10 Wood carving projects to whittle in winter


With the chill in the air (especially here in PA at our headquarters), it is the best time to grab a coffee, kick on the workshop heater, sit down and learn a new craft, work on our wood carving skills, or create a project that makes us think of spring days. Below you will find 10 past and present spring projects from Woodcarving Illustrated Magazines that will hopefully inspire you to heat up your workshop and create something!   

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Whether you’re just getting started in the world of woodcarving or have been making chips for decades, Woodcarving Illustrated is the must-have manual designed to help you make the most of your carving time.  This quarterly magazine is packed with advice from expert woodcarvers, tutorials for all-skill levels, tool reviews, tips and techniques, and skill-building projects. Every issue includes an insert featuring full-size patterns. 

10 Wood Carving Ideas for Spring

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 01

Flat-Plane Bunny

By James Miller, Photograph by Allison Cully

This rascally rabbit is as cute as the real thing, but won’t destroy your vegetable patch! Rabbits, ubiquitous symbols of spring and good fortune, are so common in many parts of the world that they can easily be taken for granted—but I find them fascinating. These little guys are almost always on high alert due to the constant threat of predators, but their snappy movements and earthy coloration are actually great material for a carving project. I designed this one based on a local cottontail rabbit. His sitting pose serves two purposes: it shows off his cute features and positions the delicate ears and legs so the wood grain supports them. Follow James as he carves each step in the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Spring 2020 Issue.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

Floral Charm Bracelets

By Keoma McCaffrey

I don’t just like spring—I love it. And when you love something, you carry reminders of it wherever you go. I designed these charms to attach to any basic chain; use as few or as many per piece of jewelry as you like. While my bracelet focuses on spring flowers, you can use the basic concepts explained here to make custom charms of your own. Find the full power carved bracelet tutorial in the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Spring 2019 Issue.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

Stylish Birdhouse

By Barry McKenzie

Relief-carved shingles and graceful designs adorn this essential songbird house! With the classically shingled roof and brilliant, stylized chip carving, you might be hesitant to hang this birdhouse outdoors. But returning songbirds will reward your generosity with their cheerful presence and the project is actually weather resistant. The birdhouse is fairly simple to construct. In fact, over 50 of them were completed by students in my classes last year. Most of the students chose this bird by a fence post design. The bottom of the house has a gate hook to keep the hinged front from being opened by a predator or pushed out by too much nesting material inside. Get the full pattern and instructions in the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Spring 2008 Issue.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

minnow chaser fishing lore

By Rich Rousseau

If you’re missing fishing season, practice your airbrushing skills on this realistic lure! I came up with this project as a way to enhance the minnow lure type. The 4 1/2″ minnow body sinks and has a spinner attached at the nose, which makes your lure appear to be chasing a bait fish. This lure has proven to be very effective on bass, pike, and salmon, both retrieved and trolled. From carving and painting to assembling the metal chaser, Rich will walk you through this wood carving project in the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Spring 2020 Issue.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

Noah’s Egg

By Lori Dickie, Author of the Quick & Cute Carving Projects

Most folks know the story of Noah: a man was told by God to build an ark and gather two of every species of animal to live with him and his family until the Great Flood was over. This is my interpretation of what Noah and his animal friends may have looked like. There are a variety of basswood eggs that you can use for this carving. I prefer a “goose”-size egg, either with a pedestal attached or the pedestal purchased separately and attached after the carving is finished. The nice thing about using an egg for this project is that a knife can be used for the whole carving since the shape is rounded. If the wood is flat or square, you often need to use chisels and gouges. For this piece, the front half of the egg is carved in relief and the back half with a solid color because it doesn’t show.  This carving is fun to make and is a great gift for a new baby or as a decoration in a child’s room displayed with some carved animals. Turn a basswood egg into a biblical story with Lori’s tutorial in the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Spring 2017 Issue.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 02

Make a Bamboo Walking Stick

By Lora Irish, Author of Cane Topper Woodcarving

Combine a carved topper with a ready-made shaft for an easy personalized stick! Walking sticks are fun and useful, but the blanks can be awkward to work, especially if you like to take your carving projects on the road. Instead of carving an entire walking stick in one shot, it’s easier to carve a topper from a smaller piece of wood and then attach it to a shaft. Not only is the topper more manageable as you carve, but if you happen to make a mistake, you haven’t ruined a much larger piece of wood. Get carving and hiking with Lora Irish in the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Spring 2013 Issue.

This free Lora Irish wooden walking cane pattern will keep you company on your adventures – click here!

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

Carving a Fairy Door

By Christina White

The idea of a fairy door is far from new, but the variations of details, colors, and themes can go on forever.  I have never done two alike, and the folks who are drawn to them are as different as the doors themselves.  They can look like miniature versions of your own door, or be completely hobbit-like, or have even more detail as if the fairies built them from objects they found lying about. Welcome magic into your home with Christina’s tutorial in the Woodcarving Illustrated, Spring 2010 Issue.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

Inlay Bunny Box

 By Roger F. Wolford

Wooden boxes are nice, but I was always looking for a way to add a little more to them. When I learned that the gourd-carving community used a product called InLace to fill relief carvings on gourds, I was inspired. I experimented and developed a way to add InLace to wood carvings. I enjoy making boxes inlaid with InLace, and customers are usually very impressed with the finished product. Use liquid inlay to add intricate designs to a premade box with Rogers guidance in the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Spring 2016 Issue.

 

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

Miniature Welsh Lovespoons

By Robert W. Tinsley

The Welsh lovespoon has been a symbol of romance and commitment since the mid-1600s.   Legend states that a man carved a lovespoon to show interest in a lady. He incorporated a variety of symbols into the spoon, including a heart to signify love, a diamond to promise prosperity, and a keyhole to imply she holds the key to his heart. His skill and persistence in carving the spoon showed the young lady and her parents that he would be a good provider. If she accepted the spoon, she accepted him as a prospective mate; the lovespoon was a rural engagement ring. We don’t know for sure whether this legend reflects reality, but if it doesn’t, it should! Carve these Valentine’s Day gift in a weekend with Robert’s step-by-step tutorial in Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Spring 2015 Issue.

On the Banner Image:

Swedish Love Spoon by Dave Western

Tester spoons like this make wonderful, portable projects that can be undertaken with a minimum of space and equipment. In the old days, an axe, knife, and hook knife were likely the only tools used. Today, we can speed the process with drills, scroll saws, and sanders. I used power saws to speed the process, but you can use any combination of tools that works for you. Find Dave’s instructions in the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Spring 2020 Issue.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

Trefoil Rosette Applique

By Mark Ivan Fortune

French has long been the language of the woodcarver and sculptor. The term appliqué, as with many terms in the world of wood and stone art, is a French word, meaning simply “to apply.” Small decorative appliqués can be used to embellish a broad range of household furniture, from doors and shelves to headboards and cupboards. They’re also a great way to use up offcuts from the scrap pile. This particular project can be achieved with just a small handful of tools and is suitable for beginners. However, the experienced carver will find plenty of scope for experimentation, too. I would suggest using thinner stock and a smaller blank for a lighter, more graceful form, but this rosette looks beautiful in any size. You can even carve it on a board in relief, if desired. The possibilities are limitless! Add elegance to household items with this timeless floral design tutorial in the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Spring 2020 Issue.