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Woodcarving Country Folk

By Mike Shipley

Reviewed by Doug Evans


Mike Shipley's newest book helps us explore country characters with his distinctive "whimsical" or "cute" style. The preface of the book calls this adding "personality" to the carvings. Country folks aren't necessarily a new subject but these "guys" should have you chuckling in no time! Mike has given us other favorite projects using a similar carving style in his Handcarving Santas & Snowmen and Woodcarving the Country Bears & His Friends.

We are told that the inspiration for this book came from growing up in the Ozark mountains and using fantasy as well as experience with real country folks Mike has known. The twelve characters in this book try to teach us the legend of the hillbilly.

Delmer is the character used for the step-by-step project. Making a pattern and cutting out the carving blank are well explained. This explanation will be a good reference tool for a beginner and a great review for more experienced carvers. The step-by-step process for Delmer is well-explained and enlarged photo inserts are offered for some of the fine detail.

Once Delmer is carved very detailed painting and staining instructions are included. Mike tells us how to make our own stain in a kitchen blender (wait until my wife finds out!).

A very unique feature of this book is that each pattern shows you a completed, painted project which gives the specific paint color used so you can duplicate the exact look shown. Mike's painting really brings to life each and every carving.

Of the characters in the book Odie, Granny and Bobby Ray would be my favorites. I can see all kinds of applications for Granny using just a "tweak" here and there!

A very mild criticism would be that like most step-by-step instructions, due to the camera angle, a few pictures are a little tough to use to follow the written instructions.

Mike volunteers that he is a production carver frequently carving over 100 projects a month !! Geeeeeees!!!!

All in all we have another winner and a must have book for Mike Shipley fans !!

PS. Mike is a carving a new Santa style that I had the opportunity to see even before this book was released. This new Santa is great and I can only hope another book is in the works !!

Doug Evans, AKA the Woodologist, enjoys carving Santas, caricatures, woodspirits and whatevers. Doug is a member of the Notes From The Net staff, a panelist for Carving Magazine, President of the Metrocarvers of Michigan, and the State treasurer of the Michigan Wood
Carvers Association
. Doug attends many shows and roundups enjoying the chips on the floor and looking for his Holy Grail -- a mentor to take his carving to the next level.

Doug Evans (right) with CCA member Peter Ortel (center) and WOM Editor Matt Kelley (left.)