Archive for May 2014

May-June 2014 WOM

Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine Volume 18 Issue 3


Best of Show, First in Group Human:  CCA 2014 Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing Competition

Team­work, by Steve Dun­man, Eagle, ID

 Click image for a larg­er view

Hel­lo, Friends in Carv­ing -

The May/June 2014 issue of WOM are now avail­able .  Scroll down to find them fol­low­ing this article.

In this issue:

Pho­to Gallery: CCA 2013 Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing Competition

CCA 2014 Seminar

Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table: The Lit­tlest Scout

Pete LeClair: W.C. Park­er

Per­ry Reynolds on Devel­op­ing Your Cre­ative Expression

Review — Carv­ing Wood­spir­its:  Beyond The Basics, by Susan Hen­drix and Paul “PJ” Peery

Review — Carv­ing Fan­ta­sy & Leg­end Fig­ures in Wood — Revised Edi­tion, by Shawn Cipa

Events, Hap­pen­ings and Goings-On Updat­ed!

As always, we wel­come your feed­back, ideas for arti­cles, etc.  Please use the con­tact form on the About page in the menu bar above.


WOM Editor Matt Kelley

WOM Edi­tor Matt Kelley


Matt Kel­ley



CCA 2013 Competition


CCA 2013 Caricature Carving Competition

The Car­i­ca­ture Carvers of Amer­i­ca (CCA) spon­sored 2013 Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion was held on August 21 and 22 in Con­verse, IN, and once again host­ed by the East­ern Wood­land Carvers Club.  Club mem­bers han­dle receiv­ing and unpack­ing of sub­mis­sions, sit up dis­plays for judg­ing, and repack the carv­ing for ship­ping home after the competition.

As in past years, the com­pe­ti­tion was keen and the judges had no small task in select­ing the winners.

The CCA mem­ber­ship encour­ages any­one to com­pet­ed in 2013 to do so again this year, and sug­gest that those carvers who have not entered the com­pe­ti­tion give it con­sid­er­a­tion.  Judg­ing is rotat­ed among CCA mem­bers, so you can expect a fresh approach each year.

The Best of Show win­ner was Steve Dunman’s carv­ing of Team­work.  Sec­ond Best of Show was Hind­sight by Vern Par­rish, and Scott Brown claimed Third Best of Show for Fresh­wa­ter Fish w/ Weeds.  You can see Carl Saathoff’s excel­lent pho­tos of these and oth­er win­ners in the Win­ners’ Gal­leries in this issue of WOM.

The top three win­ners received cash prices of $200, $100, and $50 respec­tive­ly.  First and sec­ond place in each cat­e­go­ry received prizes of $50 and $25.

For infor­ma­tion about the 2014 Com­pe­ti­tion, which will be judged on August 21, 2014, vis­it the CCA web site at

Click HERE to vis­it the Win­ners Gallery, or click WOM in the main menu bar, then click The Gal­leries in the drop down menu.


CCA Seminar 2014

CCA Seminar 2014


The 2013 instruc­tors with some of the 2013 Com­pe­ti­tion winners.

The annu­al Car­i­ca­ture Carvers of Amer­i­ca (CCA) Sem­i­nar is held each year in con­junc­tion with the judg­ing of the Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion, round­ing out a busy week in Con­verse, IN. The instruc­tors for the 2014 Sem­i­nar are Dave Stet­son, Chris Ham­mack and Bruce Henn.  Par­tic­i­pants will carve one day with each of the instruc­tors in rota­tion over the three day sem­i­nar.  The fee of $165 includes the three days of instruc­tion and lunch;  blanks are an addi­tion $10-$15 per instruc­tor.  The 2014 sem­i­nar is sched­uled for Fri­day, August 22 through Sun­day, August 24.

As of Octo­ber 28th, the 2014 sem­i­nar is full.  How­ev­er, there is a wait­ing list, and every year there are sev­er­al can­cel­la­tions.  It is not unusu­al to work through a wait­ing list of 6 to 10 peo­ple. Please con­tact Bob Travis to be on the wait­ing list. or to cheek on cur­rent sta­tus. Bob’s email is  rltravis AT



From “Ol’ Don’s” Drawing Table

OlDonFrom “Ol’ Don” Draw­ing Table

 “Ol’ Don” Burgdorf presents The Lit­tlest Scout

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.

image description

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 W.C. Park­er




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.


Developing Your Creative Expression

Wood­carv­ing is sim­ply the reflec­tion of each indi­vid­ual carver’s expres­sion and artis­tic inter­pre­ta­tion of a giv­en sub­ject. This can come in many forms, rang­ing from abstract to real­ism. In todays carv­ing envi­ron­ment there are many teach­ing aids avail­able which enable the wood carv­er to devel­op the var­i­ous skills nec­es­sary to progress their carv­ing abil­i­ties.  The vast major­i­ty of these carvers begin with sim­ple projects where using the knife as the pri­ma­ry tool, which teach­es them the fun­da­men­tals such as under­stand­ing grain direc­tion, the char­ac­ter­is­tics of var­i­ous species of wood, and the uses and prac­tice of var­i­ous knife cuts.

Unlike when I began carv­ing, teach­ing aids are wide­ly avail­able. Today the new carv­er may elect to buy cut outs and rough outs as well as books and instruc­tion­al DVD’s to assist them in devel­op­ing their carv­ing tech­nique. They may spend count­less hours on video web­sites or choose to search for pic­tures of oth­er carvers’ work to give them ideas for their next project. In this con­text they soon may real­ize that what they carve are sim­ply copies of what some­one else has already done. There is noth­ing orig­i­nal about their carv­ing. It is sim­ply a dupli­ca­tion of some­one else’s creativity.

One form of wood carv­ing that I great­ly admire, though I have nev­er carved one, is car­i­ca­tures. Why? Because the car­i­ca­ture carv­er can cre­ate end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties, whether human or ani­mal. The car­i­ca­ture carv­er is also bridg­ing abstract and real­ism in a very unique way. If you ask any seri­ous car­i­ca­ture carv­er what is their secret I sus­pect they will tell you: obser­va­tion. They are con­stant­ly look­ing at facial expres­sions, body types, cloth­ing types and a myr­i­ad of oth­er fea­tures that enable them to trans­form an ordi­nary block of wood into an orig­i­nal carving. 

This process of obser­va­tion is rel­e­vant to all forms of woodcarving …

This process of obser­va­tion is rel­e­vant to all forms of wood­carv­ing, whether two dimen­sion­al or three dimensional.

A good exam­ple of seek­ing orig­i­nal­i­ty is where recent­ly I par­tic­i­pat­ed in a spoon carv­ing con­test, not as a com­peti­tor, but as a sup­port­er. Like many of the entrants I searched the inter­net look­ing at count­less spoons.  While the vast major­i­ty of those who entered this con­test were look­ing for ideas I took a dif­fer­ent approach. What I was look­ing for was to pro­duce an “orig­i­nal work” and was look­ing for some­thing that had “not” been done. This is the same approach I, as well as count­less oth­ers use for all carv­ings.  If it is a bird, for instance, I devel­op an idea, then a draw­ing and final­ly a pat­tern to pos­ture the bird in a unique way or pro­vide an orig­i­nal habi­tat to make the carv­ing an orig­i­nal work of art. If it is a relief carv­ing I nev­er look at pic­tures. I devel­op a scene in my mind and make lit­tle sketch­es and notes and then pro­duce a draw­ing to serve as my pat­tern or guideline.

One asset that is invalu­able to a wood­carv­er is the abil­i­ty to make basic sketch­es. This assists them in fine tun­ing what the actu­al carv­ing will become.  If you desire to carve a face then learn to draw eyes, noses, lips, ears, wrin­kles and vari­a­tions of each these facial fea­tures.  If you choose to carve birds then study birds and learn the phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of the species and then learn to draw the var­i­ous aspects such as heads, beaks, wings, tails, feath­ers, and so forth.  The same rings true for any giv­en sub­ject. This goes back to the fun­da­men­tal of Obser­va­tion.

As the wood­carv­er evolves his or her work begins to express spe­cif­ic traits and char­ac­ter­is­tics that dis­tin­guish their carv­ings from those of oth­ers. Of course this only occurs after many hours, months and years of prac­tice but that is the true beau­ty of wood­carv­ing. There are no mas­ters! There are only carvers con­tin­u­ing a life-long edu­ca­tion­al process; a process plagued with count­less mis­takes, a boun­ti­ful sup­ply of waste wood and a striv­ing desire to become just a lit­tle bet­ter with each com­plet­ed carving!

Per­ry A. Reynolds 2014


PerryReynoldsPer­ry Reynolds is a long-time carv­er from Mill Spring, NC.   You may vis­it his Carv­ing and Can­vas web site HERE    He also found­ing mod­er­a­tor of the Wood­carv­ing 101 — The Joy of Wood­carv­ing Face­book group HERE




Review: Carving Woodspirits

Carving Woodspirits:  Beyond The Basics

By Susan L. Hen­drix and Paul “PJ” Peery


Carving WoodspiritsCarv­ing Wood­spir­its:  Beyond The Basis was con­ceived with a fair­ly lofty goal in mind — to bridge the gap between the new­bie carv­er and the inter­me­di­ate carv­er.    Susan Hen­drix notes her hope the book will pro­vide a more expan­sive method for carv­ing wood­spir­its, explain why more expe­ri­enced carvers use a par­tic­u­lar tool or method, and will help read­ers gain a greater under­stand­ing of facial anato­my.  Hen­drix also men­tions that her meth­ods are only one of many ways to arrive at a fin­ished carv­ing and encour­ages stu­dents to try dif­fer­ent tools and meth­ods, and to nev­er stop learning

Carv­ing Wood­spir­its is a 64 page spi­ral-bound soft­cov­er book with glossy cov­er and good qual­i­ty paper.

Con­tents include:

  • About The Authors
  • Author’s Note
  • Safe­ty
  • Sharp­en­ing
  • Supplies/Materials
  • Tools
  • Instruc­tion­al Overview
  • Intro­duc­tion:  Facial Proportions
  • Carv­ing Woodspirits
  • Pat­terns
  • Gallery
  • Resources
  • Susan-isims

Hen­drix wise­ly doesn’t spend a whole lot of book space on top­ics such as safe­ty, sharp­en­ing,  and sup­plies & mate­ri­als. and in fact dis­pos­es of the first sev­en top­ics in eight pages.  Hope­ful­ly the some­what expe­ri­enced begin­ner carv­er has some famil­iar­i­ty with the haz­ards, mate­ri­als and tools, but if not, the brief dis­cus­sion should serve.

The intro­duc­tion to facial pro­por­tions pro­vides a con­cise overview of the stan­dard pro­por­tions of the face, from both frontal and pro­file views.  While brief, this overview like­ly exceeds the lev­el of infor­ma­tion found in many begin­ner carv­ing books.

The real meat of the vol­ume begins on page 10 with the step-by-step instruc­tions for carv­ing a wood spir­it.  Here you will find 121 detailed steps and progress shots that take you from a round­ed piece of wood to a fin­ished wood­spir­it.   Each step includes at least one detailed pho­to or sketch, with addi­tion­al use­ful tips scat­tered through­out the steps.  The text and pho­tos are large and easy to read, so no eye strain using this book.  Most pages have three steps and accom­pa­ny­ing pho­tos.    Some pho­tos are larg­er than oth­ers, based upon the view need­ed for the par­tic­u­lar step.

This is by far one of the most detailed treat­ments of wood spir­it carv­ing that I have encountered.

This is by far one of the most detailed treat­ments of wood spir­it carv­ing that I have encoun­tered.  The text is gen­er­al­ly quite clear, and the pho­tos sup­port the text points nice­ly.  The Tips and oth­er sup­ple­men­tary mate­r­i­al are excel­lent learn­ing points and mer­it par­tic­u­lar atten­tion from the new­bie carv­ing work­ing to tran­si­tion to the next skill level.

After the 53 pages of step-by-step instruc­tion, the read­er will find 7 pages of pat­terns and a 3 page gallery of fin­ished carvings.

The book con­cludes with a page of what her stu­dents have come to call Susan-isims; use­ful lit­tle quick gems  learned over twen­ty-five years of carv­ing, such as “Put your knife down BEFORE you scratch your nose,” and “By learn­ing the var­i­ous meth­ods you will even­tu­al­ly devel­op your own carv­ing style.”

Are there nits to pick with this book?   Actu­al­ly, darn few.  I would have liked to see a bit bet­ter light­ing on a few of the pho­tos, but gen­er­al­ly speak­ing the light­ing and qual­i­ty was good.   Some might think the intro­duc­to­ry mate­r­i­al was a bit light­ly cov­ered,  but I an com­fort­able with that in exchange for more and bet­ter detail in the actu­al carv­ing process.

If you are a new­bie carv­ing look­ing to upgrade your skill lev­el, or a more expe­ri­ence carv­er look­ing for anoth­er method of wood­spir­it carv­ing, then you should cer­tain­ly con­sid­er adding this book to your col­lec­tion.   Carv­ing Wood­spir­it:  Beyond The Basics is avail­able for $17.95 plus ship­ping from (Click HERE)


Review — Carving Fantasy & Legend Figures in Wood

Carving Fantasy & Legend Figures in Wood — Revised Edition

By Shawn Cipa


Fantasy Legend FiguresFox Chapel Pub­lish­ing recent­ly released a Revised Edi­tion of Shawn Cipa’s Carv­ing Fan­ta­sy & Leg­end Fig­ures in Wood.  This book was first released in 2005 and favor­ably reviewed by our Mike Bloomquist in the Nov/Dec ’05 issue of WOM.   (Click HERE to revis­it the orig­i­nal review).

So what is dif­fer­ent about the Revised Edi­tio?.  First off, the cov­er is much dif­fer­ent, fea­tur­ing a drag­on in addi­tion to the excel­lent gryphon found on the orig­i­nal cov­er.  The text is now a san serif, clean­er and more contemporary.

Mov­ing inside the book, the change to a clean­er, lighter, more con­tem­po­rary look con­tin­ues.   What did not change, how­ev­er, is the core con­tent itself — the book con­tains the same projects and pho­tos as the orig­i­nal edi­tion.  Bloomquist give the orig­i­nal four thumbs up back in 2005 and the new edi­tion cer­tain­ly doesn’t reduce that at all.

So if you have the orig­i­nal edi­tion, do you buy the new one?   Like­ly not, unless you have worn your edi­tion to tat­ters or are a con­firmed Shawn Cipa groupie.   (I sus­pect there are more then a few of those around.)

If you don’t have the book and are inter­est­ed in carv­ing fan­ta­sy fig­ures, then this would be a good edi­tion to add to your carv­ing library.

Carv­ing Fan­ta­sy and Leg­end Fig­ures in Wood is avail­able from your favorite carv­ing sup­ply hous­es at $19.99 plus tax and shipping.