Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Tutorials


GO-BY’S are in essence  “models” used for comparison during the carving of a given subject.  Some GO-BY’S are  carved to basic form and others are completely carved to give a before and after appearance for study and comparison.  Often GO-BY’S are used during a class setting where students can study the intricate and subtle carving cuts as well as the basic overall design of the basic form as well as detail finishing touches.  The two photographs above offer a variety of subjects that are carved to the basic form of a Santa, old geezer with pipe and crooked stick, a carpenter, a wizard and a gnome shown in a front and rear view.

In the following photographic journey are various GO-BY’S that are being used in scheduled classes and are offered here as a photographic study. (click on each photo to enlarge and then back arrow to return)  A photographic study is to allow the picture to speak a thousand words by visually studying each carving in an imagination carving mode imagining how each was carved out of a square block of basswood using only a knife in the Whittle-Carving style of the  WOOD BEE CARVER.


Here are two examples of how a one and half inch square block of basswood, one six inches and the other five inches tall with the tops carved into a dowel or tube shape are  standing beside the side and front view of two different completed carvings. The rounded dowel area represents making a foundation for the carving of a hat and head of a figure.  Once the hat and head are carved to basic form then the rest of the block is divided into thirds following the Rule of Three for Body Proportions: Shoulder to Waist; Waist to Mid Knees; and Mid Knees to Bottom of Feet.




Here are the Lester Brothers with Les Lester on the left and is carved to basic form with his face, hands and shoes awaiting detail carving.  Morris Lester in the center and Hugh Lester on the right have been carved with all the details showing.  These four photographs are good GO-BY’S  studies for Old Geezer caricatures five inches tall. (blue painter’s tape on the base of GO-BY’S indicate to students that it is a GO-BY.)



Gandalf was carved out of a six inch tall by one and half inch square block of basswood and is holding a lantern and a twisted root staff.  A Study Bust of Grandalf was carved first as a learning exercise to provide a GO-BY for carving the full figured Gandalf.


Otto the Pirate is a GO-BY with a very large head as a visual lesson in not starting the detail carving of the face before the proportional size is established in the basic form of the head.  It serves its purpose as well as to the various design elements that make him a pirate as in the eye patch, ear rings,  peg leg, hook, scimitar sword and clothing details.


These two clowns show the unhappy state of affairs when ice cream falls out of the cone.  The smaller version was carved out of an inch square by four inch tall block of basswood as the first study piece to work out the design of the theme.  Notice that the ice cream  balls on top of his shoe are in a straight line.  That part of the design was changed in the larger version to give a sense of movement to the fallen ice cream balls.  The larger version is five inches tall on an inch and half square base.


Shadow Sweeper Clown has been carved to basic form as his face, hands and shoes await detail carving.  The Clown next to him is holding a balloon and a feather and his hands and shoes await detail carving.


The singing clown shows a different style of clothing and hair style as well as mouth opened as if singing.





Shadow Sweeper Clown and Les Lester are shown with face carved to basic form awaiting finish detail carving.  A good foundation of the basic form is necessary before any details can be carved in order for everything to look right.  This is one of the purposes of GO-BY’S in helping one to see before one begins to carve in order to follow a prescribed path.  GO-BY’S are not intended to be duplicated as a carbon copy of the original.  Instructors teach the how-to and method of carving rather than the style.  Each carver brings their own style to the carving process and utilizes GO-BY’S like a road map to a final destination.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 at 4:12 pm and is filed under Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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