Monday, October 31, 2011

The Finished Trout

Here he is, suitably mounted on a wooden chopping board, textured to represent flowing water. Both background and fish are varnished in high gloss as though they are permanently wet.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Trout earns his Spots

I used a simple woodburner to create the spots on top of the fish. Then I coated everywhere with Danish oil. The top and the eye area were darkened with teak oil mixed with rosewood-coloured wood preservative. The belly was brightened with sunflower oil tainted with white oil-paint. I'll let it dry for a few days before lacquering.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Trout Coming Along

It can be hard to find time time to carve, what with work, chores and family life. I keep chipping away at the trout. Trying to bring this project to completion reminds me of the maths problem about limits, if a flea jumps along a ruler and can only jump half the remaining distance each time, the flea is coming ever closer to the end but just never gets there. (Although my theory is that he can just reach out and pull himself that last couple of micrometers to the finishing line.)
In the meantime, I've used a gouge and a veiner to imprint the impression of scales on the trout's skin. I used veiners and a V-tool to put some bones into the fins. I painted the eyes yellow (too yellow maybe) and used black inside the drilled-out pupils. I placed a piece of waste clear rigid plastic food packaging on a breadboard and point a small gouge onto it, then I rotated the plastic 360 degrees until the gouge had cut out a perfect little plastic disc. I glued the disc to the trout's pupil with clear varnish. Now let's work on that tongue .....

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Carved a seahorse from a basswood practice block at the weekend. It's inspired by one of Gene Messer's YouTube video lessons.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Trout - Taking Shape

I mounted the basswood trout onto a carving jig and locked it into a bench vice. This frees up my two hands to use tools. The pectoral and abdominal fins are taking shape. More importantly, I agonisingly settled on the exact location of the eyes (yes there's a right eye on the other side) and so I could give the fish a face, so to speak. At this stage, I've use gouges and my Allen Goodman knife. I drilled a 4.5 mm hole for the eye pupils.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rounding the Trout

I drew a centre line along the top of the trout from front to back. The same on the bottom. On the trout's left side, I drew a line from the mouth to the centre of the tail. These lines mark my high points and I have been rounding the fish by removing wood between these lines. Towards the middle of the fish, the line on the left is placed a bit higher than the centre of the fish, because that's where the fish is thickest (not in the dead centre).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More roughing-out on the trout

I took off most of the wood on the sides of the fish. I've made the tail curve out slightly to the fish's left. If you're wondering why the dorsal fin on the top is not centred, it's because my piece of basswood is narrower than the original trout I am copying, so I'm effectively leaving off part of the right side of it's body. I plan to mount that side of the carving onto a board of some kind, so the missing "slice" isn't so important.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tools used on the trout

I finished the outer profile of the trout. Here are the main tools I used to rough it out so far: Warren knife, Mike Shipley knife, Allen Goodman knife, Helvie knife, large chizel, try-square, pencil, rasp, coping saw, Flexcut carving jack, Kirschen (Two Cherries) gouge, Pfeil (Swiss Made) V-tool, leather strop and Flexcut stropping compound.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Trout - First Step

My step-father asked me to carve him a trout. Mind you that was last year, but better late than never. I bought a trout from a fish supplier and I traced the outline onto paper. Then I used carbon paper to transfer the outline onto a block of basswood. I don't have a band-saw, but I used a Mike Shipley knife, an Allen Goodman knife, a Flexcut carving jack, a small gouge, a flat chizel, a large rasp and a coping saw to bring the wood down to the outline so far. I have been doing spot-checks with a try-square to see if there are any large bumps or slants that need to be corrected. In this picture you can see at the bottom that I'm not quite there yet. My wife has been very patient so far about the wood-chips that are still found around the sitting room the next morning after each bit of carving.


I whittled this egg-cup together from some scrap basswood over a couple of evenings while watching TV. (My wife Frances had custody of the remote control of course.) I used a couple of knives and a Flexcut carving jack. It's finished off with a few coats of sanding sealer (shellac and alcohol), which actually took me longer than the carving itself. The egg is real and was kindly given to me by Colm, a colleague at work who keeps chickens at home.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Duck Completed

Here are some photos of the duck before I sent it to my stepsister for Christmas 2010.