Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects, General


A Chip Carving friend, Marshall Stearns coined the phrase, “Carving is like taking a bath ~ You do it everyday or you stink.” There is great value in carving every day, if nothing more than guiding the carving tool through the wood making a variety of experimental cuts.  A long time the Wood Bee Carver has said, “Woodcarving is more the journey rather than the destination,” which means the shear enjoyment that comes to the carver in the process of carving.  The destination would be the completion of a carving project, but once finished the carver longs to get back to the process and activity of carving.

There is an indescribable feeling of euphoria that comes with the action of a sharp cutting edge of the knife making its way through the wood.  Perhaps it is that same feeling that entertained old time whittlers as they sliced the knife at a skewed angle down a long cedar stick to create long curling shaving the entire length of the stick. It was not a waste of time being rather a time of inner contemplation of creative energy. Scattered though out this posting are photos of recent carvings of the daily journey of “Stink Proof” carvings.


The inner urge to create guides the carver to approach each carving activity as an exercise for the inner well-being of the carver.  In other words, we carve first and foremost for our self even if it is a commission piece.   Even a carving project that will become a competition piece is basically a competition within the carver’s ability to do one’s best in making that project follow inner self judging of competitive scrutiny. Doodle carving is an activity of carving something without a pre-planned design that allows for a design to suddenly appear while the knife is shaping the wood and the creative imagination of the carver opens the door to the serendipity of the wonder of discovery.

The photo below shows “face study” heads.  The ones in the center are “demo” faces carved as class demonstrations that await the finish detailed carving as illustrated in the faces on the outer edge.


“The more you carve the better you carve,” is the mantra of “we learn to carve by carving” as in “keep carving, carving will keep you carving,” are all sayings the Wood Bee Carver has discovered over the years of carving.

Approaching the twilight of my carving journey, there is a slowdown and cutting back of some of the cherish experiences of the woodcarver’s way of life.  The Wood Bee Carver will continue to carve every day, continue to publish this blog, participate in a couple of monthly carving club meetings but has retired from participating in woodcarving shows and most teaching venues.  Age and health issues, while not serious, helps a person retire to another phase of life. But life goes on and adjustments are made with a slower pace to compensate for unplanned changes to surprise our expectations.


Photos above show faces carved using scraps of wood and well as a novelty rolling pin to fulfill the Old Carver’s law: “Leave no wood uncarved.”

This blog, which is a diary of this carver’s activities, will continue to do posting of carving projects with some instructional information.  There will still be the occasional description of making for personal use the “Other Knives” that are experiments of an active mind that continues to think of new shapes and designs.  Doodling with a knife will still be subjects of projects of this old carver’s contemplative whittling.  Looking at a display shelf of completed carvings just will not cut it for the meaning of being a carver.  A carver must carve a little every day along with taking a daily bath to remain “Stink Proof.”

This entry was posted on Friday, February 21st, 2020 at 7:36 pm and is filed under Carving Projects, General. 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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