Saturday, November 21, 2009

How To Carve "Simple Simon" The Penguin- Part 1 (of 3)

This is part 1 (of 3) of "How To Carve Simple Simon The Penguin" video. This is a great project for the aspiring woodcarver who would like to try their hand at an entry-level "in-the-round" carving. Here you will be able to improve your hand/eye coordination with a 3-D project but not so complicated that you have to be trained as an architectural engineer to understand.

In the video I'm using a piece of southern basswood that measures approximately 1" X 1" and the penguin portion of my block is 2-3/4" long. I'm carving with the "Carvin' Jack" made by Flexcut because it's a complete carving set that I could conveniently attach to my belt as I enjoyed walking deep into the woods where I filmed the video. This simple carving project was the subject of a wonderful thread on the Woodcarving Illustrated Message Board where folks generously offered their own versions of the penguin. This video is the final result of how I carve this project in my own personal style. If you carve this project several times I guarantee you that you too will begin to develop your own unique style in creating a penguin that you will be proud of. They make great gifts too so that is only another reason (or excuse) to carve several of them and you'll be gaining more valuable carving skills while also producing some gifts that folks will love.

Antarctic: Signy Island - Adelie penguinsImage by mark van de wouw via Flickr

I've been using the step-by-step carving models for this little penguin in my woodshop carving program with great success. I've discovered that my 14-16 year old students find the visual steps easy to follow and they really like the bright black & white finishing colors with the red bowtie. This penguin is a real cutie and has been kid tested to be sure!

As always, never-ever compromise your safety. When carving always wear a glove on the non-carving hand and be sure that it's made from a high quality cut resistant material such as Kevlar. If your project isnt clamped or held secure on a table with a vise then be sure to use a lap board to protect your legs. (A piece of 1/2" ply board will work.) Above all be patient and never-ever force your knife. Learn to be safe and carve your project one thin slice at a time until you achieve the correct depth. If you've never had any carving experience then I would strongly suggest that you seek personal instruction from a professional carver and/or study carving manuals such as the Boy Scout Woodcarving merit badge booklet.

Be safe and have fun!

(Parts 2 and 3 will follow shortly.)

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