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Something Fishy -

A Review of Fish Carving Videos

By Keith Clements, From the Great Pacific Northwest

Like most woodcarvers I am always on the lookout for worthwhile instructional books, or video tapes. Well, I have found some great videos for those that are interested in learning the fine art of fish carving.

The videos, Carving and Painting a Brown Trout, were produced by two world class fish carvers, Tom Wolf and Ed Waliki.

The videos come as a set of two for each fish species. The first video is carving instruction, and the second is painting instruction. The tapes can also be purchased individually.

Tape # 1, Carving a Brown Trout, jumps right in and starts out talking about the importance of safety. Of course, one of the main safety hazards that power carvers encounter is dust. The video provides great information on how to make your own inexpensive, high power dust collector. A used clothes dryer blower motor is utilized, along with other inexpensive items. I wish I had seen the video before I spent a couple of hundred bucks to buy a dust collector.


Wolf and Waliki show the viewer how to draw, and place the fish pattern correctly on a block of wood. After tracing the pattern, they show the proper method of using your band saw to cut out the fish blank. They start by cutting out the top view of the fish, temporarily hot glue the block back together and then cut out the side view.

(Photo of Ed Waliki with a Brown Trout used with permission.)


I enjoyed their really useful tip of making a fish pattern from foam rubber. You make a top view and a side view foam pattern. By using this method you can create hundreds of different shapes using one foam pattern. You can create an "S" shape, tail up, tail down, etc.


Brown Trout in progress, with the foam patterns for side and top view.


Once you've cut out the blank, the video takes you step by step through the carving process. A Foredom power unit is utilized for most of the carving. Much of the rough shaping was done by using sanding drums and sanding sleeves. I really feel that if you follow the clear carving instructions you will end up with a quality carving that you can be proud of.


I have included a couple of photographs of two rainbow trout that I just completed using these carving techniques.


Video # 2, Painting a Brown Trout was also a very helpful video. What I liked about this video was the fact that it was made for woodcarvers. I had viewed a number of other fish painting videos, but these were videos of a taxidermist painting a dead fish specimen caught by some lucky fisherman. The taxidermy paint schedule and process just never quite worked out for me. I always had to make a few changes to the paint schedule.



The video shows step-by-step how to use an inexpensive single action air brush to paint your carving. A really neat painting method called veil painting was demonstrated. With this method, wedding veil material is used as a stencil to create a beautiful scale pattern. For those that hate to spend hours wood burning fish scales, this is the way to go.


Well that's it for my video evaluation. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate these videos a 10. I found them well worth my hard earned money and would certainly recommend these videos to any aspiring fish carver.

For more information on these great videos, and everything you want to know about fish carving check out Wolf and Waliki's great Fishcarver web site. Their site is located at www.Fishcarver.com.

Keith Clements is a woodcarver residing in Vancouver, Washington just across the Great Columbia
River from Portland, Oregon.

Keith writes; "I retired in 1996 after 34 years in Law Enforcement. I spent nine years as a State and Local Police Officer in Utah. After graduating from college I worked a little over 24 years as a Special Agent with the United States Government in different locations throughout the United States. I also
taught High School for one year after retiring."

"I started carving in 1997, and only wish that I had started years before!"