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  The Little Book of Whittling

By Chris Lubkemann

Reviewed by Mike Bloomquist


OK, now I KNOW I'm doing penence for making fun of the "W" word (that would be whittling), which makes no sense to me being Southern Baptist, doing penence that is.  Besides, I learned a while back with Sally and David Nyes' fan birds not to take whittling lightly.  So what did I do at the carving club the other day when one of the members brought a half completed twig rooster  to me and asked for help with the tail.  He couldn't carve the feathers so they curved.  "No problem." says I, " This won't take long".... Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, and dumb!  But, how hard could it be?  We have seen Chris Lubkemann's twig roosters in countless Branching Out articles in Chip Chats.  We have seen his earlier book on carving them in Whittling Twigs and Branches.  Two years ago the luckier ones saw him carve them in person at the Woodcarver's Conference in Kitchener, On.  Watching him I decided I needed to know what he ate for breakfast, because he had the energy of three six-year-olds.  Then to really make it embarrassing I had just taped (and viewed) his TV episode from the DIY channel. So how did it turn out? Fifteen minutes later I had wasted this carver's carefully selected twig, and managed to do the same arrow straight, right down the grain feathers he already knew how to carve.  To make a short story long, like I usually do... polixic is the term I believe, I went back to the DIY episode and figured it out, sort of.  The birds still need work since it seems to have some feather rot disease, but at least they curl now dang it!  Then a day later I get my next book review projects in the mail, and what has Matt sent me?... Chris Lubkemann's next book, The Little Book of Whittling... like I said, I'm doing penence.

The Highlights:

Well, the book is exactly as described on the front cover, a method for "Passing Time on the Trail, on the Porch, and Under the Stars", and the back cover where it invites you to "Relax the Old Fashioned Way".  The photography by Greg Heisey is good and the step-by-steps are more than adequate.  The step-by-steps are sometimes only a page and a half, but this works because these are very easy and fun projects.  What's not in the table of contents are all the tip boxes that are spinkled throughout the book.  Each is a little gem which matches the carving project at hand.  For example, a brief  "slice" of Swiss army knife history when you're carving a knife,  recipes for trail snack and GORP while you're carving a walking stick, and a list of "best baits" and "how to bait a hook" in the chapter on carving a jumping fish. 

A brief tour:

About the Author


Getting Started

The Knife
    As in a knife carved from wood (good letter opener)
    Like for pieces of cheese.
Stick Figures
Jumping Fish
Walking Stick
I would be tempted to drill holes in it for a flute ;-).
Back Scratcher
Miniature Challenge

More photos from the book HERE.

Nit Picks:

This may come as a shock, but I have no nits to pick with this book.  OK, maybe one... itsy bitsy, teeny tiny nit. In the beginning of the chapter on carving the spoon, Chris promises examples of other sizes and shapes at the end of the chapter... and there are none.  Other than that, the book is technically very well done, and the lead ins to each chapter are fun relaxing "reads". Final analysis, it doesn't pretend to be any more than it is, a fun little book full of very fun, simple, and relaxing projects together with simple and useful tips and information.  If you're allergic to whittling projects or break out in hives at the thought of carving things that don't require serious artisitic considerations then here's your cure.  For a book on whittling this one is a "four thumber" and just plain fun.  And as a good carving friend of mine, Barb Grove says, "Fun is just, well, FUN!".  You might have had to been there when she said it, but it reminded me of Chris's book.  So you'll have to excuse me now 'cause I'm gonna carve myself a slingshot.

Keep on Carvin'
-Mike Bloomquist->

Mike's mugMike Bloomquist is a carver and carving teacher, and a regular contributor to WOM.

You may visit Mike's web site, Wooden Dreams Woodcarving HERE or email him at m.bloomquistATverizonDOTnet.