Thursday, August 21, 2014

Whittling and Wood Carving


Here we officially define the whittling of wood and the carving of wood using simple hand tools  such as a whittling knife or a Flexcut blade of wood carving tools. The techniques and instructions with examples are included for all to benefit from.

Patriotic Wood Carving Detailed with Decorated finishes
Patriotic Wood Carving c 1800 - On mount and Decorative Painted

Whittling and Wood Carving

Carving wood in its simplicity and pure form is the message. To produce something in a spontaneous manner  and which is personals  for that moment this is what it is.In this day of mass production and copying this activity is original. What the craft man produces is original. That item is the only one of its kind  in the world. 

 Ever since man could break and hold up a stick he has been involved in wood whittling  of some form or  another. The first fashioning of  a stick point is the most primitive action of whittling or wood carving or wood sculpture.

   Down the ages from a clam shell or a sharp edged rock to a pocket knife or a specialized knife this activity has evolved in to an art form.
In modern society the earliest image is that of the old guy sitting on the porch in the country with a piece of wood in his hand cutting and shaping away. 
  Today this process has reached a very evolved art form which has even commercial possibilities. You can sell these special today  carvings into a market where there is demand or you can become a paid teacher to students here.


The first point about whittling is that it is for recreation and relaxation. Like all hobbies where you  do things with you hands and actually create some thing for keepsake or for use this is deeply satisfying.

  Creating something through you hands is therapeutic and even meditative.  It is active and therefore  positive to your well being in a way that builds. This is different to going to the bar every night to come back to peace and calm again after a hard day or a restless moment. And it is portable and very cheap activity to do. All you need is a pocket knife and a small piece of wood and you’re all set to go.
One of the nice things is that you can be working on different projects all over the place. The difference  between whittling and woodcarving the way I see it is to do with mind space.  In carving or wood sculpture
 you are settling up the project in a goal oriented way with planning and standards of execution in mind  whereas with whittling you just sit down look out at the view for a moment and carve away with anything or not too much to mind and let some spontaneity play over it


     As said before this art form has reached such an evolved level that it has commercial 
value. That objects can be sold into a market such as craft fairs or into retails outlets or  online sale outlets. Only certain whittling woods are mostly used .

Patriotic Cap  Wood Carved with later paint decoration

Liberty Cap Wood Carving c 1800 - Decorative Painted

Woods for Whittling

Here are many types of woods suitable for woods for whittling and wood carving  and the choice is  personal and is around the type of project to be made. Before using a wood there are some considerations.

 There are the issues of type of grain, damage to the wood,imperfections and the wetness. Damp or wet wood is more difficult for carving or whittling and thereafter might warp or crack on drying....Read More >>


Whittling and Wood Carving Techniques

The techniques for wood whittling or carving or sculpting are the standard ones in use for learning how to  carve in wood. They have been use in time and memorial here for this art of shaping wooden figures 

and the like........More on Carving Techniques >>

Knives used in Wood Carving and Whittling 

  If you want to know how to carve wood then one needs the right tools to whittle or carve with. This is both a personal and technical quest to produce the most lovely carvings. study of what carving tools are available and what suites you is by experimentation and research. Here are some of the best around............... More on Wood Carving >>

  Every hobby such as this wood craft of carving in wood needs resources to have best results . Whether this be a n instruction book on whittling or a thumb guard these are outlined here and are all important.........More on Resources >>

YouTube Videos on Whittling and Wood Carving Wood 

Here we present examples of wood whittling and the carving techniques for timber by way of You Tube videos ........ >>

Wood Carving 

The carving of wood is a deeply satisfying pastime as both a Hobby of passion and a business  opportunity . Yes there are people who earn a full time living doing this as there is an ongoing demand for old tradition in this techno bent world. Its a stable sane way to literally carve a  place for you in the world toady if you want .... More on Wood Carving >>  

Finishing and Decorating Wood Carvings

When we have the final carved project one can leave it just as it is natural state with all 

the rough chiseled marks and gouges that the carving has . But there are a range of finishes and techniques which are very available and widely used that increase the appeal and desirability to  enjoying the  carved or whittled project even more so.....More on Carving Finishing >>>

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Woodblock Carving

Woodblock printing

This is also known as woodcut printing this is a technique for printing text images or
patterns on paper or cloth a method dating from antiquity.
Here prepared flat wooden blocks are marked out with images and or text and then carved
in preparation for printing. The blocks are relief carved which means that the part that is sticking proud receives the ink and gets to be printed onto the material etc.
The blocks that have in the past been carved are able to have been very finely carved and finely detailed by the master carvers.

Manufacture for one color

The technique is basically the same as wood chip carving both emulating engraving as for 
on a flat surface . the resulting block is inked and then printed onto the receiving surface
For repeating patterning , the block is re-positioned over and over and printed.

Multicolored printing

For this technique of producing say a 4 color print , 4 blocks have to be prepared and carved  ready for printing. These will each be carved in relief for that color that needs to be printed for that block.
These blocks are identical in size so than they can be indexed. this means the outside of the
 blocks are identical in size. This means they then are able to be dropped into an outer frame of the same inner size.The paper is also of the same size as the printing blocks.
For printing first the paper is placed inside the frame. Then the first color block is inked and dropped into the frame and printed. This block is then removed and the second color block is inked and then printed and so on.
The whole trick to this technique is in the carving preparation, by separating out the colors to be printed so that each color component ends up being printed in the correct position so the image is  built up by each layering of the color to be printed.
The other trick to this carving of the wood is in the preparation of the indexing frame for the
 wood carved blocks so that the blocks can be loaded and later removed smoothly, and also be positioned correctly for printing

Monday, June 2, 2014

African wooden carved sculptures

     African art stretches both geographically from the Saharan area to the lower part of Africa at South Africa encompassing most of the continent. It generally stretches in Africa as from below sub Saharan
      Wood Carvings and whittled wood art  here are for reasons not just for arts and crafts sake but for reasons ranging from living usage to deep cultural and spiritual, to ritualistic events and  initiation times.
These wooden carvings and sculptures are in the form used for furniture, utility applications, or ceremonial such as coming of age or funereal or even communing with the ancestors and spirit world.
       A great deal of this wooden art is to do with whittling and wood carving of objects and sculptures. In fact the most part of African art throughout the ages is to do with that of carved wooden sculptures. Regionally speaking this is identified into four roughly speaking

East African
       This area is not as well known generally, but probably for its unique wooden pole carvings which contain animal or human figures and objects. These are subject wise about death or funeral matters and are ritualistic in nature. In Kenya warriors are carved by the Masai who are themselves warriors. There are also whittle and carve family figures such as mother and child depicted

West African
      West African carvings are around an ideal of peace and serenity so the face figures are depicted thus in the wooden carvings. The figures have elongated bodies incorporating angular lines with cylindrical shaped limbs.                                                                                             Modern Cubist artists such as Picasso have been influenced by this type of art. Also Matisse in his paintings

Central African
      These wooden sculptures differ from the other regions in that the faces are heart shaped and decorated with decoration of dot patterns over the surface. This influence has been seen to reappear in Western art forms
In Cameroon the Fang people have carved garden figures representing ancestors which stand upright. This is to evoke respect and often communion to the ancestors. They are left behind when the group migrates onward.

Southern African
             Generally this area has not been so rich in whittling and wooden carving due to the low populated areas and the migratory nature of the people. Carvings were confined to that of utility for in and around the home and for weaponry such as spears, clubs, bows and ornamentation.

Of late in contemporary times this not the case and Southern Africa has become an area of huge diversification drawn from all the cultures of Africa and richly added to. The markets and Craft fairs are bulging with a massive range of whittled and wooden carving too many to name. The volumes traded are huge  

Friday, May 30, 2014


Primitive Tools

 scooping out wood in backward motion based on the hoe tool used for tilling the soil hooked wooded

Mallet choppers
 removing wood from piece from the  side sideways action chopping down. Heavy head axes
Maori Carving tools

Greenstone Hand Palm Wood Carving and sculpting knife
Greenstone Hand Palm Wood Carving and sculpting knife

Greenstone Wood Carving and Wood Sculpting Chisel with Wood Handle
Greenstone Wood Carving and Wood Sculpting Chisel with Wooden Stock Handle

Maori Carving tools
In ancient times Maoris carved wood with shaped Greenstone fashioned tools such as choppers and chisels. After their contact with the mariners at the time of Cook they came into contact with and obtained some supplies of steel mainly large nails and spikes. These they flattened and fashioned into knives and chisels

Types of Green stone chisel
There has been reported that there were a few types of tools used  here , There was a wooden shaft mounted greenstone  head with the dimensions and edge being similar to today's chisel with widths of about an inch wide. This chisel could be used with a mallet type hammer to effect cutting. Other tools includ a spike type tool out of one piece of greenstone with a very narrow cutting point at the tip for finer detailing.
Then there was a knife type stubby flat stone shaped and sharpened with an oblique edge for removed wood in the carving by a slicing action.The tool was shaped for placing in the palm of the hand. There was also probably available an adze type stone tool for roughing out wood carving.

The features of using these primitive tools was that there was a limitation to the depth of cut and the time taken to complete the work . Also the stone wood carving tools did not give as clean a cut as contemporary  tools

Greenstone Wood Carving and Whittling Hand Chisel
3 Flat sided point Greenstone Wood Carving Chisel

Wednesday, April 1, 1970

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