Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects


Whittle-Carving is carving using only knives to shape the wood.  Whittle-Carving is also “free hand” style of carving in that the basic form of the carving appears as the wood is shaped with the slicing of the knife.  “Free hand” is also an “imagination” guided process of shaping the wood to correspond with the image in the mind of the carver.  Every carving project is a learning project that is also guided by imagination at work in the carving process as the carver learns through the challenge of bringing what is imagined into a recognizable reality.


Two Old Timers began as an imagined image in the mind which pictured a grandfather clock (old timer) and an old man (old timer) holding a pocket watch to check the time. There is an old saying that states, “A man with one watch knows what time it is but a man with two watches is never quite sure.”  The subtle humor of one old timer looking at another old timer to check the time is behind the imagined image.

The challenge became to carve this mental image into a scene depicted in a relief carving using only knives to carve in relief. The learning part of carving this scene as a relief is to be guided by imagination to figure out the various angles that in inherent in relief carving so that the scene appears natural.  Like any carving project one learns by carving and while carving in which whittle-carving is a contemplative activity that takes one’s “good old time” to make the kind of slicing cuts to carve the angles and planes in the relief fashion.

The WOOD BEE CARVER has learned over forty years of Whittle-Carving that a blade with a curved cutting edge like the scimitar shape is most conducive for making slicing cuts and getting into tight areas.  Additional blade shapes were developed to create multiple cutting edges using the same slicing concept.  These experimental blade designs were first make and tested as prototype carving knives and when proven to be functional they became the design for the WOOD BEE CARVER Signature Series knives made by Rich Smithson of HELVIE KNIVES.  It was some of these knives that were used in carving this relief carving that measured six inches tall, four inches wide and a half of inch thick.

Pictured below are the main knives used during the carving of Two Old Timers.  On the left of the relief carving, the blue handled knife is the BUZZARD 2 and the cherry handled knife is the SIDEWINDER.  On the right side of the carving the orange handled knife is the ZIG ZAG and the blue handled knife is the BUZZARD.  These four knives have multiple cutting edges, the long portion of the blade,  the curved or skewed front portion of the blade and the small curved portion between the two cutting edges.  The two knives below the relief carving are LITTLE STINKER # 3 AND # 4 detail knives.


The next series of photographs show the knives used during the carving process.  The first photo shows the grandfather clock in its beginning stage of being shaped with the knives used during this phase.  Orange knife if the ZIG ZAG, the two blue handled knives are the BUZZARD and BUZARD 2 and the two cherry handles knives are SIDE WINDER and SIDE WINDER II. The second photo shows the old man being relieved from the background using the BUZZARD 2 knife. Third photo shows the ZIG ZAG relieving the background between the clock and old man. Fourth photo shows the BUZZARD 2 relieving wood between the cane and legs of old man.



The left photo below shows the progress of the relief carving ready to receive the detail carving of the face of the man as well as the detail of the clock.  The right photo is the completed relief carving that can be compared with the other photo as a “before and after” view.


The photo below shows all of the LITTLE STINKER detail knives that were used in some small fashion of carving in the detail features of this relief carving.

LITTLE STINKER Detail Knife Guide for identifying the knives left to right: Yellow # 7; Orange # 3; Red/Pink # 2; Green # 6; Blue # 5; Maple # 4; and Purple # 1. The LITTLE STINKER Detail Knives have a variety of blade shapes to be used in various ways.

Beginning April 1, LITTLE STINKERS may be ordered from HELVIE KNIVES 765-675-8811



This entry was posted on Saturday, March 17th, 2018 at 10:59 am and is filed under Carving Projects. 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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