Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

Archive for the tag “soldier carving”

Hamilton Woodcarving Show 2014

The Canadian Carving Show was held again this year in Hamilton, Ontario at the War Heritage Museum adjacent to the International Airport.  Again, my daughter, Emily, and I were able to get together for a day to take in the show and also enjoy a visit to our favourite Indian restaurant and a bit of a shopping spree at IKEA.  A lot of fun.


We attended together on Saturday, and I returned on Sunday to take in more of the show.  The event was very well attended in  spite of some extreme snow and ice conditions that hampered travel that weekend.  Being a combination of wood-working and wood-carving, the show attracted in a lot of suppliers and craftspeople with common interests.  There were some very good deals to be had on supplies and equipment as well as some excellent demonstrations to take in.



The museum was also available to all wood show participants, and Emily and I made good use of that.  95% of the aircraft, of which only a few are shown in the photo below, are airworthy.  I believe that the Lancaster, shown here, is one of only two airworthy Lancasters left in the world.  I know that I’ve seen this Lanc fly overhead several times when I’ve visited my hometown of Niagara Falls.


I’m not exactly sure how many carvers brought carvings to the show…but, there were a lot of beautifully crafted items in all categories.  I wish that I had recorded the individual’s name, but, one craftsman brought a cello that he had made.


Corporal Duncan Sowerby was awarded 2nd in Open Caricatures and proudly stood next to many exceptional carvings in the caricatures category.  I also got a chance to talk with a number of caricature carvers who brought great carvings.  A couple of photos of some of the carvings are included below, but several more are on the Flickr Site that you can link to at the side of this page.




Although I’ve been very proud of my “Hobo and Ned” carving, I can tell you that Emily’s and my jaw dropped when we saw that the judges awarded it 1st in Open Caricatures, 1st in Open, and, 1st Best in Show.  What a thrill and what a memory.

Be sure to attend this outstanding event next year.



Ottawa Carving Show

I attended the Ottawa Carving Show this past weekend hosted by the Outaouais Carving Club.  Again, this show was well attended and approximately 180 carvings were entered in all classes.  The event attracts many competitors from Eastern Ontario and Quebec who bring along outstanding carvings.  A very friendly gathering with an opportunity to meet some really nice people.

I entered my two bark carvings along with Cpl. Duncan Sowerby.  Registration was Friday evening so I made the quick trip to Ottawa and again on Sunday afternoon to spend some time taking in the show.  The club always puts on a great prize presentation at the end of the show on Sunday and has a lot of fun with the process.  You would never guess by their light-heartedness that so much gruelling work had gone in to making the event such a success.



I was very happy to take away a 1st Place in Class and 3rd Best in Division for the “Castle Cottonwood” and a 2nd Place in Class for the “Cottonwood Mill”.  But what really knocked my socks off was a 1st in Class, 2nd in Division and a 2nd Best in Show for the Corporal.  He seemed to be standing a little taller…I know that I was!

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Be sure to check out the Outaouais Club’s website ( I’ve included it in the links to the right of this page ) and plan to attend this event next year.  I’ll upload all of the photos that I took at the event on the Tributesinwood Flickr Photos link soon.

Pickering Woodcarving Show

I enjoyed attending the Pickering, Ontario, “Magic in Wood” carving show this past weekend. The show appeared to have about 350 carvings in competition and many more on display.

I’ve included a few pictures of the carvings, both on display and in the competition, in the Tributesinwood Flickr Photo album link to the right of this page. I also took a few videos which I’ll post shortly.

I was very pleased that Cpl. Duncan Sowerby earned a 1st Place in Intermediates Caricatures and my two bark carvings, Castle Cottonwood and Cottonwood Mill, earned a 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Bark Carving category.

The owners of the bark carvings ( Mom and Emily ) will be getting their carvings back but should not expect to get the ribbons!




The Corporal is Ready to March

Check out the photo gallery link at the top of the page for the finished pictures of Duncan Sowerby!  I’m very pleased with the way that he turned out.  I’m also pleased that he’s finished!


Standing Tall on Cobblestone

ImageToday Corporal Sowerby stands proudly on what will soon become weathered cobblestone.

Here are a couple of shots of his latest progress with everything but the canteen and some assorted equipment straps glued in place.

The cobblestone should be painted by the next update.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!


Accessories Added

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  I suppose that I should have carved a leprechaun instead of a soldier!  Next year.

I’ve put a coat of urethane on everything and have begun to fasten all of the accessories onto the soldier.  I need to run out and get some silver coloured nails for buttons before I attach the hands and the gun.  I’ll get around to that this week.


Here’s a shot from the front.  I should have also mentioned that I’ve begun the base, as well.  When it’s completed it will be stained and urethaned along the sides.  The top will be painted to look like old cobblestone with dirt and moss growing up through the spaces between the bricks.  I’m still carving the cobblestone.  Right now it looks flat but once it’s finished it will look very uneven and irregular like old roads tend to look.


Here’s a shot of the back of the carving showing the backpack, satchel and ammunition pouch.  I still have the canteen to glue on…still doing a bit of painting on that item.  I’m really happy about how the rolled blanket turned out.

A Colourful Corporal


Well, our 1812 soldier now has some colour.  In a few days, I’ll have his hands and other soldiering accessories painted and glued in place.  A final urethane finish will protect the acrylic paints and really make the colours come out.  You probably can’t see it in this photo, but I have quite a bit of colouring to make him look a bit battle worn…basically, some mud and dirt look.  I’m really glad that I added the legs and shoes as I think that it completes the caricature that started out as a bust.

I’ll get another picture up later this week, hopefully.

Musket and other progress

Here’s a quick picture of the musket that my 1812 soldier caricature will be holding.  The gun stock is made of cherry and the barrel is an old artist’s brush.  The metal plate is aluminum tape and the flintlock mechanism and trigger are made from lead.


The brass looking brackets on the gunstock are actually copper.  I used a piece of electrical copper wiring and flattened it out to make these two brackets.  You might be able to spot two gun strap brackets as well.  These are just made out of wire from straight pins and glued in place.

The gun is in two parts and the split will be hidden beneath one of the soldier’s hands.  I had to split the gunstock in this fashion so that I could fit it closely to the hand that I carved earlier.

In other news…the Corporal now has legs!  I started to paint him and he looked so nice that I decided that it wouldn’t be right to leave him as just a bust…so I glued on some additional wood and carved up his legs and shoes.

I’m just in the process of painting right now, and I’ll get a photo up on the web in the next day or so.

Hands and Musket

We’ll, I guess I’m not setting any land Imagespeed records, but I am making a bit of progress.  It’s tragic how the rest of your life can interfere with carving!

I’ve roughed in the placement of his hands and the musket.  Still a bit more work to do on both…I want to keep the hands over-sized as this is a caricature and the figure should be exaggerated.  The musket still requires a lot of work to include a barrel and flint-lock hammer.  I’ll also include a leather strap ( mine will be probably made from sheet metal ) along the bottom of the barrel with some hardware to attach to the wood gun stock.

The gun stock is actually cut and re-attached underneath his right hand.  If I hadn’t done this, I would never have been able to carve his fingers and thumbs closely wrapped around the gun stock.

I hope that you like the way that he’s progressing…I think that he’s going to look pretty nice when I have him set up on a pedestal.  Just a little more playing around to do and I’ll be ready to start painting.  I’m still shooting for the April wood carving show in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and I now see that there is a second show in Belleville, Ontario on the following weekend.  The Corporal may be doing a bit of travelling.

An Update on the Corporal

A bit more progress on Cpl Sowerby.  Didn’t have a lot of time this past week to work on him, but this weekend I hope to get his hands carved and a rough-out of his musket.


I am pleased with the equipment that I’ve carved so far.  That’s a cloth bag on his left side where the soldier would have stored a number of items that he might want to get at more quickly than those items that would be stored in the backpack.  I’m planning on making a strap out of metal strip that will run from that bag up and under one of the carved straps on his body.  Notice that the canteen will lean against that cloth bag and will have another metal strap run up and around his shoulder and the back of his neck.  I like the bed-roll too up on top of the back-pack.  I did see a picture of a soldier with a tin cooking pot strapped to his back-pack and bed-roll…so, the Corporal may just end up with one of those as well.


Here’s a picture of the other side showing his ammunition pouch.  If you’re particularly observant, you’ll notice that the ammo pouch and the canteen are bigger than my earlier pictures.  I wasn’t happy with the size of the previous versions so I quickly carved up a couple more.  I’ve also detailed in the button embellishments on his uniform.  I think that they are going to look great once the tunic is red and the embellishments are yellow.

I’ll get another picture uploaded this weekend…hopefully with a couple of hands in the mix.

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