are.  2) the top of the skull has been shaped to leave a small ridge at the top of the eye areas.  3) the nostril/nose area has a 3-cornered chip removed. 4)the mouth area has some cuts to illustrate teeth.

Here's the skull with the eye sockets shaped.  There are several ways to shape these eye sockets.  You could use a knife, a gouge, or as I have done.  I elected to use power since I need about 50 of them.

Use a cutter in a rotary tool to shape the eye sockets if you want!

Paint the skull white, and the eye sockets black.

Add a pin back or a magnet to the back.

My 50 will be put to good use for the Halloween season.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Presentation for Shows/Sales An Example!

I have found it always best to spend some time with thinking about how you "present" carvings at shows and sales.  In a previous post I featured a project of small skulls.

This whittling project will result in lots of these small skulls.  Each small skull will have either a pin back or a tie tack back adhered,  They will probably be priced at $1.00 or $2.00 each.

I could have several of the skulls on my table ready for sale, then replenish them as they sell. 

 Or I could present the skulls a bit differently.

Lots of different ways of item presentation.  I like the skull pins/magnets in a small coffin, where folks can select one from many.

There is usually lots of folks at carving shows, and the idea is to get the folks to stop and look at your pieces; and hopefully make a purchase.   I  think the coffin display will be more effective than a pin or too on the table,,,,

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Some kids do not like scary stuff.  And Frankenstein can be scary.
So why not a non scary Frankenstein.....

Started out grabbing some scrapes and going from there.  Basswood, 3/8 x 3/8 by 1 inch long.  The nose is a round headed quilters pin, and then small tacks in the sides of the neck.

This small piece has a tie tack back adhered to it.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


I am always on the lookout for quick and easy items to whittle.  These items need to be carried in my pockets and ready to whittle no matter when or where I might be.
Halloween is in October, and I always like to have some small items to give or to sell.  For some reason, skulls seem to be liked.  

Here's a small SKULL PIN, or MAGNET
 that's easy and fast to do.

The following photos are a step-by-step sequence to start and to complete the small skull pin or magnet.

Step 1-  Make some sketches.

STEP 2-  Transfer a sketch to wood and cut out the pattern.  Here I have selected two sketches for patterns and whittling.

Step 3_  Trace the patterns onto 3/8 inch Basswood, and cut the blanks out.  Trace and cut out lots of blanks.

STEP 4-  Use you knife to round over the edges.

STEP 5-  I used the drill to shape the eye sockets, and the knife to shape the teeth.  The skulls in the following photo were darkened so you could see that I left the knife marks prior to adding the finish.  To lazy to sand!  I dipped the skulls in maple stain, then clear polyurethane. 

Here's an example of sanded skulls.  I like the unsanded.

Step 6-  Add a tie tack or a pin back to the skull.  You could also add a magnet.

I whittled 8 of these with my morning coffee.  Of course I had to promise some for the waitresses at the diner... 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Past Projects 2

Continuing photos of past projects, some of which have been posted in the past.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Past Projects

This post is the 576th post that I have made to this blog.  That's a lot of carving information and projects.  Some of the older posts have fallen off the end of the blog, and are no longer available.  That is why I will periodically highlight some of the projects that have been posted in the past.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Whittled Jam/Cheese Spreader

Christmas is a season for gift giving.  I plan on being ready.  Here's a fairly easy little project that requires only a piece of Basswood and a knife.  I am referring to the Santa handled spreader only - not the jar of home made strawberry preserves.

The materials needed are a piece of Basswood measuring 1 x 1 x 6 inches, paint, and food grade oil for the finish.  Tools needed are a scroll saw or a band saw, knife, and pencil and paint brush.

This project is carved on the corner of the Basswood.

I think the above photo is self explanatory...

Monday, May 15, 2017

Completed Small Flat Plane Style Animal and Noah;s Ark

After very little time. you can whittle and paint many pairs of the small animals, in the flat plane style as demonstrated in previous posts.  The Ark is not that difficult either, if you have the tools.
The materials for the Ark are all salvaged (1/4 inch birch plywood and crown molding).

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Continued step by step whittling the ultra flat plane Rhino.

The goal in the following steps is to "create" the flat planes by removing slices of wood at the sharp edges of the blank.  Instead of rounded corners and edges we want the flat planes left over from removing slices from the blank edges.
Step 1  -  Remove chip from center of lower belly.

Step 2 -  Pare the corner off of the back of the front legs.

Step 3 -  Pare the corner off the front of the rear legs.

Step 4 -  Remove the front of the feet on the rear legs.

Step 5 -  Slice the corners off the top of the rear legs.

Step 6 -- Slice the corners off the bottom of the head.

Step 7 -  Pare the corners off the top of Rhinos head area.

Step 8 -  Continue removing the corners of the bottom of the head.

Step 9 -  Make a stop cut dividing the two ears.

Step 10 -  Pare down from the tops of the ears to the stop and remove the chips.

Step 11 -  Lets hope it looks some what like this.

If you want color, now is the time.  I like to dilute water based acrylics.

Time to whittle more ultra flat plane animals for the Ark.