Archive for September 2015

September/October 2015 WOM


Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine Volume 19 Issue 5

2015 Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Congress

3rd In Group — Minia­ture — (Max Size 3″ x 3″ x 3″ Cube), 2nd In Class 1o01 — Animal/s

Play Time

2′ x 2″ x 2″

Lila Gilmer, Simp­sonville SC

Hel­lo, Friends in Carv­ing -

We are pleased to wel­come Helvie Knives as the newest spon­sor of Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine and   Helvie Knives offers a vari­ety of high qual­i­ty hand-make knives, includ­ing the Sig­na­ture Col­lec­tion and cus­tom blades and han­dles.   Click on the graph­ic in the Spon­sor side­bar to vis­it the Helvie website.

In this issue:

  • Susan Alexan­der’s Let’s Talk Carv­ing #11
  • Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table: Tree­top
  • Pete LeClair: Hamilton
  • Call For Pho­tos — San­ta Gallery 2015

Com­ing up in October:

  • Pho­to Gallery - Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carv­er Con­gress 2015 Win­ners
  • Events, Hap­pen­ings and Goings-On Updat­ed
  • Notes From The Net
  • Susan Alexan­der’s Let’s Talk Carv­ing #12
  • Book Reviews

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



Pho­to by Marc Feath­er­ly at IWC ’14

Matt Kel­ley


Susan Alexander’s “Let’s Talk Carving” Issue 11

Susan bio shot    The Most Funnest* Carving Competition Ever!

Please refer to and fol­low all man­u­fac­tur­ers’ direc­tions.  Safe­ty First!





Enter­ing a carv­ing com­pe­ti­tion usu­al­ly involves a whole lot more than carv­ing a com­pe­ti­tion-wor­thy piece. What type of wood should you use? Do you have the right size at home, or do you have to go out and buy wood? Is the com­pe­ti­tion close enough so you can deliv­er your carv­ing, or do you have to search for the cor­rect size box, gath­er pack­ing mate­r­i­al, pack it up, add postage, mail it, pray it gets there safe­ly and then there is the cost and pack­ing of the carving’s return trip home. All this takes time, and you haven’t even start­ed the funnest* part yet – carving!

I cer­tain­ly am not try­ing to dis­suade you from enter­ing any/all carv­ing com­pe­ti­tions; go for it, espe­cial­ly the 50th Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress in 2016, as well as your local carv­ing club competitions.

… how­ev­er …

I am here to offer you the oppor­tu­ni­ty of hav­ing some plain, old-fash­ioned, sit­tin’ on the back porch while the autumn leaves fall, carv­ing FUN in the next few weeks! I’m speak­ing of the third annu­al Helvie Knives’ Han­dle Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion, run by Rich and Hol­li Smith­son, own­ers of Helvie Knives. This carv­ing com­pe­ti­tion offers all of the fun and none of the hassle.

For $5, which includes your entry fee, Rich/Holli (prob­a­bly Hol­li) will send you exact­ly what you see in the pho­to below – an unsharp­ened dum­my knife with a 6 inch bass­wood han­dle and an entry form.

Helvie Knife Handle Blank and Entry Form

Helvie Knife Han­dle Blank and Entry Form


If your carv­ing turns out spec­tac­u­lar­ly well, and you want it returned in lieu of allow­ing it to join the 170 oth­er carved knife han­dles dis­played at Helvie’s head­quar­ters, then send an addi­tion­al $5 when you mail off your carved knife han­dle and they’ll send it back to you after the competition.

Of course, there are a few rules. This is the third year of the com­pe­ti­tion, and the rules have been firmed up a bit because carvers are such a cre­ative bunch. Basi­cal­ly, it’s just “carve the han­dle with­out cut­ting it apart or glu­ing any add-ons to it, and leave the blade alone.” Not sure what exact­ly is allowed? Go to web­site and read the rules.

I asked Hol­li to send me a few pho­tos of knife han­dle carv­ings from past years so you can have an idea of what types of carv­ings have been done in the past….looks like every­thing from A to Z!





It’s great that Helvie offers three sep­a­rate prize categories:

  • Begin­ners’ Class – 1 year or less experience
  • Inter­me­di­ate Class – 1 to 3 years experience
  • Open Class – Any­one regard­less of experience

You are on your hon­or to enter the cor­rect class. Carvers are an hon­est group of peo­ple main­ly because it is a small com­mu­ni­ty and we would all know if you fibbed.

To receive your Helvie blank, send $5 to:

Helvie Knives

P.O. Box 145

Tip­ton, IN 46072

Now, this is the impor­tant part. To get your atten­tion, I am putting this in bold and red, typ­ing it in cap­i­tal let­ters, and cen­ter­ing the lines.


BY OCTOBER 16, 2015.

It takes a few days for the post office to deliv­er your check to Helvie, and then anoth­er few days to receive your blank. Turn around time for me was less than a week.

If, in the next day or two, you put a check in the mail to them, by the time you receive your blank, you should have a good two weeks to carve and fin­ish you knife han­dle and get it back to Helvie by Octo­ber 16. That is more than enough time for you to turn out a com­pe­ti­tion-wor­thy 6” carv­ing. Sounds like a ter­rif­ic carv­ing club project to me.

I asked Hol­li if the met­al used in the dum­my knife could be sharp­ened, and she said, “No, but it could be used as a great but­ter knife.”

That cinched it! I sent Helvie a $15 check, less than the cost of a deliv­ered piz­za. For that I received two blanks ($5 each) and guar­an­teed return ship­ping ($5). My $15 invest­ment, even if I don’t win a prize (great prizes, by the way – see below), is well worth hav­ing two real­ly cool but­ter knives.

Got ques­tions about the com­pe­ti­tion that I haven’t answered? Call Hol­li Smith­son at Helvie Knives at 765–675-8811, or email her at You can also check out for addi­tion­al information.

If you send me pho­tos of your Helvie carved knife han­dles, I’ll run them, with your name, in the Novem­ber issue. It would be great to see everyone’s carv­ings. You can send your pho­tos to

Helvie will take all carv­ing entries to the Rene­gade Roundup in Ten­nessee to be judged by CCA mem­ber, Steve Brown.  Par­tic­i­pants do not need to be in atten­dance to win. Win­ners will be noti­fied either by phone or email – your choice.

Speak­ing of win­ning, we have to thank Lar­ry and Car­ol Yud­is, own­ers of The Wood­craft Shop (click their ad in the col­umn to the right to go direct­ly to their online store), for gen­er­ous­ly offer­ing the fol­low­ing prizes:

  • $70 Gift Cer­tifi­cate for First-Place in the Begin­ners’ Class
  • $50 Gift Cer­tifi­cate for First-Place in the Inter­me­di­ate Class
  • $30 Gift Cer­tifi­cate for First-Place in the Open Class

Wait … there’s more.

We also have to thank Gene Webb, of Gene Webb Wood­carv­ing (click his ad in the col­umn to the right to go direct­ly to their online store), for gen­er­ous­ly offer­ing the fol­low­ing prizes:

  • The Gene Webb DVD of your choice for First-Place in the Begin­ners’ Class
  • The Gene Webb DVD of your choice for First-Place in the Inter­me­di­ate Class
  • The Gene Webb DVD of your choice for First-Place in the Open Class

Wait … there’s still more.

Oth­er carvers and com­pa­nies are com­ing on board in sup­port of the Helvie Knife Han­dle Com­pe­ti­tion. Helvie has already received and will award two $25 gift cer­tifi­cates from Chip­ping Away, two rough­outs from Jim His­er, and a spe­cial carv­ing from Don Mertz, cur­rent sec­re­tary of Car­i­ca­ture Carvers of Amer­i­ca.

Wait … there’s even more!

Every first-place win­ner will receive a Helvie Knife of their choice. Click on the Helvie Knife logo in the col­umn to the right to go direct­ly to Helvie’s online store where you will see hun­dreds of knives made to the spec­i­fi­ca­tions of some of the finest carvers in the world, and avail­able to you. Over­whelmed with which knife is best suit­ed for your style of carv­ing and size of your hand, or have a spe­cif­ic need? No prob­lem! Speak with the own­er, Rich Smith­son, at 765–675-8811 and tell him I told you to call. He is accus­tomed to work­ing with carvers. After ask­ing you a few ques­tions, Rich will be able to give you his knife rec­om­men­da­tions. Talk about per­son­al ser­vice! Start­ing this month, Helvie Knives is one of our new spon­sors. Please wel­come Hol­li and Rich Smith­son to the Carvers Com­pan­ion and the Let’s Talk Carv­ing family.

Carvers help­ing carvers.


You Are Never Alone

H.S.'Andy' Anderson and Harold Enlow

H.S.‘Andy’ Ander­son and Harold Enlow

So … who is stand­ing over your shoul­der, whis­per­ing into your ear? Don’t turn around. You won’t see the line of carvers who have giv­en you the help and encour­age­ment that made you the carv­er you are today, but they are all behind you. Even if you can’t see them, slow down for a moment the next time you carve and you may very well feel them, and if you are like me, hear them, as well.

At the last Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress ban­quet, I sat with Neil Cox, Vic Hood and Ter­ry Brash­er. When I got home and start­ed a carv­ing, they came to mind. Think­ing about them, I felt bad­ly that I hadn’t told them how each had influ­enced my carv­ing edu­ca­tion. Every time I reach for a V‑tool, I hear Neil’s gen­tle voice sug­gest­ing to start with a vein­er because it is eas­i­er to fix a mis­take made with a vein­er than a V‑tool. When­ev­er I believe the face I’ve carved is just about done, I hear Vic Hood telling me I could go “deep­er.” When I’m lay­ing out a face, Ter­ry Brash­er is remind­ing me to mea­sure my face by the size of the eyes so it will fit into the size wood I’ve chosen.

Although I thought about it dur­ing the ban­quet, I nev­er told Neil, Vic or Ter­ry, “Thank You,” but I’m doing that right now.

So, how about you? Who is stand­ing over your shoul­der? Do they know that they’ve helped you? Besides thank­ing them, we should be pass­ing along their nuggets of wis­dom. That’s what carv­ing and this col­umn is all about.

While I was think­ing about adding this new fea­ture, it just hap­pened that, on the same day, I spoke with both Rick Jensen and Lar­ry Yud­is, so I asked them who they would thank, and why. You’ll see their respons­es below.

I’ve already primed the pump, but here are two more peo­ple I want to thank, with more next month, because I’ve got a thou­sand of ‘em.

Kei­th Miller, the first per­son who put a bench knife and a piece of bass­wood in my hands taught a Wednes­day night carv­ing class at The Cen­ter in Palos Park. Kei­th extolled the virtues of look­ing at a carv­ing not only right side up, but upside down, down from the top, up from the bot­tom, and from both sides. After I would do a “quick” scan of my carv­ing, hop­ing it would be “good enough”, he would take it from my hands and point out what this novice carv­er had over­looked. Yes, Kei­th, I remem­ber you say­ing, “It isn’t done until I say it’s done.” Thank you, my friend. If not for you, this won­der­ful carv­ing com­mu­ni­ty would not be a large part of my life.

Rick Jensen, 2014 WCI Carv­er of the Year, reminds me (to this day) that it is vital to wear an apron with a front leather insert when pow­er carv­ing because a bit going at 40,000 RPM can grab your clothes and hurt you bad­ly. To dri­ve that point home, he has told me, in graph­ic detail, what he has seen an out-of-con­trol bit do to a carv­er. Before I even sit down to carve, I look at my pow­er carv­ing equip­ment, hear Rick’s words and reach for my leather apron.

Thank you’s from:

Rick Jensen: I always think of my good friend, Harold Enlow, every time I do a demon­stra­tion.  Harold taught me how to carve clean and how to impress peo­ple when I carve by using large tools to make big bold cuts.  He also taught me how to hold an audience’s atten­tion while carv­ing by mak­ing these large dra­mat­ic cuts and telling jokes and stories. 


Lar­ry Yud­is: I guess if I’d have to put into a few words how Harold Enlow influ­enced me it would be:  Remem­ber, it’s just a piece of wood … and, some­times you have to impro­vise.  That just showed me a per­son shouldn’t get all worked up if some­thing isn’t turn­ing out quite the way it was intend­ed.  Change your pat­tern … change your plans … improvise! 

You must know what I need­ed to do after hear­ing Rick and Lar­ry thank Harold. I had to speak with Harold Enlow.

While I prob­a­bly own every Harold Enlow book, I had nev­er met the leg­endary carv­er. I called Rick Jensen for Harold’s phone num­ber. Took a deep breath, called Harold, intro­duced myself, told him about this new fea­ture, that both Rick and Lar­ry had cho­sen some­thing he had taught them to pass on to our read­ers. Then I asked Harold, “Who would you want to thank and why?”

Harold told me that, with­out a doubt, it would be H. S. ‘Andy’ Ander­son. Andy’s car­i­ca­ture carv­ing book influ­enced Harold’s entire life, which is accu­rate when you remem­ber that Harold Enlow is known as the God­fa­ther of Mod­ern Day Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing, writ­ten numer­ous books with their accom­pa­ny­ing study sticks, is a tool mak­er, black­smith, and a found­ing mem­ber of CCA, the Car­i­ca­ture Carvers of Amer­i­ca.

I won­dered if Harold and Andy had ever met. Harold said that although he was sta­tioned in Albu­querque, New Mex­i­co, while Andy was liv­ing in San­ta Fe, unfor­tu­nate­ly he had nev­er had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet Andy, and would prob­a­bly have been hes­i­tant to talk to such a famous carv­er. I told Harold now he knew how I felt talk­ing to him.

So this part of our sto­ry almost comes to an end, except … just before we hung up, Harold men­tioned a pho­to that Don Arnett had manip­u­lat­ed a few years back … that includ­ed Harold and Andy.

Of course, I couldn’t let that lie. I had to con­tact Don Arnett. You’ve already seen Don’s won­der­ful, heart-warm­ing pho­to at the begin­ning of this fea­ture. Thank you, Don, for allow­ing us to share it with our readers.

So, my carv­ing friends, this is a bit like, except a carvers’ ver­sion. It was Andy Anderson’s book that influ­enced Harold Enlow who influ­enced Rick Jensen, Lar­ry Yud­is and an entire world of carvers, and, in the end, it was Andy in Don Arnett’s pho­to that inspired the name of this new Let’s Talk Carv­ing fea­ture, You Are Nev­er Alone.

I won­der who was look­ing over H. S. ‘Andy’ Anderson’s shoulder.

If you have a carv­er or instruc­tor you would like to thank, use the form below to send me their name, and in a few sen­tences what they specif­i­cal­ly taught you that improved your carv­ing skills and creativity.

You can send me one or numer­ous “Thank You” mes­sages to be pub­lished, as space per­mits. They can either be for the same per­son or for dif­fer­ent peo­ple. In today’s world, we can’t have too many “thank you’s” float­ing around out there, plus what­ev­er it was that helped you be a bet­ter carv­er will now be read and help oth­er, new­er carvers.

Carvers help­ing carvers~

Until then, gen­tle read­er, may your wood be plen­ti­ful and your tools stay sharp. Take care, carve lots, and always remem­ber to smile.


*Yes. I know there is no such word as “funnest.” I made it up. It’s one of the perks of writ­ing this column.



From “Ol’ Don’s” Drawing Table

OlDonFrom “Ol’ Don” Drawing Table

Ol’ Don” Burgdorf presents Tree­top

image descriptio

image descrip­tio

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

Copy­right 2011–2015 “Ol’ Don” Burgdorf. This Pat­tern may be copied for indi­vid­ual use; repro­duc­tion for resale is pro­hib­it­ed with­out express writ­ten permission.

From Pete LeClair — Hamilton

Pete LeClair

Pete LeClair’s Projects

Pete LeClair’s Hamilton

Hamilton Master

Hamilton 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 — 2015 by Pete LeClair.

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

Call for Photos: Santa Gallery ’15


San­ta Carv­ing sign by Tim Berry

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 Octo­ber 15


Ques­tions, queries, posers? Send email to womed­i­torATcom­castDOTnet