Carve a Fun Santa Garland archive

Friday 10 December 2010

Paul Bignell shows you how to carve two simple Santas to decorate your home this Christmas


Talking to my students, they wanted to do something either in pierced relief or heavy/deep relief for Christmas, so in keeping with the concept of relatively simple and easy to carve subjects, I have come up with this project.

I have used a piece of 27mm thick lime 180 x 240mm but you can quite easily scale the workpiece to your size of choice.

Getting started

Transfer the design to your chosen piece of wood and cut around the outside with a bandsaw or fretsaw (see photo 2). Reduce the thickness of the hatband area by about a third (9mm), and further reduce the forehead area by a third of the initial reduction (i.e. another 3mm) (see photo 3). For this exercise, I actually used a router but a drill press with a preset depth works just as well, or of course it can be removed with chisels and gouges.

Next, draw a line horizontally across the face, level with the bridge of the nose, 100mm from the top. It is deliberate that the tip of the nose is the exact centre, top to bottom, 120mm. Taper this area down to the forehead and redraw the design on the area of wood removed.

Further reduce the thickness of the hat, round off the bobble, and carve in the material folds in the hat, before going on to rough out the features of the face. Taper down both sides of the forehead (temples) by a couple of millimetres to emphasise the round shape of the head, and then follow this by a similar taper on the hatband to match the curve of the forehead (see photo 4).

Facial features

Now to tackle the face features: eyes, nose, cheeks, lower lip and moustache (see photo 5). Take care when shaping the eyes and eyelids; I used knives and a mini veiner to do this. To round off and smooth the cheeks, I used rifflers and Abranet, but sandpaper is ok. Detail was added to the moustache and eyebrows with a knife, and the beard was shaped with various gouges and knives (see photo 6). The final smoothing of the face was done with shaped Flexcut scrapers and the hat and beard were coloured with Liberon stains (see photo 7).

To take this carving up a level, you could try carving a holly wreath to complete the pierced relief from the same drawing (see photo 8).

Woodworkers Institute

Tagged In:

Christmas , Paul Bignell , Santa , garland

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