Archive for the Carving Category

Leather Faced Cherry Carving Mallets

Posted in Carving, Hammers, Leather working, Tool Making, Woodworking on July 6, 2010 by Jim

Hammerpalooza 2010!

I cannot quit. I just can’t. I am unable to stop making hammers and mallets lately.

A friend salvaged some cherry runners off a pallet where he works and gave me one of the pieces.

Two Leather Faced Cherry Carving Mallets

I felt pretty good about these. In a couple of hours, I was able to make something useful with this wood instead of it going into the trash.

Happy Making,


A flood and a catfish – what a combination

Posted in Carving, Toy Making, Uncategorized, Woodworking on May 21, 2010 by Jim

Wow, the last two days have been about water. Squirrels in my yard decided that my gutter downspouts were lovely walnut dispensers. They brought walnuts from the other side of the house to stack in my gutters. It was like a giant Pez dispenser for squirrels.

Without gutters to give the rain something funner to do, it all ran into my shop. I have been moving water from one side of the shop to the drain on other side since yesterday.

On a happier note, I got to play with the new draw-knives that my dad made me (see post just before this one). They flew through this poplar like butter. I am finding that I can rough out a carving like this faster and more happily with a spokeshave, hand plane, and a draw knife than with power tools.

Hand Carved Wooden Catfish Toy with a crown

This little catfish survived the flood. I was laughing a lot of the time I was carving him. I have been making up epic tales of his exploits in my head. (Maybe I was breathing too many paint fumes in the shop…)

If you need King Catfish to swim in your pond, or to recite to you his heroic exploits,  he will be available on my Etsy shop here.

A Murder of Crows

Posted in Carving, decoys, Woodworking on May 4, 2010 by Jim

I am really pleased with this new crow. I am getting quite a set of watch crows around the house. Somehow, they are comforting if you put them at the top of a bookcase where they can see the whole room.

I find this cedar surprisingly hard to carve.  I have to keep my knives very sharp but the incense of the cedar shavings filling the room makes it worth the extra effort.


New Crow Decoy Pattern

Posted in Carving, decoys, Woodworking with tags , , on May 2, 2010 by Jim

I have been working on a new fuller bodied crow decoy pattern. Here is a the first rough carving using it.

Do you have any old wooden crow decoys or carved wooden crows?

If you do, I would love to hear about them.


Flattie Crow Decoy

Posted in Carving, decoys, Woodworking with tags on April 26, 2010 by Jim

All you need is cedar and a knife…

I have been too busy to get any extended time in the shop this last week. When I get even a few minutes free though,  I seem unable to stop carving  wooden crow decoys. The family Corvidae has my attention.

This is not a full bodied crow but in the ‘flattie’ style. It is also for sale on my Etsy shop.

I had a hard time getting together a pattern for my crows. Does anyone else have trouble finding good bird patterns? Please let me know if you have found some that you are really satisfied with. I have been photographing birds and making my own.

More cool tools are coming.

My father does a lot of metal work and a couple weeks ago I had asked him to make me some straight bladed draw knives. I got them and they turned out great. You will be jealous, I promise. I will post pics of them soon.


Praying Machine flies!

Posted in Automata, Carving, Gear Making, metalwork, Toy Making, Woodworking with tags on April 13, 2010 by Jim

The wings flap…

Our prayers are going to Heaven! I have not had a lot of time the last few weeks to work on the Praying machine but I did sneak in a few hours this weekend.


I got the bit of the mechanism complete that raises and lowers the wings. Next will the be the gearing that spins the prayer box itself.

Wooden crow decoy or magic talisman?

Posted in Carving, Woodworking with tags , , on April 11, 2010 by Jim

Last winter, I got really interested in hand carved wooden duck decoys. I started looking around for books and began carving my first duck. As I was reading about various types of decoys, I read about ‘confidence’ decoys. Confidence decoys are used near a set of duck decoys and are thought to trick flying ducks into landing. Supposedly, the ducks think it must be safe if one of these other birds is sitting around too. Shorebirds are often used in this fashion and I have a few of those in process. The ones that  fascinate me most though are the wooden crow decoys. (The half carved duck is still sitting on a shelf in the shop…)

It seems that every culture gives some great significance to crows or ravens.

The Norse god Odin had two ravens that flew around the world all day and returned at night to tell him all they overheard. Natives of the Pacific Northwest believed that Raven created the land, the animals, and man. Many cultures count the number of crows that cross their path to determine if it is good or bad luck.

All this makes crows seem so powerful and fascinating and maybe that is why many decoy carvers slipped a crow in here or there.

Wooden folk art crow decoy

This crow that I carved from a block of cedar is for sale on my Etsy shop.

If you are interested, let me know and I can post a pattern of this on my shop for a few dollars along with some carving instructions.

Do you have any crow or shorebird decoys – maybe carved by a grandfather or uncle? I would love to see a picture if you do.


Vintage style wooden fishing lures that really catch fish!

Posted in Carving, Fishing Lures, Woodworking on April 9, 2010 by Jim

I wanted some vintage fishing lures. I found an old Heddon catalog at my local library book sale and remembered lures my Uncle Doug had in his tackle box and I wanted some bad…

I love digging through peoples tackle boxes.

I have always had that kind of curiosity. It is like digging around in your grandma’s attic. Everything you find is fascinating. Anyway, I found this old Heddon catalog and decide to buy some of those lures. I headed over to EBay and found out right quick that I don’t have the budget you need for those lures. Even if I had the budget, there is NO WAY you would throw one of those lures in a lake and let some mean old fish chew on it.

Old lures are works of art!

Old lures are beautiful. I wanted some lures that were cool as the ones I remembered but that I could lose in a tree without crying.

Here is what I came up with:


These two were inspired by an amazing lure maker I found on the web Old Oregon Lures – unfortunately, the Old Oregon website appears to be gone now – those were some amazing lures.


I made some folk art style lures:

Handmade wooden hornet fishing lure

Lastly, I tried my hand at making some semi-realistic lures:


This bluegill is weighed so that it floats upright correctly and suspends about 4 inches below the surface.

You can make your own wooden lures.

I have a post here on Make Stuff With Your Kid that shows you how to make two really great looking lures that catch fish. You don’t need a bunch of tools and you don’t need to be an experienced woodworker.

All these lures have caught fish. I was surprised how well the bluegill works. In the spring, when the bass are on their beds, they hate this little bluegill and try to eat it up!

Do you have any old lures you love or you are making any lures?  I would love to hear about it.


I don’t want to sell you this wooden fish decoy

Posted in Carving on April 4, 2010 by Jim

carved wooden fish decoy

But I will… I love this little fish decoy. It is the first one that I carved. I am selling it on etsy to help buy a torch for working on my new fascination, automata. If you like little carved green fish decoys, it is here waiting for you!

I will be posting more carvings including a rustic black crow on my etsy site later this week.

Thanks for stopping by,


Six Micro carving chisels for 20 dollars

Posted in Carving, Forging, Tool Making on March 21, 2010 by Jim

While working on the Praying Machine, I ran into problems carving the wings. I just can’t get up under the edges of the small feathers with the chisels that I have. I looked at Woodcraft and saw that I was going to spend $35 apiece for good carving chisels that would do what I needed to do. Instead of buying those, I made my own.

I got w1 (water hardening) steel rod in 1/16″ and 1/8″ from Speedy Metals for just over two dollars per 3′. I heated the pieces with a torch and pounded the ends out thin. Next, I made the two bends with needle nose pliers. Nearly done, I rough shaped the chisels with files and a grinding wheel:

dog leg micro carving chisel

Here are all the chisels after heating and quenching in water:

handmade micro carving chisels

After quenching, the steel is too hard – brittle like glass really- so I put them in the oven at 450 for a couple of hours to temper the hardness some.  With the steel I used, that should bring me to a hardness that will hold an edge but not break.

Next step was to polish them on a felt wheel with a little rouge:

Polished Micro Carving Chisels

You can see that they are all dog legged.  I made a center v cutting chisel, a right cutter, and a left cutter in each size rod. That should let me get to each part of the feathers on my project.

I heated the handle end of each rod hot again and pressed them into tightly drilled holes in cherry handles:

Micro Carving Chisels cherry handles

I am really pleased with how they turned out and I saved myself quite a bit of money. Shipping included, I spent  20 dollars in total. With the small sized steel I was using, I was able to do the forging with just a hardware store propane torch and I had scraps in the bin for the handles.  All in all, it was a productive Saturday.

Happy Making,