Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects


In 2007 and 2008 I carved a few Uncle Sam figures with a redux of Uncle Sam carved now in 2020.  The Wood Bee Carver carves from a block of wood using knives to carve to basic form and then in detail.  Each carving project relies heavily upon the use of creative imagination backed up with visual research of graphics of the subject.  Thus, every repeat carving of a given subject will be a little different in details and appearance.


Seldom is a carving an exact copy of an original as each new carving is its own interpretation.  This will be evident in studying the photos in this posting which shows a 2008 version of Uncle Sam standing beside the block of basswood and progressive stages of the new Uncle Sam taking shape.


The first photo above shows the top of the hat carved to basic form.  Carving the hat first is to realize that the head fit up into the hat rather than the hat sitting on top of the head.  This first step sets the stage for carving the basic form in progressive stages.  The second photo shows the shaping of the head as going up into the hat and also showing the beginning stages of shaping the major landmarks of the figure. The knives in the photos illustrate the variety of knives used in the shaping process. Notice also the edge of the hat brim has a flat edge.  The hat brim is carved on the cross grain which produces a fragile section of the carving that is carved as thick as possible.  In order to make it look thinner, the trick is to carve the corners off the flat edge to form a knife edge all around the brim giving the appearance of being thinner than it actually is.  The thickness is the same but the eye sees the knife edge and sees “thin” while the “flat edge” says thick. The next two photos below offer an appearance comparison between the “flat” edge and the “thin” edge.


The next two photos show the progress of the figure along with some of the knives used in the shaping stage.  The tip end of most of these blades curved around the front of the blade.  These are experimental knives with “RoundAbouT” blades that allow for the front end to make slicing cuts in tight areas as well as sculpting slices cuts. These “RoundAbouT” knives are depicted in the next two photos and are made by the Wood Bee Carver for personal use.


The final selection of photographs is of the finished and painted Uncle Sam shown at various angles and close ups of facial features.




Caricature carver and instructor Gerald Sears said, “Still learning, each carving is practice for the next one.”  No truer words were ever spoken to describe the carving experience.  We learn from every carving project and when that project is completed each carver is ready to begin carving another project.  Carving is a learn by doing activity and the more one carves, the better one carves.  Each time Uncle Sam is carved he teaches this Old Carver a new lesson or two. “Keep carving and carving will keep you carving,” is the mantra for the carving journey.





This entry was posted on Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 1:09 pm 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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