Jillian Smith – Dolphins

Jill says  “In 2003 I glued together some pictures from a “Dolphin Calendar” to
make up a scene for a carving. I drew the outline on a piece of limewood
11.5 inches by 9 inches
 My teacher at the time, Vic Bentley, said it would be too difficult
for me to carve the part where the dolphin at the back appeared to be
moving forward out of the picture. I even made a plasticine model of
what I thought the final carving would be.  I then put it aside to do
other projects.  Years later, I picked it up again  and finally called
it finished 18 years later!
Other members suggested I should paint the carving. I was very tempted
but after 18 years I decided not to risk ruining it with poor painting.
Instead, I gave it several coats of Beeswax polish”


As I have run out of members current work, I thought that I would bring some of the work hidden in the back of the galleries out for an airing, and have chosen a carving Norman Jackson made on a carving holiday in Austria.    Norman attended a week long course at the Geisler- Moroder Schnitzschule in Elbigenalp in the midst of the Lechtaler and Allgäu mountains in Austria see http://www.schnitzschule.com.    It sounds as if he had a great time and he thoroughly recommends it.

The school provided him with 16 chisels and gouges of various types but he only used 5 or 6 of them.  The course started with a some warm up exercises; a flower and a pair of lips, both in low relief and carved in Zirberkiefer – Swiss Mountain Pine, a very pleasing wood to work.

Before starting work on the main carving, Norman was advised that he would need to attend a life drawing class.  As the school had 9/10 very beautiful ladies and none were over 31, Norman was very disappointed to be presented with a block of wood and a yogurt carton as the subject.  Life Drawing seems to have been a translation of  Still Life Drawing.

After making a maquette, Norman started on the main carving of an Austrian man. The pictures below show his progress.   Some long days of hard work, sweat and tears produced a very satisfactory result.

Norman says a special thank you to Karen and Michael, and that he came home POWFECKED and very happy.

Model and drawing


Roughing out stage











Face defined


















More defined

















More features defined

















Finished work







John Adamson’s Angelfish

A client asked me to carve an angelfish.   At first she wanted it for outside, but was put off by the price of really decent plywood. I had suggested plywood, as some parts of the carving are very thin and might break and fall off along the line of the grain, and I thought that the colours of the different the ply as they were exposed during the carving process would simulate the colours of the fish. I was not unhappy with that decision as getting a smooth surface on ply is difficult.   Finally we settled on a 30cm ( to include the base) fish in ash with a pine base.     This is lockdown so I could only offer the wood I had in stock.   The next problem was deciding which angelfish.   Look at Google shows lots of varieties, and I chose a drawing, as it gave a very good side view, and lots of the decisions and simplifications had already been sorted.     The other problem was the front view.    Google gave me a whole screen full of side views but only 2 front views.    I made a decision about the shape : that it should be almost round at the bottom of the fish and slope up to a narrower edge at the top.

Front view











side view



















Back View


Drawing found on Google and used as a guide for the carving











I flipped the drawing on the computer, printed each side, stuck one print on the wood, and carefully cut round with a bandsaw.     I stuck the other print on the other side, carefully lining them up using the mouth and the end of the back fin for accuracy.

1st stage of carving











I had left a chunk of wood in front of the top fin and for the first stage of carving held the carving by this in a vice.     The vice is fixed on a revolving carvers clamp, allowing easy access to all sides.   At this stage I have only roughly carved the top and bottom fins.   I looked carefully at the grain and bent the fin to the grain to give the fin long grain strength.

2nd stage of carving










I have removed the “holding” chunk of wood as this had become a nuisance, and used the tail fin instead for clamping the wood.      The body of the fish has been carved roughly to shape, but leaving the side fins untouched so that I could use them to hold the wood when the tail was carved away.   The face has been carved and is almost finished.

3rd stage










Here I have carved the detail on to the top fin.     I carved a pattern rather than attempt to be realistic.

4th stage










The bottom fin has been carved in a similar pattern to the top.   The ventral fins are a problem.   In many angelfish they are so ridiculously thin that they would be guaranteed to brake in the post or when someone dusted them.   I had very carefully chosen a fish with thick ventral fins to copy.   I left as much wood on them as I could.   The ventral fins are the first fins on the lower side of the fish behind the face.

5th stage












A front view of the fish.  I had spent sometime getting the two sides of the face equal and opposite, and sanded it smooth.

6th stage











The back fin has been carved but the side fins still have their paper on them as that is where I was clamping them.      The sides of the fish have been chiselled to shape but need a final scrape with the side of a knife.   The side fins were carved later.














Adrian Carter’s Marquetry

Adrian sent two photos for the website; the first one is his marquetry picture, the second one is the photograph that he was working from. The picture is a scene from Florence in Italy, somewhere they have visited on holiday with lovely memories.
The picture was being made to enter into the Great Yorkshire Show in July which of course will now not go ahead. It still requires finishing and polishing.

Original photograph of Florence

Stuart Hood’s Viking chair

Stuart says that there is already a photo of the front of his Viking Chair on the web site (see Galleries, Members Carvings, Stuart Hood) but the back was looking a bit plain so  he has carved a boat on the lower half 12in x9in. On the top part he has put my family tree dating back to 1765. Still a few more spaces to fill in.

Viking Chair Front
Viking Chair back

Martin Haigh’s Animals

Martin says the animals and birds he has carved ranged from 4” to 6” with one at 9”. They have all been painted and mounted in a frame.      Most of his work has been from photographs from Pinterest. He has had no drawing plans to work to so some of the finer details have been a challenge but interesting.

Richard Colbran’s Owls for a Bench project

Richard Colbran was requested to make this carving for a bespoke memorial bench.The subject  was to be “Two owlets, one winking”. It was carved on an oak panel supplied by the bench maker, which was then set into the back rest of the bench.

The picture of the finished product was supplied by the customer          The bench is by “Millennium Pond -Winterborne Houghton, Dorset “