Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Carvings Roundup

Let's take a look at this year's hand carved ornaments. Some of these sold, some are still up for sale on my etsy shop, some are for gifts, and some are even for my own Christmas tree!

It's been a fun season for whittlin'. Upcoming projects include birthday presents for a couple of little guys about to see their 2nd and 3rd birthdays, so stay tuned!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wizards and Warriors: Adventurers in Wood

Inspired by the Lewis Chessmen, these toy wizards and knights are lots of fun to carve. They stand best when given a generally conical shape, and I try to keep everything smooth and blunt in order to protect them from rough hands. Kids like to throw these little guys, and they've proved to be tough and resilient.

I've been thinking of going a little more adult with these figures. A little red on a sword blade, maybe some battle scars to show age and grit.

Carving the Toy Horse's Mane

By reader request, here's a look at how I carve the mane for my toy horses. I start by outlining the border with a pencil, then go over it with a black Sharpie marker.

Next, I make a stop cut all along the border. In doing this I use only the tip and lead portion of the blade. On pocket knives this is mostly a natural grip, on larger fixed blade knives such as the Mora, this requires a higher grip that pinches the flat of the blade.

Now I shave up to the stop cut. The depth is subtle, no more than about 1/16", and results in the mane area being lower than the neck and body of the horse. At this point I usually go through and clean up any "fuzzies" and try to make sure the lines are straight and even.

Stop cut/shave towards cut is a good way to remove material in a controlled manner, especially if you're only using a knife. Specialty tools can be used, of course. In fact I'll often go through during the clean up phase and run a v-tool or gouge along a cut. Then again I think pure whittling is done with a knife, so your experience may vary depending on personal preference.

On a side note, I'd like to suggest you check out the Belfast Bushcraft Blog. Great photos, updates, and wilderness observations from an Irish outdoorsman.

(sorry for the delay, Abo!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A simple candy cane ornament

When carving the candy cane ornament, I'd advise you take special care on the inside section. If you rush it, or try and force the inside curve, you'll risk it splitting along the grain and clear through the arch, ruining the carving. I find that gentle removal of material from one side then the other is a safe way to go.

I finished this one with a little linseed oil, then filled the diagonal cuts with a wash of red paint. When it dried I sanded off the excess, pushed in a brass eyelet, gave it a light spray of shellac, and the ornament was complete.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Little Whittled Wizards

Little whittled wizards. Now say that five times fast.

These guys are around the smallest wizards I've carved, and the smallest figures not counting spike trolls. They are hand carved, sanded, and painted. I finished the with a few thin coats of shellac.

Are they gnomes or possibly dwarves? I'm not sure. But they look eager to start adventuring, as long as I carve a fighter to accompany them on their journey. I'm sure they'll appreciate the extra muscle when it's time to haul back some treasure.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My latest hand carved toy horse

I'm really enjoying the current pace of my progress in whittlin'. I've made plaques, toys, and a whole bunch of Christmas ornaments. With a couple of shows on the way for motivation, things are moving right along.

This latest toy horse shows a slightly different style of mane. I'm trying a sort of "S" shaped mane with a forward slant. I feel this gives the design a look of forward movement, and a crisp but smooth line.

As you can see I've left the mane and tail unpainted on this one in order to show off the wood. As always with the toys I carve, everything is play-safe and built to last.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hand carved Christmas tree plaque

Continuing my carved wooden plaque series, here's a classic Christmas tree complete with ornaments and presents. I liked it before the painting, but it really pops now that it's all finished. Hey, I even put one of my toy horses in there!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hand carved Dala Horse plaque

I picked up some wooden plaques at a second hand shop for about 25 cents each, a great bargain. You can see the first plaque here, which I carved with my take on the Swedish dala horse.

A light coat of linseed oil gives the wood a nice warm glow, and seals the wood in preparation for the acrylic paint. Two coats of shellac protects the finished carving.

Friday, November 11, 2011

With a Bible in my Ruck

On this Veteran's Day I encourage you to read this post by my friend Jonathan. A veteran of Afghanistan, he is currently preparing for another deployment "over there." Jonathan's writing is honest, direct, and reveals much about the identity of the modern American soldier. His work has be published by the New York Times among others.

I wore the uniform once, as I know many who read this blog have and continue to do so. May God continue to bless the USA and her veterans.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Most recent Christmas carvings

This weekend's craft show went well, but left me with plenty of carvings. No problem, I've got some more shows on the horizon.

There's always more wood to carve!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Christmas ornaments made from carved wooden spools

Old wooden spools continue to be a great medium for whittlin'. Each one has a small brass bell on the bottom for a little extra holiday cheer. I'm working on more of these, including some carved into snowmen!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Christmas Ornaments, 1st batch complete!

After carving, I finished these ornaments with linseed oil, acrylic paint, and shellac. I used a woodburner to add the year on the back.

Friday, September 30, 2011

WIP: Santa Spoons

The Christmas whittlin's continue with these Santa spoons. After carving and sanding, they'll get a light wash of paint and maybe a "dry brush" for that antique look. I'm going to make a ton of these guys.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Time for some Christmas carvings

I've always liked carving these wooden eggs. After a soak in linseed oil, I'll drill and attach a brass eyelet in the top of each egg. They'll make nice Christmas ornaments.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th, 2011

May God continue to bless America.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Carving While Camping

This past weekend saw me camping out at Letchworth State Park, known as "The Grand canyon of the East." It's a beautiful place, and every visit seems better than the last.

Between hikes, cooking, and just relaxing, I managed to carve a pair of spoons. The wood used was birch.

If you have the chance, give Letchworth a visit! I plan to get back there very soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two birch teaspoons

Aah, the difference a stain makes! These spoons are both whittled from the same piece of birch wood. I stained the darker spoon with salad bowl finish, while the lighter one has a coat of clear finish.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A teaspoon for Sarah

Our friend Sarah should be surprised by this teaspoon. It's not her birthday or any "special" occasion, but that's always been my favorite time to bring a gift to a friend.

I carved this spoon from birch using only my crooked knife "Svanhild," and finished it with a soak in salad bowl finish and a topcoat of butcher block oil. The dedication was applied with a woodburner.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

WIP: Wizard Face Walking Stick in birch

As woodspirits go, mine are carved a little deeper with an emphasis on long mustaches and beards. I see these guys as more wizards than spirits. This lighter colored one is birch, a wood I've found quite easy to carve.

I'll give it stain of some sort, though I do like how it looks right now. Maybe just a clear finish then? Either way I'll also cap the tip with either a flat or pointed metal piece. This one might have room for a lanyard too. I love the way the stick curves from the back of the head up to the top. It seems to provide a natural handrest.