Archive for November 2014

November/December 2014 WOM

Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine Volume 18 Issue 6

2014 International Woodcarvers Congress. Award winning carvings.

2014 Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Congress

The Pondby James Spencer, Hud­son, MI

First in Group G — Fish, Aquat­ic Crea­tures, Amphib­ians, Rep­tiles, and Dinosaurs; First in Class 702 — Real­is­tic Fish, Painted

 Click image for a larg­er view

Hel­lo, Friends in Carv­ing -

Wel­come to the final issue of Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine for 2014.  

In Part 1 of this issue:

Susan Alexan­der’s Let’s Talk Carv­ing #1

Lora S. Irish’s Moun­tain­man Cane Topper

Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table: Mer­ry Christ­mas Snowman

Pete LeClair: San­ta

Events, Hap­pen­ings and Goings-On Updat­ed

Notes From The Net 2.0

Last Call For Pho­tos — 2014 San­ta Gallery

In Part II

2014 San­ta Gallery

Susan Alexan­der’s Let’s Talk Carv­ing #2

And More!

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


Susan Alexander’s Let’s Talk Carving #1

Susan bio shot  Neat And Organized – Dave’s Totes




Please refer to all man­u­fac­tur­ers’ label instruc­tions for prop­er prod­uct usage.

After record­ing my first video, I received emails and phone calls accus­ing me of being “neat and orga­nized.” This mis­con­cep­tion evi­dent­ly comes from the back­ground of my video – my tool shelf.

Allow me to set the record straight. The only time my stu­dio is any­thing close to being clean, is when I “neat­en it up” pri­or to tap­ing a video or tak­ing a pho­to­graph. Oth­er­wise (and I’m not proud of it) – it looks like a bomb went off in there.

I’ve read arti­cles from Mas­ter Carvers advis­ing that tools should be set down with the tips fac­ing away, not touch­ing each oth­er, and that we should clean up our wood chips. While I know this is excel­lent advice, it’s about as easy for me to fol­low as exer­cis­ing dai­ly while lim­it­ing my intake of ice cream and Snick­ers. I have good inten­tions, but heck, you know which way the road of good inten­tions is paved.

So, when Dave Myers from Onalas­ka, Wis­con­sin, pulled up a chair next to me in Tom Gow’s Bark Carv­ing Class at the Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress last June, and start­ed unload­ing his carv­ing sup­plies, I was total­ly awed and aston­ished! Now, there is a carv­er who is NEAT AND ORGANIZED in cap­i­tal letters.

Tote 7

On the sec­ond day of the five-day class, I told Dave that wood­carvers would love to see his equip­ment totes and know how he made them. Dave was kind enough to take pho­tos, email me ter­rif­ic instruc­tions, and allow me to share them with all of you. Carvers are the best people!

Look­ing at his totes, I thought that Dave had cut grooves into the ply­wood for the dividers. After read­ing his instruc­tions, I now know that he glued in the dividers — very smart and quite a lot easier.

Here are Dave’s instruc­tions and pho­tos on how to cre­ate his carv­ing totes – for glue, bot­tles, and wood­burn­ing tools. Dave even tells us where he pur­chas­es his totes, what thick­ness of ply­wood works for him, and the type of glue he prefers to use. Dave is one orga­nized carver!

 Dave Myer’s Equipment Totes

Over the past eleven years I have tak­en many carv­ing class­es and have dis­cov­ered that I arrive with­out all the sec­ondary essen­tials. Items such as a spray bot­tle with a solu­tion of water and alco­hol when encoun­ter­ing dry wood, or just plain water when wet paint­ing. Of course one should have his own bot­tle of Sim­ple Green and a brush to clean that piece you have spent dili­gent hours carv­ing. My solu­tion to arriv­ing at class total­ly pre­pared was to orga­nize. To that end I have devel­oped a plan that works for me.

To that end I have devel­oped a plan that works for me. Mate­ri­als need­ed are a Plas­tic Box, a thin sheet of hob­by ply­wood and a fast act­ing glue. Plas­tic box­es I use are are Sterilite found at stores such as Wal-Mart, or Shop­ko and come in var­i­ous sizes. Ply­wood sheets are the thin­ner type which can be found close by the bal­sa wood dis­plays used by hob­by­ists. They come in 12”X12” or 12”X24” sizes with thick­ness­es of 1/8”, 1/4” and 3/8”. My pref­er­ence is the 1/8” and 1/4” sizes. Price range is between $2 to $6 for both plas­tic box­es and wood. These stores con­tin­u­al­ly run coupon deals that can be print­ed from their Web sites reduc­ing the over all cost.

Glues I use are the fast dry­ing types. My pref­er­ence is the Cyano­acry­late glues found at most hob­by stores. My pref­er­ence is BSI but most oth­ers work fine also. The glue comes in var­i­ous con­sis­ten­cies: Thin, Gap Fill­ing, and Extra Thick. A spray-on Accel­er­a­tor is used to set the glue. If you make an error there is also a un-glue that can be applied to fix it. You sim­ply apply the glue, spray the Accel­er­a­tor and you are done. A word of cau­tion: use these in a well ven­ti­lat­ed area and don’t get glue on your fin­gers, as once you spray the Accel­er­a­tor your fin­ger will become attached also. Keep the un-glue close. Eye pro­tec­tion is also rec­om­mend­ed. I should note that although this is a two step process this type of glue is also found in a one step bottle.

The process is rather sim­ple. I gath­er the items need­ed to be orga­nized, place them on a sheet of paper and trace an out line around and between each item. Keep enough space between each item to make room for a par­ti­tion. After cal­cu­lat­ing the height need­ed for the tallest item select the right sized box. After deter­min­ing sizes for the base and par­ti­tions, I cut them out with a band saw and sand the edges. You will find that the cor­ners of the box are round­ed and the inside bot­tom of the box is small­er than the top. Thus you will need to round their cor­ners a bit. It may be a good idea to cut out the base dimen­sions on a piece of paper to drop in the con­tain­er before purchasing.

When going to wood­carv­ing class I use a large tote to put my mate­ri­als in and in that tote is a list of its con­tents. Includ­ed on that list are three box­es. The one with my liq­uids also had room for a small box of Band-Aids® and a bot­tle of iodine in case my skin should sur­round a knife blade. A sec­ond box has glues and a third con­tains wood­burn­ing tools, pow­er sup­ply, pens and replace­able tips.

Tote 1

Tote 2

Tote 3

Tote 4

Tote 5

Tote 6

Tote 8

Tote 9

Thanks Dave! I appre­ci­ate you allow­ing me to share your tote idea with oth­er carvers. I also know that I will nev­er be as neat and orga­nized as you are – but it does give me a some­thing to shoot for.

May your wood be plen­ti­ful and your tools stay sharp. Take care, carve lots, and always remem­ber to smile.




Lora Irish’s Mountainman Cane Topper

Mountainman Cane Carving Pattern

By Lora S. Irishmountainman_cane_sm06I have been carv­ing a Moun­tain Man Cane Top­per the last few days to use in a sharp­en­ing e‑project book.  Over the last three decades I have loved the joy of carv­ing, but I must admit that even after that long a peri­od there are some projects that just leave me with a full, big smile when I am done.  This Moun­tain Man Cane top­per is one of those moments.

Since I have lots of walk­ing sticks, I decid­ed to make this Moun­tain Man into a Talk­ing Stick, with a short, 16″ staff.  After the carv­ing, which is worked on a 1 1/2″ square by 6″ bass­wood block, was fin­ished, I drilled the 3/8″ mount­ing holes for my hard­wood join­ing dow­el.  Then I dry-checked the fit, test­ing that the dow­el fit tight and square to both the staff and the carving.

mountainman_cane_sm02My beloved hub­by, Michael, was watch­ing me work and com­ment­ed, “What that lit­tle old man needs is a long cher­ry wood pipe!”.  I knew instant­ly he was absolute­ly right, so I head­ed off to our wood to find a cher­ry branch the right size for my carv­ing.  I cut the branch as shown in the pho­to, then cut a shal­low hole in the top of the pipe area for the bowl.



mountainman_cane_sm03With a 3/16″ drill bit I cre­at­ed a hole in the bot­tom side of the pipe where it would touch the Talk­ing Stick, and a hole is the stick at the same place.  A 1″ piece of 3/16″ dow­el could then be set into the pipe bot­tom to anchor and secure it to the staff.

To strength­en the pipe bit in the mouth, I used a small round gouge to cre­ate a hole in the under­side of the mus­tache so that about 1/2″ of cher­ry wood stem can be set into the carving.

With wood glue I set the hard­wood dow­el for the cane top­per and the talk­ing stick staff.  Next, using a one yard length of 1/8″ raw hide leather cord, I wrapped the joint between the carv­ing and the staff.

mountainman_cane_sm05The com­plete cane now has two join­ing dow­els – one to secure the carv­ing to the talk­ing stick staff, and one to join the bot­tom of the pipe to the staff.  The hole inside the mus­tache area is large enough to allow my pipe to shift, and shrink light­ly as it dries.  The leather raw hide dis­guis­es the joint line between the carv­ing and the stick.

Because my cher­ry wood pipe is fresh cut wood, it is only dry-set into place.  In a cou­ple of months, after the cher­ry dries well I will glue it into its final posi­tion.  Well, I couldn’t help but grin ear to ear when I showed Michael how won­der­ful­ly his idea worked out!   And this project and the smile it brought to me even after decades of carv­ing, sim­ply remind­ed me of how much joy the art of wood carv­ing brings.

So, I want to share that joy this morn­ing by giv­ing you, for your per­son­al use, the pat­tern for this Moun­tain Man Cane top­per, so you can cre­ate your own!  Click on the image to the right for a full-sized copy of this free wood carv­ing pattern.

Irish_Mountainman_Cane_02 Irish_Mountainman_Cane_01Click on any of the images for a larg­er version.

LoraIrishLora S. Irish is a carv­er and designs projects and tuto­ri­als for carv­ing, pyrog­ra­phy and relat­ed art.  Her line art pat­terns and draw­ings site, fea­tures line art designs cre­at­ed exclu­sive­ly by Lora for craters and arti­sans.   Her blog, at, fea­tures hun­dreds of pages of free projects and tutorials.



From “Ol’ Don’s” Drawing Table

OlDonFrom “Ol’ Don” Draw­ing Table

 “Ol’ Don” Burgdorf presents Mer­ry Christ­mas Snowman

image description

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. Some of Don’s “Chat­ter­ing Chip­pers” pat­terns can also be seen at the Wood­carver’s Porch pat­tern page.

Copy­right 2011–2014 “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 San­ta

Santa master-A

Santa master

Santa 2003 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 — 2013 by Pete LeClair.

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


Notes From The ‘Net 2.0

Notes From The Net

Ques­tions and Answers About Carv­ing Gath­ered From Pop­u­lar Carv­ing Groups

 Edit­ed by Matt Kelley


Wel­come carv­ing friends to NFTN, ver­sion 2.0.   In this ongo­ing series we will gath­er the best ques­tions, answers and com­ments from the more active Face­book carv­ing groups, such as the Wood­carv­er List, Wood­carv­ing 101 — The Joy of Wood­carv­ing, and the Inter­na­tion­al Fish Carvers & Painters Asso­ci­a­tion, and present them here.

Enjoy, and Carve On!

Tip for new carvers

Per­ry A. Reynolds offered the fol­low­ing tip in the Wood­carv­ing 101 “The Joy of Wood­carv­ing” FB group:

For all of you very new to carv­ing, START SLOW and just start with a cou­ple of basic tools to see if carv­ing will hold your inter­est.  Watch a cou­ple of Youtube videos or join a club to basi­cal­ly just learn to use your tools.  The wean your­self off of Youtube and carve.  There is only ONE way to get bet­ter and that is sim­ply putting your tools to wood.  Hours spent under­stand­ing grain and the use of your tools is the only way that you become bet­ter.  If you are an indi­vid­ual that seeks “Instant Grat­i­fi­ca­tion” then carv­ing will most like­ly not suit you.  Carv­ing is some­thing that every­one con­tin­ues to learn from the first day they pick up a knife until the last day they carve before going to that great wood yard in the sky.”


Test before staining

Tami Affold­er-Sealscott asked on the Wood­carv­er List FB group:  “Look­ing for some good tips on stain­ing.  Is there a test I can do on my piece before I stain to make sure I have all the nicks and stuff out before I stain?  I thought the piece I was work­ing on was all sand­ed smooth, felt like it.  But once I stained I saw the rough spots and it looks blotchy.  Now going to re-sand it.  Any advice?”

Bill Drap­er replied:  “I put rub­bing alco­hol on the piece to high­light any remain­ing scratch­es.  The alco­hol does­n’t raise the grain of the wood and evap­o­rates quick­ly with no residue.”

David Salser added:  “There is a pre-stain prod­uct you can use to help elim­i­nate blotchy spots.  I have used it on bass­wood and it works well.”  David then added a pho­to of Min­wax Pre-Stain wood con­di­tion­er, which is avail­able in both oil-based and water-based versions.


Hold­ing small carvings

In the Wood­carv­er List FB group, Michael Antho­ny Zelo­nis asked about meth­ods of hold­ing small carvings.

Bar­ry Doucette was one of sev­er­al that respond­ed:  “I made a ban bag out of dry rice and a burlap bag with a plas­tic bag hold­ing the rice inside the burlap bag.  I filled it 3/4 full so I [can] mold it around the piece.  I carve pine knots and most don’t fit in a vice and I can form the bag around the piece to secure it and turn it eas­i­ly to carve a dif­fer­ent area.”


That’s it for this edi­tion of NFTN 2.0.    If you see a post on one of the FB groups or Mail List­servs that you think should be pre­served in NFTN, please use the form below to sub­mit your suggestion.

NFTN Suggestions

Sug­ges­tions for NFTN
  • Please enter your name
  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
    Please enter the sub­mis­sion date.
  • Please enter your email address — this is a required field
  • Please enter your sug­ges­tion for inclu­sion in Notes From The Net. Include the date of the post, the name of the per­son who start­ed the dis­cus­sion, names of those who pro­vide the best respons­es. It is impor­tant that you include the NAME of the Face­book group or mail list­serv.. Your email address will only be used to clar­i­fy your sug­ges­tion, if need­ed. Thanks for your suggestion.

Call for Photos: Santa Gallery ’14


San­ta Carv­ing sign by Tim Berry


LAST CALL:  Date to sub­mit carv­ings has been extend­ed to the end of November!

The Annu­al San­ta Gallery will once again grace the pages of November/December issue of WOM. You are invit­ed to sub­mit pho­tos of favorite San­tas or oth­er sea­son­al item you’ve carved in the last 12 to 18 months.

Sub­mis­sions should be sent to womed­i­torATcom­castDOTnet; alter­nate­ly, you may send a link to a gallery such as Flickr that stores files at their orig­i­nal size.

Please include the fol­low­ing infor­ma­tion with your high qual­i­ty photos:

Title of Carving

Size (approx)



About the design:

  • From your own design?
  • Carved in a class led by …
  • Inspired by a design by …
  • From a rough out by …
  • From a pat­tern by …
  • Etc …

 Sub­mis­sions due no lat­er than Novem­ber 30


Ques­tions, queries, posers? Send email to womed­i­torATcom­castDOTnet