Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects

Whittle Folk Trolls have been an exploration in carving three-inch-tall characters that have bushy hair, beards and mustaches, long muscular arms and bare feet.  Each one is a learning carving project and practice carving to learn to make each one a little different with facial characteristics and subtle changes in appearance.

The four Trolls in this photographic display are the latest illustrations of carving a similar subject with slightly different expressions and innovations.


WHY carve what appears to be a repetitious subject so often?  If every carving project is a learning experience then it only stands to the reason of experience that one learns on the first one and what is learned becomes the tutor for carving the second and on and on as the subject is carved again and again.  The challenge is to make each one just a little different as creative imagination guides the innovations.


The WOOD BEE CARVER says often, “The more one carves the better one carves,” which comes through personal experience and observation.  In the late 1990’s while teaching a five-day seminar at the original War Eagle Seminars in Arkansas, I would ask students how often they carved.  Several would say, “this is the only time I carve as this is my carving vacation.”  Carving so infrequently means that each time one returns to a carving activity one has to re-learn what had been left dormant during the non-carving period. “Would be carvers would be carvers if they would carve wood,” has long been my guiding motto which means the only way a person learns to carve is to carve and carving as often as possible.  If one is serious about wanting to learn to be a better carver, one should schedule a regular amount of time dedicated for carving.  Carving is productive while mindlessly watching television is non-productive.  So, if a would-be carver only carves occasionally say at a carving meeting carve-in or a seminar then that carver is going to be frustrated in the slowness of catching on as to what to do in the carving process.


For a long time, I have encouraged carvers to do a twenty minute a day work out of whittling and carving on piece of wood with one knife or carving tool to see what all kinds of cuts that slicing tool can make. Doing so will help the carver to become very familiar with how the tool shapes wood and discover additional ways it can be used. This familiarity leads to making automatic cuts while carving without having to think how the tool should be used to make such a cut. Every so often try another knife or tool to learn its characteristics. In addition, these twenty minutes a day work out sessions can be used to practice hand sharpening a tool to become familiar with the sharpening process so that it can become a natural part of the carving process. Hand sharpening gives the carver a respect for the mechanics of shaping of the cutting edge into a sharp slicing edge.  This slow and methodical process once learned becomes an extension of the carving process with ability to always know how to tune up a knife or tool to do its intended purpose.  The more one carves and the more one sharpens the better one becomes at doing.


Twenty minutes a day work out can include choosing an area to try to improve through practice.  Practice carving a variety of faces, or carving eyes, or hands or shoes or any other area of the carving process that one struggles to accomplish.  Practice is never a wasted activity since it leads to a more productive accomplishment.

Another benefit of the twenty minute a day work out is that a creative idea comes to the carver extending the twenty minutes into a longer period of carving a particular subject.  All of which adds up to “the more one carves the better one carves.”

Carving a subject or similar subject over and over also helps with the inner eye of observation of being able to see ways to better shape the wood to accomplish the image seen in one’s creative imagination.  The thrill comes as the subject being carve begins to guide the carver in the innovative cuts to shape the subject into another interpretation.

Additional illustrations and instructions about carving “Whittle Folk Trolls” can be found in the BEE HIVE box in the right column of the home page or in previous postings about the Trolls in “Carving Projects.”

CARVE DIEM [Carve the Day]



This entry was posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2018 at 9:30 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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