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
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  • 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