Archive for September 2013

September/October 2013 WOM


Welcome to the September/October ’13 issue of Woodcarver Online Magazine

Our Front Page photo this issue is:

Lama Table

Carved by Sampa Lhundup

Lama table 82

Hello, Friends in Carving –

Summer is over and the signs of Fall are starting to show in North America.  One sure sign of fall is that we are just a few months away from Artistry in Wood, the annual two day carving show hosted by the Dayton Carvers Guild.   It’s a great show, and one that should be on your calendar to attend.  Look for our coverage of the 2012 AIW winners later in this issue.

In this issue –

Available now:

Profile: Sampa Lhundup

Mike Bloomquist: Get Whale Soon!

“Ol’ Don’s Drawing Table:  NFL Gnome

Pete LeClair: Mike 4

Call for Photos:  Annual Santa Gallery

Coming soon

Call for Photos: Celtic Art Gallery

Winners Gallery:  Artistry in Wood 2012

Photo Gallery:  Gathering of Woodcarvers Reunion ’13

Photo Gallery:  2013 Husky Cup


WOM Editor Matt Kelley

WOM Editor Matt Kelley


Matt Kelley



Carver Profile: Sampa Lhundup

Sampa LhundupWho: Sampa Lhundup

Hometown: Nagchu County, Tibet; currently living in Rochester, NY

Carving Styles:  Intricately carved religious objects in the Tibetan tradition, as well as freeform sculptures and objects


  • Third generation master woodcarver (his grandfather’s work can still be found in the Potala in Lhasa)
  • Six years of training (study and apprenticeship) through the Shachun Woodcraft Center affiliated with the Tibetan Government in Exile in India.

Professional Experience:

  • Served as a master in residence at Markham Tibetan Traditional Woodcarving Institute Established a studio in Dharamsala where he employed up to 20 wood artisans and students to help with his commissions.
  • Client list included H. H. the Dalai Lama and many well-known Tibetan lamas.
  • Currently carves in a shop in Rochester, NY and sells his art work through word of mouth in the Buddhist community or via his website at

History:  Born into a nomadic family, Lhundup lived in a traditional yak hair tent as a boy.  Later, as a young man, he was jailed and tortured by the Chinese and later escaped to India over the mountains at great personal peril.  In India he met a Tibetan woman and began a family.

In 2011 Lhundup left for the United States at the invitation of members of the White Lotus Buddhist Center community.   His family remains in India as his refugee status has not been finalized (he has a political asylum hearing scheduled for October of this year).  He has learned English (a work still in progress) and is working to establish himself as an artist here in the United States so he can bring his family to live with him.

To see more of Sampa Lhundup’s work, click HERE

Lama table 82

Get Whale Soon!

They say a pun is the lowest form of humor, so what better time to inflict one on a friend but when they’re ill.  And if your ill friend is in a situation where getting well is a relative thing, excuse yourself as I did and explain that Get Whaler Soon brought to mind a caricature of Ahab with a harpoon… not nearly as fun or effective as this project is.  Trust me!

OK, let’s get started! If at any time the pictures don’t help you with the step, skip ahead for later shots for more references (especially steps 23 & 24).  Also know that clicking on any picture will enlarge it.  To get back to the tutorial, just click the “Back” arrow of your browser.

Step 1:  Well… my step one. Could have sworn I’d seen a “Get Whale Soon” carving project somewhere.   Could not find it.  Normally at this point I would try and draw my own pattern, but this project/muse had a time crunch on it.  So then you type “cartoon”, “caricature”, and “whale” into Google and search pictures.  Normally I take 2-3 of my favorites and combine them.  This time, this one just seemed perfect.  Sketched a quick profile.  Notice how the grain goes parallel to the length at the narrowest section of the tail… very important.

get whale soon - 01


Step 2:  Band sawing off what I can.  You can’t tell from the picture, but that’s a Rockwell 14″ with a 6″ riser block kit.  It’s a veteran that came over from the hobby shop of a closed US AFB in Germany.  The beast has a transmission that allows it to cut metal as well as wood.

get whale soon - 02


Step 3:  Some more band saw cuts.  A little hard to describe, but the second set of band saw cuts from the nose to the widest part are down from the tail and the rest were down from the front.  Check the saw marks in the picture.

get whale soon - 03


Step 4:  The fins are going to be carved separate.  Try to layout the pattern so that the grain is parallel to the length of the root where it will be inserted into the body of the whale.

get whale soon - 04


Step 5:  And the waterspout is going to be carved separate as well.

get whale soon - 05


Step 6:  With most of the parts cut out, start by knockin’ the corners off.  Notice the centerline I draw to stay symmetrical.
get whale soon - 06


Step 7:  You don’t want to carve the fins flat. Cut them double thick and carve away the black areas.  Remember to make one side the mirror of the other.  Also, there’s a “don’t” in this picture… the end that should insert into the whale’s body should end parallel to the grain.  This means I should have cut this from a thicker piece of wood and finished that end of the curved fin flat against the side of the wood.

get whale soon - 07


Step 8:  The shape of things so far… the waterspout is basically a mushroom with a tapered stem… the fins taper down to a dowel rod shape at it’s base for mounting in the body (later)… the body is nicely rounded with a softly flattened tail.

get whale soon - 09


Step 9:  Some close ups.  Notice that the typical cross section of the main body is not circular.  It’s kind of squashed with the widest point being high of the center.

get whale soon - 11

get whale soon - 10


Step 10:  The ridge from the tail bone.

get whale soon - 13


Step 11:  This shape is done with a gouge cut down both sides of the center line, and then a knife or shallower gouge is used to blend the outer sides of each of those cuts into the tail (erase them).

get whale soon - 14


Step 12:  Time to draw the facial features.  A permanent pen would have been better… no smudging of the graphite over the carving, either erases with a knife not an eraser.

get whale soon - 15


Step 13:  Outline the eye and lips(?) with a stop cut using a v-tool (leaned slightly towards the waste side of the cut).

get whale soon - 16


Step 14:  Carve away wood from the waste side of the cut until you no longer see that side of what the v-tool did.

get whale soon - 17


Step 15:  OK, this is what it looks like after a few more steps.  To get here  I rounded the eye area then stop cut the lid and the lower half of the eye circle.  I then removed some wood from the inside of these stop cuts.  I also stop cut the upper lip and the lower lip where it forms that open area of the mouth where the teeth(?) go. Then I removed wood from inside this area.  Remember this pattern is repeated as mirror images on both sides of the center line.

get whale soon - 19


Step 16:  Draw in the teeth (yes, I know they’re not really teeth on the whale, but this is caricature).

get whale soon - 20


Step 17:  Then chip cut out the vertical lines and voila!

get whale soon - 21


Step 18:  Drew in the rows of the underside.  Notice that the depression on the right isn’t as sharp as the one I’m cutting.  I soften/widen it on purpose by making two more passes on the first cut.  One with the v-tool leaned over to the left and another pass leaned to the right.

get whale soon - 22


Step 19:  The water spout so far is a mushroom with a tapered stem.  The final shape is like a flower with long, round tipped petals rolled severely over as they radiate.  Stagger and overlap them like shingles.  I decided after outlining them with a v-tool that they needed a cone shaped dip to spray out from and that’s what you see me carving now.

get whale soon - 23


Step 20:  Stop cut the petals with a v-tool or a knife. Start with the whole shape of the topmost ones and cut waste wood out from the water “petals” below.

get whale soon - 24


Step 21:  You might need to undercut more from behind the bottom edge to “sell it”.  This is probably the trickiest piece to carve… go slow!

get whale soon - 25


Step 22:  Drill the holes for fins… approximately 45 degrees back and slightly down.  Test fit them and when you like them epoxy them in..

get whale soon - 26


Step 23:  I would drill the hole in the base first (1/4″ hole for a 1/4″ dowel rod) and then drill the hole in the whale.  When that all looks good, then drill the hole for the water spout.  Notice he looks a bit grumpy here… painting the pupils in will fix that.

get whale soon - 27


Step 24:  …and a view goin’ away.

get whale soon - 28


Step 25:  My secret for laying out lettering?  Corel Graphics Suite X5 student & home edition.  Corel Draw lets you fit text to a curve. Oh, and I’m a font junkie.  This one is Nachmere (Nightmare).

get whale soon - 29


Step 26:  Graphite paper, painter’s tape, and an embossing pen (which I use for painting as well… but not embossing… go figure <G>).

get whale soon - 30


Step 27:  My pyrography kit is a Frankenstein monster… Detail Master base control, an adapter, and Optima pens with interchangeable tips.  This was a deer foot shader.  I’m not an expert, and it might have been easier to outline them with a dagger point and fill with the shader.  Next time.

get whale soon - 31


Step 28:  TaDa! (How’s that for an informative step?)

get whale soon - 32


Step 29:  This is towards the end of the painting.  When I started, I thoroughly soaked the pieces with water using a spray bottle and then used very watered down washes of color.  If you look close you can make out the grain.  That’s just the way I roll when painting my carvings, if you have a preferred method of your own use it.

get whale soon - 33


Step 30:  A couple coats of acrylic clear satin… just enough to get rid of the chalkiness of the acrylics and leave the piece with a nice, soft sheen.

get whale soon - 35


Step 31:  An a close up.  Remember when I said I used the embossing tool for painting?  Check out the small dot of off-white highlighting the pupil.

get whale soon - 36


I hope you enjoyed the project, and understand when I say that I hope you don’t have to carve too many of these.  If you do carve several, try a different whale with a different shape next time like a sperm whale, or if the patient is a unicorn lover, a narwhale.

Whale Gang… keep them edges keen, the chips piled high, and remember, puns are fun! ;-).

From “Ol’ Don’s” Drawing Table

OlDonFrom “Ol’ Don” Drawing Table

 “Ol’ Don” Burgdorf presents Football Gnome

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 2011-2013 “Ol’ Don” Burgdorf. This Pattern may be copied for individual use; reproduction for resale is prohibited without express written permission.

From Pete LeClair

Pete LeClair

Pete LeClair’s Projects

Pete LeClair’s project this issue features Mike 4



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 – 2013 by Pete LeClair.

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