Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

Archive for the category “Another Dam Carver”

The Completed Carving

Here’s the completed carving of “Another Dam Carver”.  I’ll get some more pictures up later in the week.  A nice little momento of Canada’s 150th birthday.




Let The Chips Fly

A few wood chips glued in place are making the little guy’s project a bit more interesting…


Some Additions

Things are moving along although I haven’t put that much time into the carving as of late.

I did manage to make a base from red oak.  It’s a couple of inches thick and I simply cut out a circle on the bandsaw and then used a router to add an edge at both the top and bottom.  I like to add a little edge to undercut the bottom of the bases as I think it just makes it look nicer when sitting on a table.

After staining and applying a few satin urethane coatings, I applied about an 1/8″ of white glue over the top almost like you’d put icing on a cake.  I then lightly pressed in about a 1/4″ or more of sawdust…who doesn’t have lots of sawdust laying around the shop?

When that was dry, I brushed away the loose sawdust to find that the glue made quite a bit of the sawdust look “wetted”, which I didn’t like.  So, I sprayed a coat of aerosol adhesive onto the sawdust base and then laid another 1/8″ of sawdust on top of that.  When that had dried, the sawdust looked dry and just the way I wanted it.

Out of a scrap piece of basswood, I carved the beaver’s project…a maple leaf.  And,  of course, on the bark I carved a smooth section and burned in 150th, representing this year’s 150th birthdate of our nation.  A small groove gouge made all of the markings on the bark.

Everything is epoxied in place now with a couple of wood screws also holding the two pieces onto the base.  Next step is to get a nameplate made up and to add a few larger wood chips here and there.



Adding Some Details

I used Cheryl’s suggestion from the last post and applied a bit more of a dark wash on the  fur before dry brushing some yellow ochre and later some bright yellow in small areas over the fur.  Once that was well dried, I applied some satin urethane wiping away the excess to prevent the carving from getting too shiny.  I’m pretty pleased with the results so far.

Also notice that the little guy now has a small ruler and a pencil in his apron pouch to help him with his carving.  I’ve given him some wire shoe laces and plan to go back with some brass nails and silver straight pins for the rivets on the pouch.

Stay tuned!


A Bit of Painting

Here’s the start to the painting.

The apron is a blend of washes of yellow ochre and asphaltum ( brown ).  I then added a few dabs of burnt sienna and raw sienna for highlights.  The whole thing was then dry brushed with an ivory.

The fur has many washes of asphaltum, burnt umber and yellow ochre.  I even added a single light wash of purple to give it a bit of richness.  I still want to go back and lighten up spots, especially around the face area.


Back to Caricatures

With the last project wrapped up, I’m returning to “Another Dam Carver.”

Any hard working Canadian beaver needs a toque…so, that’s what we’re working on this afternoon.  Now, for non-Canadians ( you unfortunates! ), a toque is a knitted wool hat that absolutely everyone owns.  They’re great for those cold Canadian winters and can be generally worn anytime from about the end of August to the following first of June!

I still use and enjoy Lynn Doughty’s method of “sizing” the hat to the head of the caricature with a bit of pencil lead on the head that transfers to the inside of the hat to highlight the high points that need to be shaved away.  The dowel is used to ensure that you’re replacing the hat in the exact same spot every time.


As you can see from the photo above and below, after shaping the toque, I used a burning tool to make vertical ridges in the hat.  Later,  I burned further marks into each of the ridges to make a herringbone pattern.  All in all, it looks pretty close to a knit pattern ( if you squint a bit ).



Tools of the Trade

I spent a bit of time on the little carver today.  One of the things I wanted to do is add a bit of texture to his tail.  After some exhaustive(!) google research…I learned that the beaver has a bit of a scale-like texture on his tail.  I didn’t really feel like putting that much time into it so I went with a multitude of little scoops made with a small gouge.  Once it’s painted and highlighted with some dry brushing, I think that it’ll look fairly reasonable.


Of course, he also needed some tools…a long handled chisel, a palm handled chisel and a ruler.  Rather than spend a lot of time digging out the pouch, I just used my wood burner and let the burning tool do the digging.  It made the basement smell nice, too.

You’ll also notice the carver’s project at the bandsaw stage: a birch stump with his carved Canadian Maple Leaf commemorating Canada’s 150th year in 2017!   Aren’t I clever today?


That Dam Carver

Yup, the dam carver is coming along nicely.  I actually haven’t been able to spend much time on it as of late, but I’m enjoying the bit of carving that I’m doing.  It’s surprisingly cold here today with a wind chill of -15 C, so being indoors and carving felt about right.

I’ve been using a medium sized gouge to scoop out a depression here and there along the beaver’s coat.  This makes the coat look a bit more realistic with some sections that will look a bit tufted.  I’ve also made sure not to make the carving too symmetrical.  By not having each side a mirror image of the other side, I think that it makes the little guy more life-like…plus, the tilt of the head and the sway to one side looks pretty good, I think.


As you can see, I added some more wrinkles to his apron and, with the end of a very small gouge, made the outline of a couple of beady beaver eyes.  Finally, with a fine v-shaped chisel, I made many short cuts that produced pretty reasonable fur.  Those little v cuts look especially nice where I had made the larger gouge marks as the fur seems to be following the contours of what you’d imagine as the folds in his skin.

Wildlife carvers would be very proud of me…


Caricature of a Carver

Last year at the Quinte Wood Carving Show and Competition held in Belleville, Ontario, we were challenged to think about entering a caricature carving of…a carver.  I’m not sure that I’ll have this ready for the show or if I’ll show it at all, but I thought that it was a fun idea.

As you are probably already aware, carvers in general are a fine looking group of people, so it’s a bit difficult to think of them with the exaggerated features required of a caricature!  So, I’m going in a bit of a different direction.  My would-be carver is going to be a caricature of the good old Canadian beaver.  I’m picturing him in a leather carving apron with some gouges in the pouch and wearing either a Mountie style hat or something along the lines of a Tilly hat.

The caption for this carving will be “Another Dam Carver.”  Ha!  Once I experiment a bit with this caricature, I’ll post a decent pattern for those that might like to try one for themselves.

I started by gluing a couple blocks of basswood together to make up a head and body portion of the carving and cutting out the profile of the carving beaver on the bandsaw.

I added a slightly upward curving tail section to the bottom of the figure.  I did this tail separately so that the grain of the wood could run along the length of the tail, giving it greater strength.  I cut a somewhat keyed section into the bottom of the figure and matched that shape on the end of the tail to “lock in” and glue the two pieces together.


Finally, with a Foredom  tool equipped with a Typhoon bit, I quickly roughed out the edges and then followed up with a knife and gouges to give the carving its initial shape.  In the process of shaping, I returned the carving to the bandsaw and cut a straight line through the neck of the carving, separating the head from the body.  I then glued the two pieces back together with the head turned just a little bit to give the carving a bit more character.


You can start to see what this guy’s going to look like with his hands wrapped around the neck strap of his leather apron and his shoes sticking out beneath.


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