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.