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Wood Carving Techniques

LSIrish.com has 146 articles, posts, pages, and projects dedicated to wood carving.

Basic Wood Carving Techniques – 69
Beginners Relief Carving Projects – 26
Relief Carving Projects – 26
Chip Carving – 21
Spoon Carving – 14
Scroll Saw – 14

 

 

Wood Carving BasicsWalking SticksChip Carving         Mule Deer Relief
      American HeroesChip Carving Patternsaltered art wood carving             Altered Artbent round gougeSpoon Carving
scroll saw cutting a wood carving spoon blank     Scroll Sawwood caving the wooden spoonBasic Tool Kit            Cane CarvingCane and walking stick wood carving
Wizard Wands
free wood carving cane instructions by Lora Irish          Snake CaneTriangle Chips in Chip Carving    Chip Carving Motifs            Fish Decoys          Finishing Steps
Relief wood carving by Lora Irish   High Relief ShadowsCeltic Dragon Wood Carving by Lora Irish          Celtic Dragon       Birch Bark Carving          Tiki Chess Set
         Canada GooseAltered Art Wood Carving

Stop Cuts

Sharpening
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Wood Carving Free Projects, Lora Irish Books

 

 

cane, walking stick, and wizard wand carving
Wood Carving Walking Sticks, Introduction

Wood Carving Walking Sticks – Adding Extras
Wood Carving Walking Sticks – Common Tree Species
Wood Carving Walking Sticks – Harvesting
Wood Carving Walking Sticks, Gluing Your Joint
Wood Carving Walking Sticks, How to Clamp Your Cane Handle
Wood Carving Walking Sticks, How to Join Your Cane Handle
Wood Carving Walking Sticks, Working with Bamboo
Free Mountain Man Cane Carving Pattern

 

 

Twistie Stick Snake Carving by Lora Irish

Relief Carving Workshop by Lora S. IrishTwistie Stick Snake Cane Carving, Day 5
Twistie Stick Snake Cane Carving, Day 4
Twistie Stick Snake Cane Carving, Day 3
Twistie Stick Snake Cane Carving, Day 2
Twistie Stick Snake Carving Free Project
Walking Stick and Cane Handle Joinery
Wood Carving Walking Sticks

 

 

free walking stick wood carving project
Introduction to Cane Carving

Wildlife Carving in ReliefThe Basic Construction Used In Cane Carving
The Basic Joinery Used In Cane Carving
Adding a Leather String Grip to your Cane Carving

 

 

 

 


Four Methods to Cutting a Wooden Spoon Blank

Spoon, Fork, and Ladle Styles for Wood Carving
The Art of Spoon Carving by Lora S. Irish
Wood Carving a Basic Wooden Spoon
Styles of Wood Carved Spoons
Welsh Love Spoons
Welsh Love Spoons Introduction
Basic Cutting Techniques
Carving A Chain and Ball
Ball and Cage Carving

 

 

Lora S Irish blog Site Map
Wood Carving Fish Decoysfinishing and paintinf techniques for wood

Sun Fish Decoy
Ice Fishing Decoy Gallery Two
Ice Fishing Fish Decoy Gallery

 

 


Mule Deer Relief Carving Free Project by Lora Irish
Working in Levels – Mule Deer Relief Wood Carving Project
Shaping the Mule Deer – Mule Deer Relief Wood Carving Project
Wood Burning the Mule Deer Details
Dry Brush Painting – Mule Deer Relief Wood Carving Project

 

 

 

Relief Wood Carving Canada Goose Project
North American Wildlife Patterns for the Scroll Saw by Lora S IrishRelief Wood Carving Canada Goose Project, Part One
Relief Wood Carving Canada Goose Project, Part Two
Relief Wood Carving Canada Goose Project Part Three
Relief Wood Carving Canada Goose Project Part Four

 

 

 

Tiki Chess Set by Lora Irish

Great Book of Fairies by Lora S Irish

Tiki Chess Set, Beginner’s Carving Project


Classic Carving Patterns by Lora S IrishRussian Birch Bark Carving

 

 

 

101 Artistic Relief Patterns by Lora S IrishAltered Art Wood Carving

 

 


Wood Carving Celtic Dragon 3
Wood Carving Celtic Dragon 2
Wood Carving Celtic Dragon 1

 

Chip Carving
Free Chip Carving Wood Carving Pattern
Free Chip Carving Projects by L S Irish
Back to the Basics of Wood Carving
Chip Carving Common Mistakes
Chip Carving – Sampler Layout Pattern
Chip Carved Chess and Game Board
Chip Carving – Straight-Wall, Curve-Wall, Free Form
Chip Carving – Cutting Triangle and Square Chips
Chip Carving Hand Positions and Grips
Chip Carving Graphed Patterns
Chip Carving Supplies
Chip Carving Seminar
Free Chip Carving Pattern
Sharpening Your Chip Knives
Positive and Negative Space in Chip Carving
Chip Carving Shortbread Cookies
Sharpening Your Chip Knives


Carving the Relief Wood Spirit

Wood Grain with Acrylics and Oil Stain
Dry Brush and Rouging the Wood Spirit Face

 

 

 

 

 

More Technique and General Instructions

 

 

 

 

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how to trace your pattern to the wood

How to Trace Your Pattern on to Wood

Preparation – Begin by cleaning, and sanding your wood to create a smooth surface on to which you can transfer your pattern.  Remove all sanding dust using a dusting brush and clean, dry cloth.

Chose Your Tracing Media – There are three primary tracing products which are graphite paper, carbon paper, newspaper, and a soft #4 to #8 artist pencil.

Please share on Facebook and Pintrest!

 

tracing your pattern to the wood with graphite paperGraphite Paper Graphite paper can be purchased through both office supply and craft stores.  It comes in several colors, including gray, white, and blue for easy tracing onto different colors of wood.  Graphite leaves a very fine line on the wood and can be erased with a white artist eraser after you have completed your project.

 

 

 

 

how to trace your pattern to the woodCarbon Paper Carbon paper comes in 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets and has a very dark, heavy layer of tracing media on the back surface.  It is available in deep blue and black colors.  Carbon paper lines do not erase easily and should be carved or scraped away as your work your project.  Use this media on projects that will receive excessive handling or for long-term projects as it holds up very well.  Because carbon paper was primarily used with typewriter to create multiple copies, you may need to do a little searching to find it.

 

 

 

how to trace your pattern to the woodPencil Rubbing – My favorite way to trace my pattern to the wood is to rub the back of the pattern paper with a #4 to #8 artist pencil. This creates a layer of graphite that will easily transfer to the wood surface as your copy the pattern lines with an ink pen.  Pencil rubbings work extremely well for wood, gourds, and even leather.  Woodless pencils work wonderfully for tracing.

 

Newspaper – Heavily printed sheets of newspaper works wonderfully as a tracing media.  As you trace along the pattern lines the printer’s ink from the newspaper will leave a dotted line on the wood.  This process is especially good for extra large projects as out door signs or long, wide mantel boards.  The ink is easily erased with a white artist’s eraser.

 

tracing your pattern to the wood1.  Adjust your digital pattern as necessary to fit your project piece.  Print several copies of your pattern – one for the main tracing, one for cutting and tracing small areas of the pattern, and one for a reference to the detail lines of the design.

You will need a ruler, a small t-square or right angled triangle, a pencil, painters or masking tape, scissors, and several colors of ink pen.  Of note, my ruler is cork-backed to grip the wood surface and keep the ruler from sliding.

 

tracing your pattern to the wood2.  With a right angle triangle or small t-square mark the center vertical line of your project’s surface.

 

 

 

 

tracing your pattern to the wood3.  Use your ruler to find and mark the center point of your vertical line.

 

 

 

 

tracing your pattern to the wood4.  With the t-square or right angle triangle, draw a horizontal line across the project surface at the center point of the vertical line.

 

 

 

tracing your pattern to the wood5.  Fold your printed pattern into quarters, matching the outer pattern lines on the sides of the pattern. Place the folded pattern on to the wood, aligning the paper folds to the marked lines on the wood.

If you will using a pencil rubbing for your tracing media, open the folded pattern and rub the back of the pattern to completely cover it with pencil graphite.  Refold your pattern and begin the positioning steps.

 

 

tracing your pattern to the wood6.  Unfold your pattern, continuing to match folds in the pattern paper with your guidelines.  Cut several small strips of painters tape.  Use the tape to secure two sides of the pattern paper to the wood surface.

 

 

 

 

tracing your pattern to the wood7.  Use a colored ink pen to mark any changes you want to make in the pattern, so that you will follow your changes during the tracing process.

 

 

 

 

tracing your pattern to the wood8.  Slide your tracing media – graphite paper, carbon paper, newspaper – under the printed pattern with the tracing surface against the wood.  Trace along the pattern lines with a colored ink pen.  Use a light pressure, just enough to transfer the pattern line without leaving an indented score line from the ink pen’s point.  When your tracing is complete lift the pattern paper at one of the un-taped corners.  Check your work before you remove the pattern paper and tape.

 

 

tracing your pattern to the wood9.  Trace only those lines that you really need for your initial working steps.  For my Beta Fish relief carving I needed only the outlines of each area of the fish and the outlines of the grass to work the rough out carving steps.

 

 

 

tracing your pattern to the wood10.  When your project work is done, remove any remaining tracing lines using a white artist’s eraser.   Avoid colored erasers that can leave dye streaks on your carving or pyrography work.

 

 

 

 

tracing your pattern to the wood11.  Click on the small image on the right for your free full-sized, printable Beta Fish pattern – a design from Relief Carving Workshop, by Lora Irish.

 

 

 

how to trace your pattern to the wood12.  This second example is from the Wood Spirit Carving project posted on the Wood Carving Illustrated Forum.  The pattern was transferred to the wood using typewriter carbon paper because the project would require intense handling.

Relief Carving Wood Spirit Grape Man WIP – Over 250 detailed, close-up photos with step-by-step instructions of relief carving the wood spirit, green man face. This thread has had over 69,000 views!

how to trace your pattern to the wood13.  After the levels where established in the carving I cut my paper pattern into small sections that could be easily re-traced to the project.

 

 

 

 

 

how to trace your pattern to the wood14.  Click on the small image to the right for a free full-sized printable pattern.

 

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Lora Irish Free Projects


Our pattern site, ArtDesignsStudio.com,

Since Mike and I came to the web in 1997 I have posted a free, online, step-by-step seminar each year. Many of those seminars are posted right here on our blog at LSIrish.com, and some were posted to other wood carving, wood burning community forums.  I thought you would enjoy a list with links to some of our favorite past projects.

 

This year’s free, online seminar links:

Cross Crafting Wood Carving. Pyrography, and Scroll Saw Free ProjectCross-Crafting Seminar Introduction
Cross-Crafting Seminar Supply List
Cross-Crafting Seminar Free Patterns
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Scroll Saw Basics
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Setting Up Your Scroll Saw
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Scroll Sawing the Wood Spirit Face

Cross-Crafting Seminar, Wood Burning the Wood Spirit Face
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Colored Pencils for the Wood Spirit Face

 

Posted here at LSIrish.com

irish_tiki_0002Whittle Tiki Chess Set – Wood Carving
This beginner’s wood carving project will guide you through the cutting strokes that create those wonderfully expressive Tiki faces. Includes the free patterns to make your own chess set.

Basics to Painting – Painting your Wood Carving and Wood Burning
Have fun exploring the numerous techniques you can use to add coloring to your wood burnings, wood carvings, and scroll saw projects.

Postage Stamp Pyrography – Pyrography and wood burning
Have a little fun tonight working through how easy it is to wood burning Celtic interlocking lines and knots.

Canada GooseRelief Canada Goose Carving Seminar – Relief wood carving, pyrography, and painting
Explore the basic techniques used in relief wood carving, including working in layers and levels, undercutting, and smoothing the background. Then add fine detailing using your wood burning tool. Finish this step-by-step project by creating realistic coloring using the dry brushing technique.

Whittle Fish Seminar – Wood carving
Ice fishing decoys are quick, easy, and extremely fun to carve. All you need is a bench knife, a few pieces of basswood, some scrap leather or copper sheeting, and some imagination. Since these are primitive art, anything goes when carving fish decoys.

LSIrish_chip0009Chip Carving Seminar – Chip Carving, wood carving
Chip carving is a specialty area in wood carving. With the use of a short-bladed chip carving knife, small triangular cuts create intrigue motifs and designs. Includes a full-sized sampler pattern.

Celtic Dragon Plaque – Relief wood carving
This is an entry-level carving project for both relief carving and for working the interlocking patterns of the Celtic Knot

Wood Spirit Carving – Wood carving, cane and walking stick carving
Carving a human face into your next walking stick or cane is quite easy when you follow the step-by-step cuts shown in Carving the Planes of the Human Face.

Free Lora IRish Cane Carving ProjectTwistie Snake Carving – Wood carving, cane and walking stick carving
Not all of us are blessed to have a backyard wood lot where we can cultivate sassafras trees and honeysuckle vines for twistie stick canes. So in this in-depth tutorial learn how to carve that twisted stick pattern using a bench knife, a few small gouges, and basswood.

Pyrography Doodles – Pyrography and wood burning
If you have the burning desire to try your hand at the zen doodle craze or modern tribal tattoo look, you will want to read through this step-by-step wood burning project that uses textures, line designs, and fill patterns to create the finished mushroom design.

 

Irish_pixie_13Pyrography Steps to Portrait Burning – Wood burning and pyrography
Learn how to create realistic shadows and highlights in the human face in your next wood burning project.

Cougar Pyrography Project – Wood burning and pyrography
Learn how to create the fine fur in an animal portrait that incorporates realistic shading and shape to the animal’s face.

 

 

Pyrography Mask Project by IrishCeremonial Mask Pyrography – Pyrography and wood burning
This step-by-step project uses lots and lots of photos to guide you through an in-depth design created for first-time wood burners.

Pyrography Leather Burning – Leather burning and leather pyrography
Want to try your hand at leather burning? Then this tutorial is just what you are looking for. Includes not only the step-by-step photo instructions but also includes the binding steps for making your own leather artist journal.

wood carving a wooden spoonCross-Crafting Seminar Introduction – Step by Step Instructions for your first wooden spoon carving from scroll saw cutting to adding the oil finish

 

 

Leather Burned Jewelry, Project One – Discover how much fun wood burning leather scraps into wire-wrapped jewelry can be.

 

 

Posted on Other Message Boards or Forums

Please note that the following free L S Irish seminars and in-depth projects were posted by me, and hosted on other forums  – Wood Carving Illustrated Message Board, WoodWorkingChat.com, Woodcarvers Gazette, FamilyWoodworking.org Forum, WOM – Woodcarver Online Magazine.

Please note that you will need to sign-up as a member of these forums to have access to the photos included in each of the tutorials.

If you have questions about these projects please contact me directly, here at LSIrish.com or on my Facebook account, as I can not reply to you on this forum. If you do reply of any of these free tutorial, it will bring these threads to the front of the message board where other members may answer you.

freen man relief carving by Lora IrishRelief Carving Wood Spirit Grape Man WIP – Over 250 detailed, close-up photos with step-by-step instructions of relief carving the wood spirit, green man face. This thread has had over 69,000 views!

Levels in Relief – Learn how to break you carving pattern into levels for easy carving. This project will teach you how to identify the sky, background, mid-ground, and foreground of any design.

Burning your carvings – Pyrography can be an important technique for your wood carving. So learn how to use your wood burner to clean-up fine wood fibers, add detailing, and even add fine shaping to your next wood carving project.

African Mask Low Relief Carving – The African Mask project focuses on how to establish the levels of a relief wood carving during the rough-out stage of work.

Irish Pyrography Seminar – This in-depth pyrography project shows over 250 detailed, close-up photos, step-by-step instructions, and in-depth explanations of texturing, shadings, and fine line work used to create the Advertising Barn landscape.

Walnut Hollow Versa-Tool – Looking for that first wood burning tool, then take a few moments and read through this tutorial for an in-depth review of the Walnut Hollow Versa-Tool used to wood burn a Toucan Family.

Winter Birdhouse Wood Burning Tutorial – This in-depth, step-by-step project focuses on a winter bird house wood burning scene. The project takes you from the initial tracing of the design to the final coloring steps.

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Wood Carving a Wooden Spoon

Cross-Crafting Seminar, Carving a Wooden Spoon

wood caving the wooden spoonThe classic wooden spoon may be the easier beginner’s wood carving project there is.  During this session of our free, summer cross-crafting seminar we will work through the wood carving steps to shape the handle and bowl of a wooden fork.

Cross-Crafting Seminar Introduction
Cross-Crafting Seminar Supply List
Cross-Crafting Seminar Free Patterns
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Scroll Saw Basics
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Setting Up Your Scroll Saw
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Scroll Sawing the Wood Spirit Face
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Wood Burning the Wood Spirit Face
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Colored Pencils for the Wood Spirit Face
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Cutting a Wooden Spoon

Cross-Crafting Seminar, Carving a Wooden Spoon

Supplies:

1 – scroll saw cut wooden spoon, slotted spoon, or fork blank
wide sweep round gouge
narrow, half-circle, bent round gouge
bench knife or chip carving knife
carving gloves, thumb guard, or heavy terry cloth towel
150-, 220-grit sandpaper
6″ or large square of brown paper bag

wood carving a wooden spoon

Note: Working with the wood grain

 

wood caving the wooden spoon
As you work through the carving steps for this wooden fork you will need to pay close attention to the wood grain direction in each area of your work.  Both the handle and bowl of your wooden spoon are curve-shaped.  This means that at the widest point in the curve the direction of your cutting strokes must be reversed to work the knife or gouge blade with the grain. The grain direction of your wooden spoon blank determines the directions of your bench knife and gouge strokes.  You want to move the knife so that it runs with the open fiber ends of the wood grain, not into those open fibers.

Step 1: Rough-cut the edges of the handle along the back of the spoon.

wood carving a wooden spoon

Begin with your bench knife and using a paring stroke, pulling the knife blade towards you, round over the back edge of the lower section of the spoon bowl.  I am using carving gloves in these photos.  Gloves are cut resistant not cut proof!  So, please, watch carefully how you are holding your knife and where the knife blade will go if the knife slips out of the cut.  Often, I carve using thumb guards instead of gloves as they give me more movement in my hands.  If you have neither, use a thick terry-cloth towel in your holding hand as protection.

Step 2:  Rolling small cut strokes along the edge of the handle.

wood carving a wooden spoon
The sides are round by making many, small paring strokes, worked from the inside area of the handle, moving each new cut slowly towards the edge of the handle.  This first series of rounding paring cuts is worked from the center point of the handle towards the top edge of the handle.

wood carving a wooden spoonYou can see the progression of small cuts in this photo. Using a series of small cuts, worked from the center back towards the spoon’s edge creates a true curved edge instead of a lightly rounded sharp corner.

Step 3: Round over the second lower edge of the back of the handle.

wood carving a wooden spoon

Continue working the lower edge of the back of the handle by moving your cutting strokes to the second side of the spoon.  The smaller your cutting strokes the smoother the finished edge will be.

Step 4: Work the back handle edge towards the fork’s bowl area with your bench knife.

wood carving a wooden spoon

This rounding process is moved to the front portion of the back of the handle.  To work with the grain line of the wood, these cuts are made using a push stroke – pushing the knife blade away from you.

Step 5: Change the direction of your bench knife cuts to match the change in grain direction at the narrow joint between the handle and bowl.

wood carving a wooden spoon

Use a series of short, small bench knife cuts, worked from the center area of the handle towards its outer edge to round over the handle.  Stop your cuts where the handle narrows into the fork’s bowl area, as your wood grain direction will change at this point in the blank.

Step 6: Free the cutting strokes at the narrow joint.

wood carving a wooden spoon
Flip your spoon blank in your hand so that you are working the knife from the fork’s bowl area into the narrow joint with the handle.  This will bring the cuts from step 6 to meet the cuts you are making now, and free those cuts from the narrow area.

Step 7: Finish rounding over the edge of the back by working the fork’s bowl area.

wood carving a wooden spoon
Continue rounding over the back edge of the fork by working the bowl area with your bench knife.

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