Carving a Snowman

January 24, 2014

Living in Canada, a snowman is a subject everyone can relate to.

Snowmen collection 2014

Keeping the project small enough to hold, it is an excellent choice for anyone wishing to learn the basics of carving.

Using the three cuts: the stop cut, push cut and pull cut, a carver quickly gains the feel of carving with the grain, against the grain and across the grain while bringing the snowman to shape.

 I used block of  basswood (1.25″ X 1.25″ X 4″) to carve the following snowman using a detail knife.

Carving a snowman


On the top draw a circle is 1″ diameter and number the corners 1 to 4. On the bottom, the circle is 1.75″ and the corners are numbered 1 to 4. The numbering is for future reference. Corner 1 is the front, corners 2 is the left side, corner 3 is the back and corner 4 is the right side.


I marked line for the top of the brim for the hat. Measuring from the bottom Corner 1 - 3 3/8" Corner 2- 3 1/4" Corner 4 - 3 1/8 Corner 4 - 3 1/4

I marked line for the top of the brim for the hat. Measuring from the bottom mark

 Corner 1 –  3 3/8″

Corner 2 – 3 1/4″

 Corner 3 – 3 1/8″

Corner 4 – 3 1/4″


Using a stop cut I follow the line and remove the wood above the brim to create a cylinder 1" in diameter for the hat.

 Using a stop cut I follow the line and use a series of push cuts to remove the wood above the brim to create a cylinder 1″ in diameter for the hat. Mark the leather strap and feature  and the line for the lower brim measuring from bottom
Corner 1 – 3 1/8
Corner 2 – 3″
Corner 3 – 2  7/8″
Corner 4 – 3″


Mark on lower brim measuring from bottom Corner 1 - 3 1/8" Corner 2 - 3" Corner 3 - 2 7/8" Corner 4 - 3 1/4"

Make a stop cut on the line for the lower side of the brim of the hat and remove the would using a series of push cut.


Step 05

To establish the top of the scarf measure from the bottom and mark

Corner 1 to 4 – 2 1/2″

For the bottom of the scarf measure and mark

Corners 1 to 4 – 2 1/4″


Step 06

Use a stop cut on the top of the scarf and a series of down push cuts to establish the bottom of the head.


Step 07

Using a stop cut on the bottom scarf line and series of up push cuts establish the bottom of the scarf.

Round corners 1 and 3 for drawing on the front and back features

Notch corners 2 and 4 to establish the shoulders(to be rounded and detailed later)

Draw on the coat, arms and face


Step 08

Using small stop  and push cuts I carve the hat feature base first followed with the top of the feature and the leather strap.


Step 09

To give the hat a rounded weathered look slope the top down and to one side. On the lower side of the slope carve in a crease. Finish by rounding the top edge.


Step 10

Finish the hat by rounding the brim


Step 11

Round the Neck Scarf and mark an even number of lines around the neck


Step 12

 use a stop cut on the marked lines and push cuts to define each rib of the scarf.


Step 13

After finishing the scarf, continue to use a stop cut and a push cut to relieve the arms, coat collar, coat overlap, buttons, pockets and base.


Step 14 - a

To create a nose, use a 1/4″ dowel, taper the end and cut a 3/8′ piece off. Glue the cut off piece in place using 5 minute epoxy



Do final clean up and your ready for painting.

Woodcarving Shows and Competitions

January 23, 2014



2018 TBA at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Mt. Hope, ON

For Event Information:

  • Email:
    Show Manager:  Gina Downes
    Phone: 905-779-0422

Web site:



2018 TBA,    at the Manulife Financial Sportsplex, RIM Park, 2001 University Ave., Waterloo, ON.

Members of the Owl’s Nest & Grand Valley Woodcarvers clubs invite you to join them as a competitor or as someone who appreciates art.

Web sites : and



2018 TBA –  at the Heartland Forest Nature Centre, 8215 Heartland Forest Road(formerly Kalar Road), Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Admission: $3.00 at the door(kids under 12 are free)

for information contact: Marion D’ Amboise – phone: (905)354-8854, email:

web site:



September 29 to October 1, 2017 10am to 5pm – at Woodstock Fair Grounds

Web site:



October 21, 2017 – at the Recreational Complex, 1876 Valley Farm Road, Pickering Ontario

web site:



Natural Finish – Common Loon, Sleeping Gull and Wood Duck

February 16, 2013

It is nice to do a project where you can take advantage of the natural colour and grain structure of wood.


I used Cherry to carve a Common Loon

P1010316 (800x571)

P1010313 (800x571)

Butternut for a “Stylised Sleeping Gull”



and Cherry for a Wood Duck Drake.

P1010310 (800x571)

Paint a Santa Christmas Ornament

December 11, 2012

001 Painted Santas

There are many approaches to painting your Santa Ornament.

I like to use acrylic paints. On this project I use: 

01 supplies required

Paint brushes: A number 1 for the tight areas and a number 6 round for every where else

Boiled Linseed Oil tinted with Raw Sienna

Acrylic Paints

Titanium White, Ivory Black, Ultra Marine Blue, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Red Medium and Raw Umber

Painting Sequence

02 -back - apply titantium white to fur brim, tossil, hair and collar 03- Front - apply titantium white to fur brim, tossil, hair, beard and eyes

Apply Titanium White to the fur brim, tassel, hair and beard

04 - paint eyes looking to left or right 04 a - paint eyes looking to left or right)

Using a dot of Black Ivory I will establish direction of the eye to look either left or right and use Ultra marine blue for the iris 

05 - what happens next                                                                                                                                            

 Next, I apply a coat of boiled linseed oil tinted with raw sienna. This will  to seal the ornament and give the exposed wood a golden hew. 

 06 - appliy bolled linseed oil tinted with raw sienna 

 To high light the face I create a flesh tone by mixing 7 parts titanium white to 1 part yellow ochre and a small touch of cadmium red light 

While it is still wet I will put a dab of diluted cadmium red light on each cheek and wet blend to create soft pink blush cheeks

07 mixing flesh tone colour for face 08- use 7 parts titanium white, 1 part yellow ochre and a light dad of cadnium red light 09 - mix together and high light face with a thin wash.

  Red Cadmium medium mixed with a dab of raw umber is applied to the hat and coat.

010 - apply red cadmium medium to hat and body. 010a -  apply red cadmium medium to hat and body. 011 - for a darker red hat and body add a dab of raw umber to the red cadmium medium 011a - for a darker red hat and body add a dab of raw umber to the red cadmium medium

 Other colour choices for the hat and coat could be Hookers Green or Ultra Marine Blue 

morning santa

Enjoy the season and have fun

Carving a Santa Christmas Ornament – Introduction

November 7, 2012


I look at whittling as flat plane carving. The most popular results are seen as folk art with carving styles varying from region to region(French Canadian, Ozark, Scandinavian)

All you need is a knife and imagination and you are on your way.

Choosing a whittling project is a good place for anyone interested in woodcarving to start. The only tool you need is a knife and you learn the three basic cuts, the stop cut, push cut and the pull cut. The three cuts are used by all carvers in their projects. Learning the basic steps well and repetition of them is the best way in becoming proficient for future projects.

While applying the three basic cuts over and over again to shape your project it is important to “stop and strop”  the knife. 

The importance in keeping a sharp edge on your knife cannot be stressed enough. When buying tools, it is best if you select the best tools you can afford and make sure they come not only sharpened but honed as well.

Get in the habit to “stop and strop” your knife every half hour. It gives you a break from the project.

In keeping a sharp edge on your tools is an important part to enjoying woodcarving and more importantly not hurting yourself.


Always maintain a clean, clear, work area that is well lit. If you are limited to carving in the kitchen or dinning room make a small carving board or use a thick mat(Olfa product) to protect the table surface 

Wear hand protection. A kevlar glove, thumb guard or tape will save you from cuts and kicks. 

Never carve if you are tired or on medication that may affect your vision and coordination. Remember, woodcarving requires total focus and concentration.


7/8″x7/8″x3-1/2″ basswood block

black stove wire

acrylic paints


Detail knife

5/64 drill

protective glove



Carving a Christmas Santa Ornament – photo series

November 6, 2012
Pattern for Santa Ornament

Pattern for Santa Ornament

back and front templates were made to for marking reference points on corners of wood. reference markings have been applied to the back and front of block the first cuts will establish reference points for developing the orniment. draw a line to mark the hat and top of the fur lining remove wood from lines, this will define the hat. hat is carved mark top and bottom for nose and remove draw line for upper moustache and remove wood draw hair and hair to establish outline of face mark locariion for lower edge of collar on back view mark hair line and lower edge of collar remove wood to define hair line and coat to suit round beard to coat and draw eyes round hair to collar and collar to coat draw hair and carve draw lines for hair, moustache, beard and carve back view – hair has been carved and the bottom can be rounded to suit for painting Front view – the bottom can be rounded to suit – ready for painting

There are two great videos on YouTube that may help you with your Santa Ornament.

The first is “Guide to woodcarving Faces”  by SharonMyART.
The second is “woodcarving a Santa Face” by Scottcarving
Every instructor has a different approach in explaining how to carve a face but both are similar. I find it is good to listen to as many methods as possible before the magic of understanding clicks in and you say “of coarse I can see that now” and the feeling is good.

Carving a Christmas Santa Ornament

November 1, 2012

It is the time of year for me to start to get ready for Christmas. I started carving Christmas ornaments a few years ago. Carving a christmas ornament is great for anyone interested in learning how to carve and for those who just wish a simple project for practicing basic carving techniques.

Using a block of basswood, 7/8″X7/8″X3-1/2, it is my plan to carve one simple Santa christmas ornament every day for the coming week. After which I should have my version of this popular subject written as a step by step project.

Carving a Ring-necked Pheasant miniature Step 14

March 19, 2012

Glue the legs to the pheasant using 5 minute epoxy glue.

After the glue has set the legs in place you can build up and blend the legs to the body using wood epoxy putty

Allow to epoxy to set.

You are ready to prepare for painting.


Carving a Ring-necked Pheasant miniature Step 13

March 18, 2012

The toes and legs can be built up using Quick Wood Epoxy Putty. It is easier to build up the toes and lower legs before attaching them to the carving. While the Wood Epoxy Putty is setting up it is possible to add texture to the toe and leg using a dental tool.

Carving a Ring-necked Pheasant Miniature Step 12

March 17, 2012

add the spur toe. It measures 1/2″ in  length(including the nail)

Placed 1/2″ above and inline with rear toe