Thursday, February 17, 2011


This tutorial will result in a small whittled Gnome. With the new movie GNOMEO AND JULIET released and showing in the theaters Gnomes are becoming real popular. The tutorial Gnome will not include the detail that this finished one has, but you can add it to yours. The Gnome starts out as a piece of 3/4" thick Basswood. The one here is a 2" tall fellow (including the hat). Now I like to whittle small, so this is large to me, but you should select a size that you are comfortable with.
This blank was done on a scroll saw. The first step to whittling the Gnome is to make a stop cut at the bottom of the hat. Make this stop cut all the way around the piece, by holding the knife still and rotating the blank into the blade.
Step 2 is relieving the Gnomes face up to the stop cut at the bottom of the hat. Start on the corners and work your way around the piece. If you have to deepen the stop cut, do so. Notice the cuts on each side of the the "nose". This is the beginning of the Gnomes nose, so be sure to leave enough thickness. Also, from this point on each cut you do on one side of the piece, do the same cut on the opposite side.
Next cut the corners of the hat off. Work your way around the piece. You can return to this at any time, with the goals of making the hat bottom round instead of square.
In this step you can begin to shape the hat. The challenge here is to make cuts to shape the hat to a point. You may not want to finish the point of the hat at this time, as it may become uncomfortable when doing the next cuts. If you are wearing your glove it won't matter.
Next, make a stop cut at the bottom of the Gnomes shirt. This will separate the legs from the shirt bottom. Then make cuts up from the legs to the stop cut at the shirt bottom. You may deepen the stop cut as you go. Be sure to do all sides of the piece, and hold your knife still and rotate the piece into the knife blade.
This next step involves making deep stop cuts separating the beard from the body, and the arms from the body (both sides of the piece).
Relieve the Gnomes body up to the beard and the arms. This can be best achieved by removing wedges of wood up to the "corners" at the elbow and shoulder; as well as around the beard. You will want to deepen the stop cuts as you go. Strive for a "roundness" to the body.
Start to shape the beard. Try to achieve a "roundness" to the beard. Make a curved stop cut that defines the top of the eye, and remove the "chip" that forms the eye area. Shape the nose. Start out as large as you can. Use very small little cuts, and try to achieve a roundness to the end of the nose. Have your Super Glue handy. If you do happen to accidentally remove the nose, don't worry there's a fix (see the footnote).
Make a stop cut the defines the top of the Gnomes mustache, and remove a sliver down to the stop cuts. Make slice cuts at the edges of the arms to give them some shape. Make a stop cut to define the top of the hand, and remove a slice up to the bottom of the shirt sleeve. Continue to shape the legs and feet.
Make a stop cut that defines the bottom of the mustache, and remove a sliver up to this stop cut. Be very careful with this cut, and have your Super Glue handy.
Go back over the piece and clean up and round off any areas that you need to. But remember, this is a whittling, a fun piece that when given to a child will not subjected to heavy inspection. We did not put fingers, a belt, or any other little details that could be added. Kids just won't care.
If you need to, you can texture the beard with a V-tool. That's about it. I next scrub the piece with soap and water and paint. And since I'm lazy sometimes I just wax and buff. But let me warn you; kids like theirs painted.
FOOTNOTE: Fixing an accidentally removed nose. First flatten the area with you knife, Drill 1/8" shallow hole in the area. Glue a short dowel into the hole . Shape the dowel after the glue dries.
Even easier; drill a very shallow hole and glue a round wood bead at the top of the hole, and be done with it.......


Steve said...

I really like this gnome. Im gonna try it a bit larger, and see what I can do thanks for the help

hollyshome said...

Great tutorial! Thanks I can’t wait to try it!