I Carved the Sun #1: - Carving the Smaller Sun

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Blog entry by helluvawreck posted 09-21-2011 10:47 PM 6593 reads 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of I Carved the Sun series Part 2: - Carving the Larger Sun »

About 4 weeks ago I carved this sun. It is a pattern by Lora S. Irish from her book, 101 Artistic Relief Patterns for Woodcarvers, Woodburners & Crafters. I really do like the patterns in this book.

After cutting and sanding the basswood blank I attached the pattern and carbon paper and carefully traced the pattern by hand.

As you can see this basswood is somewhat grainy. I didn’t think that it would matter that much.

I began carving by outlining the inner wall of the circle and outline of the nose with a v-tool.

Since the nose would be the most prominent part of the face I started to remove wood from the rest of the face with a gouge.

And then smoothing the surface with a number 3 gouge which is less shallow than the first gouge.

I took another pattern that I had copied and piece of carbon paper and cut along the inner line of the circle around the face and also around the nose so that I could locate the eye sockets.

After they were located I began carving the outline of the eye sockets with a small number 11 gouge.

And got the outline of them both to approximately the same depth after which I rounded the whole area inside the eye sockets over and smoothed them up. He sort of looks like he has glasses on at this point.

I drew in the left eye as best as I could and then carved it. I missed a few pictures here because of concentrating on the eye. I also began rounding over the forehead and eyebrow ridge.

I then copied the right eye from the left eye with a pencil in order to try to keep them as symmetrical as I was able to even though I knew they wouldn’t be exact.

After this I began shaping the cheeks and thinning them up a bit.

And I also began shaping the mouth.

And I also worked on the chin and joules a little.

I thought that everything was coming along ok at this point but I wanted to try something a little different than the way I did the left eye.

I decided to round over the whole eye mound before drawing the right eye and before I carved it. I thought that this would make the eye look better even though I knew it would make each eye a little more different than the other. But I’m learning and like to experiment while I’m carving.

After rounding it over and thinning it up I could see that this would work better for me.

I used a ruler to help me make three strategic marks for the right eyelid. This would help in drawing it by hand.

Using the dots and observing the left eye I drew in the right eye lid trying to keep them symmetrical.

Then, after drwing in the rest of the right eye I could carve the right eye lid by also observing the left.

The symmetry is not perfect but reasonably so – at least for me. I have a lot to learn.

And I carved the top of the lower lid and began rounding over the whole eye ball.

Of course while I’m working on any detail sometimes my eyes are distracted to other parts of the face so everything is in a state of flux.

I get off of the eyes for a while and began shaping the cheeks some more and thinning them a bit.

I also round the mouth a little.

The upper cheeks are shaped a little more and blended in a little to the lower eyelid area.

I can then proceed to work on the lips.

I carve the pupils and iris’ of the eyes and carve the outer perimeter of the face circle.

And round over the circle which is similar to a bead.

The last detail of the face is the forehead wrinkles.

I drilled some relief holes for the scroll saw blade and sawed out the rays on the scroll saw.

This is the first time that I have used my scroll saw in many months. I’m becoming to realize that it will be an important tool for me in the future.

Now I can try to put a pattern into the rays that will maybe simulate fire.

A few more touch ups and details.

This is where I have temporarily stopped. I need to do some more clean up work but this sun is close to being done. Before I finish this one I have gotten some better ideas about how to do the next sun so I may digress to that before cleaning this one up. The next part of this blog is a bigger sun with a few modifications.

I hope that you will stay tuned. And thanks for looking.


-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

18 comments so far

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3499 days

#1 posted 09-21-2011 10:54 PM

Wow I am definitely intrigued

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View WayneC's profile


13751 posts in 4000 days

#2 posted 09-21-2011 11:06 PM

Very nice work.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View steviep's profile


233 posts in 2549 days

#3 posted 09-21-2011 11:18 PM

Looks great, you obviously have some patience. Did you figure out what you were going to do for drawing classes?

-- StevieP ~ Micheal Tompkins - you were not here on earth long but left a giant mark on us. RIP Brother

View lew's profile


11940 posts in 3658 days

#4 posted 09-21-2011 11:22 PM

WOW! It is amazing to watch the face appear from the wood!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9220 posts in 2822 days

#5 posted 09-21-2011 11:34 PM

Thank you for documenting all of this! You really put a lot of work into taking all the step by step pictures and I am sure that many people besides myself really are going to appreciate it. Your carving is really coming out nicely. It is also nice to read your thoughts throughout the process. This is a great project and a joy to follow. Thanks for sharing it with us!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10020 posts in 3955 days

#6 posted 09-21-2011 11:56 PM

W O W !

You have done one hellava GREAT job on that face!

Reminded me of how werewolves changed on the movie screen!

I see what you meant when you said you lost the drawing when you cut it away… & have to get it back!
... or do the best you could to get it back… TRICKY…!!

Now, I guess the Flames around the face makes it a Sun… LOL… and not get confused with a Moon… LOL,,,

Very GOOD!

Thank you for sharing and taking all of those pictures, etc,!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View flippedcracker's profile


91 posts in 2356 days

#7 posted 09-22-2011 12:05 AM

wow, quite impressive!

View degoose's profile


7227 posts in 3257 days

#8 posted 09-22-2011 12:19 AM

Looking good!!

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View patron's profile (online now)


13594 posts in 3243 days

#9 posted 09-22-2011 12:28 AM

well charles

i am very impressed

not only have you persisted in your carving

but you have gotten better at it

the difference is that cnc work
can be ‘symmetrical’ if desired

but character comes from the art
and it like life
is never exact
(well at least till it has happened)

great work
thanks for the journey

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View 58j35bonanza's profile


395 posts in 2595 days

#10 posted 09-22-2011 02:13 AM

Wow! I really like it.
I am just starting to carve and hope to be able to do something like this.

-- Chuck

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3206 days

#11 posted 09-22-2011 02:18 AM

hey there charles, im so proud of you and your journey to take on your self taught carving, your doing such a wonderful job and it looks terrific…..cant wait to see this finished, keep at if my friend, your going to become a great carver…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18189 posts in 3578 days

#12 posted 09-22-2011 03:33 AM

Nice job and blog Charles.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2505 days

#13 posted 09-22-2011 04:15 AM

Great job, keep on with the carvings!!! Thanks for all of the pics.

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2920 days

#14 posted 09-22-2011 04:46 AM

That is a heck of a job there. Very nice to see the progression in steps. Keep going!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View mainerustic's profile


53 posts in 2770 days

#15 posted 09-22-2011 05:28 AM

nice work!

-- Maine Rustic

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