Vacation WoodCarving

The question is; Do you leave your carving at home when vacationing?

I fully enjoy woodcarving. We are currently vacationing at Tybee Island GA and let me tell you it is hot! Every day the temperature has exceeded 95 degrees and there is only so much sun and heat this guy can handle. So I turn to my wood carving while the wife is by the pool. This is a win win situation for the both of us. She gets to sunbathe and read while I can sit on our deck looking at the scenery and carving with a fan blowing A/C towards my direction.

Now I know better than to completely immerse myself into the carving, I keep and eye on the clock, take her some cold drinks every so often to let her know I am still here, and to catch up on the pool side conversations. We break from our activities to take in a meal together, to sit in the A/C and talk about our kids and grandkids we left back home in stormy Indiana.

Again, I fully enjoy woodcarving and I have taken it with me on every vacation since the late 90s when I first started. My tools have been to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Hawaii, Brown County State Park in Indiana, The Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee, the Gulf Coast of Florida, and many shorter shopping trips. I have never had any issues with caving any place, which includes a cruise ship.

Leave comments as to the unique locations you have traveled with your carving projects and tools.

Thank you for visiting.


Jerry’s Wood Carving Vise

Jerry's Carving Vise
Jerry’s Carving Vise

This wood carving vise was inspired by an article in Wood Carving Illustrated Issue #5, titled “Build the 1797 carvers vice” and was the winner of the 1998 Poor Man’s Contest.

My version of this vise is a little more costly than $17.97, but the additions are worth the extra expense.

I use this vise for all my “in the round” carvings. Continue reading Jerry’s Wood Carving Vise

Low Cost Texturing Punches

Carving Budget Series

Woodcarving tools can be very expensive. This blog post contains a video on how to make texturing punches for less than a meal at your favorite fast food restaurant.
In the last 6 – 9 months my woodcarving interests have turned towards relief carving.   In my studies of relief carving, I found that a textured background is very common.  Texturing the background of a relief carving directs the eye to the subject matter of the carving.

Making low cost texturing punches

Continue reading Low Cost Texturing Punches

Mary May – Techniques for Beginning Woodcarvers

Mary May is an accomplished woodcarver and instructor from Charleston, South Carolina.
Mary has produced the following fantastic video, which demonstrates the proper usage of gouges an V-tools.  In the video, Mary also identifies the how tools, can cut both, with and against, the wood grain in the same cut.

Mary May has also a featured guest on The Woodwrights Shop on

Mary May, is a carver that inspires me to continue developing my carving skills. She openly talks about her woodcarving beginnings and how she has developed her skills over time.   Knowing her history and viewing the masterful carvings she produces today, is an encouragement for me to continue developing my skills.  I am sure to never reach Mary’s level of carving, but the more I learn and the more enjoyable my hobby becomes.  I may even vacation in historical Charleston and contact Mary for an individual carving class.

Happy Carving,


Merry Christmas

Mouse in Stocking carving
Mouse in Stocking carving

I just finished painting this little guy and now has a home on our Christmas Tree.

Helene and I wish everyone a

Merry Christmas!

Carving detail:

This carving is out of native Indiana Basswood and is a fun project with more detail than I originally thought.  It comes from the pages of WoodCarving Illustrated, the Holiday 2013 issue #65.

The project calls to use a woodburner for the fur texture, but I just used a small v-tool, but other than that, I loosely followed Leah Goddard’s guide.  I recommend this project and will carve a few more for gifts at some point.

Happy carving,


Where do you get carving wood?

I was asked recently from a non-woodcarver, “Where do you get your wood?”

Basswood Angel

My answer anywhere I can!

I have found blocks of wood on vacation, business travel, asking friends to bring back chunks of wood from mission trips, and even from my own backyard when a small Maple tree was damaged. 

The majority of my stock came to me about about 15 years ago. A retired gentleman owning a hobby saw mill made me a great deal on a pickup truck load of Southern Indiana Basswood. You can carve alot of chips from a pickup load and I am still working on it.  Pictured to the left is a “Herby’s Angel” that I carved from the some of this Basswood stock.

Unfortunately, Indiana basswood is not high quality wood as it often has defects and hard to carve grain patterns. If you look close at the picture, you can see some of the defects. The best carving stock seems to come from Minnesota and Wisconsin areas. This wood is typically straight grained and clean of defect.

I have at times purchase blocks of Butternut, which is my favorite wood to carve as I love the smell and the beautiful grain. I have not located a local source for butternut, which drives the expense up when paying for custom sawing and shipping charges.

Keeping with my underlining topic of this blog, “carving on a budget”  I am asking my other fellow wood carvers the following questions;

  1. Where you find your carving wood?
  2. What is the best deal you have run across in finding carving stock?
  3. What is your favorite wood to carve?

Thank you for visiting and I look forward to your comments.

Quality woodcarving knifes

Deepwoods Ventures handmade forged  carving knifes.

The most affordable carving tool is one that will be around for years!

That is exactly what you get when you purchase a carving knife from Deepwoods Ventures. These hand forged carving knifes hold  a sharp edge. Combine that with the maple burl handles, these knifes will last a lifetime and possibly your grand children’s lifetime as well. Continue reading Quality woodcarving knifes