Archive for February 2012

January/February 2012 WOM

Welcome to Issue 1 of Year 16 of Woodcarver Online Magazine.

Our Front Page photo this issue is:

Opera Man, by Ryan Olsen, 2011 CCA Best in Show

Opera Man, by Ryan Olsen

Opera Man by Ryan Olsen

2011 National Caricature Carving Competition

Best of Show and 1st Place, Single Human Figure 10″ and Over

Hello carving friends

The CCA National Caricature Carving Competition always produces a number of great carvings, and the 2011 Competition was no exception. You can see more photos of Ryan Olsen’s Best of Show winner and lots more in the gallery in this issue of WOM.

Big changes are in the works for Woodcarver Online Magazine and the Carvers’ Companion web sites. Suggestions for additions and changes are always welcome. More information in the months ahead.

If you are a Facebook member, take time to visit the Carvers’ Companion/Woodcarver List Facebook group page. This provides a place on FB for carvers to post carving photos and to chat about carving; it also serves as a companion to the Woodcarver Listserv. Come on by for a visit!  Click the link in the menu bar or on Facebook search for “Woodcarver List”

In the Jan/Feb 2012 issue:

  • 2011 CCA Caricature Carving Competition Gallery
  • A visit from The Happy Hatter by “Ol’ Don” Burgdorf
  • Pete LeClair’s Axel
  • Preview of Alex Bisso on Finding and Collecting Cottonwood Bark
  • Books reviews from Mike Bloomquist

Call For Front Page Carving Photos: We’re always looking for great photos of great carvings for the front page of WOM. If you’d like your photo to be considered, send it on in. Please include the back story, material and finish info, size, etc. Send to womeditor AT

Articles and suggestions for articles are always welcome. Feel free to send suggestions and requests using the contact form on the About page. For information on submitting articles for publication, also visit the About page.

WOM Editor Matt Kelley

WOM Editor Matt Kelley

Carve On!

Matt Kelley, Editor

From Pete LeClair

Pete LeClair’s Axel

Pete LeClair’s project this issue features Alex :



Alex Pattern

Pete LeClair is a well-known carver and teacher, author of three carving books and a member of the Caricature Carvers of America. You may learn more about Pete at his page on the CCA web site. Be sure to tour the rest of the CCA pages when you have a moment. In addition, you may email Pete at peteleclair AT Photos copyright 2001 – 2012 by Pete LeClair.

This pattern may be copied for individual use only; reproduction for resale is prohibited without express written permission.


Review: Us Carvers

Us Carvers

by Gerry Holzman

Review by Mike Bloomquist

Cover of Us CarversFirst off, an apology to my readers (all three of you) for my sparse contributions to WOM over the past couple of years.  I’ve been recently tempted aside by other activities.  Hopefully my writing and woodcarving hasn’t suffered for it.  Anyway, I hope this is a treat for you here on my return.  This book, Us Carvers,  by Gerry Holzman, was a bit hard to acquire, but, in the end well worth the effort.   At Artistry In Wood about three years ago a fellow woodcarver dropped off a photocopied ad from Chip Chats announcing this book and describing it as an account of the auth or’s correspondence and friendship with the woodcarver Gino Masero.  Not to snub the author, but it was his friend’s name that immediately caught my interest.  In a previous review written for the book Elements of Woodcarving authored by Chris Pye, two of the final chapters were dedicated to carvers who had greatly influenced the author.  Gino Masero was one of them.  Unfortunately I did snub Mr. Pye in that review, because the one carvings in  Elements that was noted specifically was a soulful piece of St. Francis of Assisi playing the violin (actually two sticks).  I was eager for another view of the wood sculptor Masero.

To see the rest of this review click HERE.

Review: First Projects for Woodcavers

First Projects For Woodcarvers Cover

First Projects for Woodcarvers 

First Christmas Projects for Woodcarvers

by Larry Green and Mike Altman

Review by Mike Bloomquist

These two books are old friends off mine and I haven’t carved a single project from either of them.  What’s even more strange is one of them, First Christmas Projects for Woodcarvers I just purchased from the Woodcraft Shop at the Artistry in Wood show last November.  Pretty simple riddles really.  I’ve had them with me for many of my wood carving classes especially where beginners were expected.  You see, I don’t like to force any particular pattern on students if it can be helped, especially those who are new to the art.  So beginners are offered as wide a selection of patterns as possible. As for Christmas Projects beginning a recent purchase, I bought a copy from “Big Dog” to replace one I’d lost track of.  Someday, whomever I loaned it to will turn up with it and I’ll probably let them have it as a gift.  It’s happened like that before.

OK, these to have been around for a bit. First Projects for Woodcarvers was published in 1996 and it’s companion the following year.  First off, these books have more authors than just the two listed on the cover.  Larry Green is the primary author (I believe) and Mike Altman is an illustrator.  One of the finer points of these books is the illustrations and caricatures of the authors, so Mike deserves to be listed.  Then there’s some fine photography by Steve Smith and consultants Tom Brown (CCA member) and Mac Proffit (owner of Smoky Mountain Woodcarver’s Supply).

First Christmas Projects cover

To see the rest of this review click HERE.

From Ol’ Don’s Drawing Board

From “Ol’ Don” Drawing Table

“Ol’ Don” Burgdorf continues his regular series of patterns for WOM with the Happy Hatter.

To print the pattern, click here; the pattern will open in a new window, and should print on 8.5 x 11 paper. For Printing Hints, click here.

“Ol’ Don” Burgdorf is a carver and artist from Hohenwald, TN. Don’s feature “Doodles ‘n Notes for Carvin’ Folks” appears regularly in Chip Chats, and his patterns are now found in each issue of WOM and Carving Magazine. He has several pattern portfolios on a variety of subjects available for download from his website. For information about the portfolios and other custom services Don provides carvers, click here. Some of Don’s “Chattering Chippers” patterns can also be seen at the Woodcarver’s Porch pattern page.

Ol’ Don now has roughouts available for some of his patterns. You are invited to visit Ol’ Don’s home page, or email him at ol’don AT

Copyright 2011-2012 “Ol’ Don” Burgdorf. This Pattern may be copied for individual use; reproduction for resale is prohibited without express written permission.


Preview: Finding and Collecting Cottonwood Bark

Editor’s Note

Earlier in this issue of WOM I mentioned that we would start a series of articles about finding and collecting cottonwood bark, written by Alex Bisso. As it turns out, doing a proper job of editing all the material and photos that Alex provided is taking more time then expected, so the official kickoff of the series will be in the March/April issue of WOM. As a taste of what is to come, however, here is a small preview:

Excerpt from Finding and Collecting Cottonwood Bark

By Alex Bisso

Very large trees

While not all very large trees have thick, wide bark and while some trees that are not very large in diameter do have thick bark, generally very large trees are the ones most likely to have bark that is thick enough for carving.  Whenever I am scanning a wooded area for bark possibilities, I am looking for some really large trees – those that really stand out from the rest – monarchs of the area that announce that they have been there 100 years or more.  Areas with these really giant trees are the best areas to look if you want to find some really thick bark.  Even if I do not see any “bones” or dead trees from a distance, if an area has a number of cottonwoods that stand out as larger that most, it is definitely an area that I want to investigate.  The worst that can happen is that I could get to walk amongst some really majestic old trees and not find any dead or fallen ones and that is not too bad at all.

Giant Tree

Alex with a Monarch of the Forest

2011 CCA Competition

2011 Caricature Carvers of America Annual Competition and Seminar

By Bob Travis

The last week of August is the time for the CCA annual competition and seminar in Converse, IN. The competition is open to all caricature carvers except CCA members and their families. For 2011 there were 176 entries from throughout the US for the thirteen categories. The judging was handled by CCA members Phil Bishop, Vicki Bishop, and Dennis Thornton. The quality of the entries has improved every year since the inception of the competition, and that trend certainly continued in 2011. In fact, the judges reported that because of the exceptional quality of the entries the judging process required nearly a day and a half to complete.

Best-of-show and a $300 prize was claimed by Ryan Olsen of Melba, ID for his Opera Man. Top carvers typically devote considerable time to researching their subject matter before beginning a carving. Ryan fits the bill here as in addition to being an excellent wood carver, he is also an extremely talented opera singer. Second Best-of-Show and a $200 prize went to Vern Parrish of Charlotte, NC for On the Level. Sandy Smith of Lakeview, AR won Third Best-of-Show and a $100 prize for Cereal Killer.

Ryan Olsen and Sandy Smith received an additional surprise; both have been selected as the newest members of the Caricature Carvers of America. Congratulations to Ryan and Sandy for their selection.

First ($50) and second ($25) place winners from the 13 categories were, respectively:

  • Single Human figure under 10″, Vern Parrish and Rusty Johnson.
  • Single Human Figure 10″ and Over, Ryan Olsen and Roger Stegall.
  • Group Human, Steve Dunham and David Borg.
  • Single Animal, David Borg and Richard Belcher.
  • Group Animal, David Borg and Robert Hershey.
  • Group Mixed, Sandy Smith and Ward Makielski.
  • Santa, Steve Brown and Roger Stegall.
  • Relief, Bruce Futterer and Werner Bock.
  • Miniature, Doug Wilson and Steve Brown.
  • Bottle Stopper, Ron Dowdy First and Second (and Third).
  • Bust, Corey Hallagan and Bart Wilson.
  • Miscellaneous, Don Morris and Bart Wilson.
  • Rough Out, Edsel Johnson and Ron Kincanon.

Plans are underway for our 2012 competition. We encourage all caricature carvers to take part in this yearly event. The deadline for receiving entries will be August 22. Details are posted on the CCA web site.

Immediately following the 2011 competition the judges held the CCA annual three-day caricature carving seminar. Thirty-nine students, in groups of 13, carved one day with each instructor. The dates for the 2012 seminar are August 24-26. P.J, Driscoll, Steve Prescott, and Tom Wolfe will serve as the competition judges and seminar instructors for 2012. As of this writing we still have a few openings in the seminar. Please see our web site for seminar details including candid photos of the 2011 seminar.