Woodcarver Ezine
Back Issues
Carvers' Companion Gateway


The Woodcarver Online Magazine

Carpenter Pencil Carving Contest


Update on availability of unfinished carpenter pencils: Jan Oegema has donated a supply of unfinished carpenter pencils. At this writing 14 dozen remain - these are being sold in lots of 2 dozen. If you are interested, email Matt Kelley at womeditorATcomcastDOTnet


For years now, some of my friends in the carving community have been suggesting that WOM sponsor another carving contest. (Well, okay, badgering me about having a contest would be more accurate!) So at long last, Woodcarver Online Magazine is conducting its first mail-in carving contest. The subject can be anything you want (as long as its in reasonably good taste), the techniques whatever you please - chip carving, in-the-round, relief, pryography, painted, unpainted, etc. The material - ah, now that's where it gets interesting! The only material that may be used in this contest is the common, everyday flat wooden carpenter pencil. That's those flat sided pencils with the rectangular lead that is often use for marking wood - 7 inches long, 9/16 of an inch wide, 1/4 of an inch thick.

Why carpenter pencils, you ask? Well, several reasons; I have been carving carpenter pencils off and on for a number of years, making decorative carvings, Christmas ornaments, even earrings. They are relatively cheap, not hard to obtain, and easy to ship. On the other hand, cedar wood is not the easiest material to carve, and the lead in the center has little strength if you cut too deeply, but that all just adds to the challenge.

Carvings entered in the contest will be shipped to the WOM offices in Flushing, MI, where they will be assembled for judging and photographed. There are no entry fees, but if you want your submissions back, you will need to include prepaid return postage. Pencils that arrive without prepaid return postage will be auctioned, with all proceeds to be donated to the American Red Cross.

Winning carvings in a number of categories will be selected by a distinguished panel of judges, members of the panel will be announced prior to the end date for submissions. There will be prizes, including specially commissioned t-shirts, coffee mugs and other gift items, books, and possibly some gift certificates.

Winning carvings will be announced in the March/April issue of WOM, and all entries will be featured in a photo gallery in that issue.


The Rules

The carving must be performed on a common, commercially produced flat cedar carpenter pencil, 7 inches long, 9/16 of an inch wide, 1/4 of an inch thick.

Round pencils or carpenter pencils of any other material will not be accepted.

The lead core must remain visible on at least one end of the pencil.

Carvings may be painted or unpainted

It is recommended you use unpainted carpenter pencils, which are generally available at your local big box lumber retailer (although painted carpenter pencils may also be utilized.)

Screw eyes for hanging may be added

One or two small pieces of other material may be glued to the pencil - carvings with add-ons will be judged separately from those without.

Carvings must be clearly and permanently marked with the carver's name.

Each entry must be the original work of the entrant.

You may submit up to five (5) carvings in any one category, with a total of no more than ten (10) in all categories.

Each shipment must be accompanied by a signed Entry Form.

REVISED DUE DATES: All submissions must be postmarked by February 24 and received by March 1, 2007.

Submissions are to be shipped via US Postal Service to the address listed on the Entry Form.

If you wish to have your submissions returned, you must include a PREPAID, pre-addressed mailing envelope (do not send money, check, etc.)

Submissions that do not include prepaid return shipping will be auctioned, with ALL proceeds donated to the American Red Cross

A selection of winning carvings will be featured on clothing and other gifts available at the Carvers' Companion shop at CafePress.

By submitting a carving for the contest you agree that photos of your carving may be taken for use in promotional activities, including use on the Carvers' Companion/Woodcarver Online Magazine web site, as well as on merchandise that may be featured in the Carvers' Companion shop at CafePress

Judges will determine the most appropriate category for each submission; additional categories will be established as needed;.

Decisions of the judges are final; there is no appeal process. If you have questions regarding the competition, they should be addressed before submitting your carvings. Please submit any questions to womeditorATcomcastDOTnet.


Pencil Carving Sample Gallery

Here are some pencils that were carved some years back. The trees are carved and painted; the figures carved, pyro'ed and painted.


Cedar Tree Ornaments - fun to carve, but a bit tricky when you cut down almost to the lead.



Go Blue! - an old time Michigan Cheerleader and old time football player from back in the leather helmet days



A Pair Of Country Gentleman



A Pair of Gentelmen's Gentelman