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Project by stefang posted 02-24-2015 04:12 PM 2239 views 2 times favorited 54 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When I had this finished project I asked my youngest grandson (15) if he knew who this carving represents. To my surprise He answered Tom Sawyer right away. Not bad for a Norwegian. It just goes to show how widespread Mark Twain’s stories have spread. A world class author. I had a role in a Tom Sawyer play while in grade school which we performed for the parents and students. It was a lot of fun and it is one of my fonder memories.

My real reason for doing Tom was not however due to fond memories . I wanted to try carving a figure with hands and feet in the hope of learning a little more about anatomy, and I immediately thought of Tom as the perfect subject. Secondly I wanted him to be doing something so as not to look too static, but not doing too much as my skills are currently at the bottom of the ladder, so I figured the fence painting chapter would be perfect. Even worse than Tom was the rather badly carved dog. I realized at the last minute that there was too much empty space in the scene, so I did him rather quickly and rather badly. At least I’m rather consistent! The dog is not attached to the scene and I plan to do another and better one later. I will probably have to keep it in my shop as I don’t think anyone would want it, but it will be useful to measure my future work against to see if I improve.

This was fun to carve, but at a little over 12” it was a lot more work than I had planned on. I made it bigger because i also wanted it to be big enough to allow for some facial details, especially the eyes. Of course I couldn’t put a lot of character into the face as Tom is very young and therefore has a smooth face. I’m not thrilled with it, but it is marginally better than my last face, so I just have to practice more. I’ve been reading up on figure carving, watching some online videos and I bought some caricature carving books to study. I also want to thank ’Druid’ aka John for emailing me several carving books which he had available. They were a big help, but of course theory is one thing and practice is another, so I realize it will be some time before I do anything worthwhile. Anyway I will now have something to do while sitting on the terrace in the spring and summer soaking up the sun!

Thanks for reading and please don’t hesitate to criticize as it can only help me do better next time!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

54 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7782 posts in 2726 days

#1 posted 02-24-2015 04:14 PM

now that is one cool cool carving, gee you sure have done good, im so impressed with how well your doing, i guess your a great carver and didnt even know it, mike this is fantastic…i love it

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

View Dutchy's profile


1976 posts in 1591 days

#2 posted 02-24-2015 04:20 PM

Mike I am speechless that you can make this after such a sort time of pactice, Wonderful.

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2757 days

#3 posted 02-24-2015 04:26 PM

Thanks so much for those kind words Bob. How is your back doing? I hope you are fully recovered and back in your shop doing making those wonderful projects of yours.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3304 days

#4 posted 02-24-2015 04:26 PM

Wow! I am impressed.
That is just wonderful.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1840 days

#5 posted 02-24-2015 04:33 PM

That is a great looking carving. The face is perfect for the carving. I really like the overall body shape and the details in the shirt and overalls.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2757 days

#6 posted 02-24-2015 04:55 PM

Thanks much Jan, Steve and Peter. The best part was that I didn’t cut myself even once doing this project, but I cut myself about 15 times doing my first figure carving. I’m really glad my wife made me get that carving glove and made me a thumb protector.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View doubleDD's profile


5067 posts in 1466 days

#7 posted 02-24-2015 05:02 PM

That’s not bad at all Mike, More like a dang nice carving. If he had his hat you would of captured everything. Nice work.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View  woodshaver (Tony)  's profile

woodshaver (Tony)

3939 posts in 2775 days

#8 posted 02-24-2015 05:07 PM

Wow! What a fantastic work of art Mike! I love everything about this great carving! The detail is superb!
At first look .. Tom Sawyer came to mind!
Thanks for sharing Mike!

-- Tony C UAW, St Augustine FL, My high school shop teacher said "You can do it"... Now I can't stop!

View jim65's profile


800 posts in 1356 days

#9 posted 02-24-2015 05:12 PM

This is great, you are way up the ladder on this one, also from the creative process as well as the working process. compliments!

-- Jim, Marostica Italy

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3945 posts in 2587 days

#10 posted 02-24-2015 05:23 PM

Love the subject matter, Mike. It looks folksy, and that is what you intended, I think. I am not versed enough in carving to critique it. I guess I would want to put Tom in a working pose, and that would be a whole new level of difficulty. For you, it was a learning project, and you still ended up with a good looking piece of art. That a way to go, Mike. Youse is obviously having fun…........(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View blasley's profile


32 posts in 638 days

#11 posted 02-24-2015 06:05 PM

Super job! If your skills are at the bottom of the ladder, mine are in the dirt below the basement. You should be extremely proud. I look forward to seeing the next one.


-- Bob in Okieland

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2757 days

#12 posted 02-24-2015 06:54 PM

Thanks a lot Dave, Tony, Jim, Jim and Bob

Dave I wanted to do a hat and I agree it would have made the scene more complete, but I figured I need more practice with hair.

Jim I could say that I didn’t show Tom working because as I remember he recruited others to finish the job, but you are right that a working position would have made the scene a lot more interesting, but it would probably have been to much of a challenge for me at this time.

One of the nice things about this pastime is that the smaller cutoffs from the workpieces can be used to carve small figures which can be quite nice, so there is not very much wastage of materials involved. Also things like hands, feet, arms, heads, etc. can be made out of smaller pieces and glued on after they are carved. I did that with the with this one, including The arms, hands, feet, and head. It’s a bit like making models, but with your own plan.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View johnhutchinson's profile


1172 posts in 1052 days

#13 posted 02-24-2015 08:19 PM

Wonderful, Mike !!!

How hard was it to do a perfect paint job and then smear blotches of white paint on it?
Must have taken guts. :)

I still think that random is the most difficult thing. To my eye, you nailed it.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6819 posts in 3402 days

#14 posted 02-24-2015 08:34 PM

Real nice work on this!



-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Schwieb's profile


1792 posts in 2884 days

#15 posted 02-24-2015 08:49 PM

For good reasons and not so good ones, we are usually our own worst critics. I think this is pretty darn good, especially for being in the early stages for this kind of carving.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

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