Indian in the Burl

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Project by Josh Carte posted 04-03-2014 at 08:18 AM 877 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I carved this Indian into a piece of Big Leaf Maple Burl. There was a round, spiny mass in the wood where his face is now. It just seemed to me that a face belonged in that part of the wood. I have learned that a whole lot of what I do is all about placement. I can make a highly-detailed, complicated carving and end up not liking it because it isn’t as one with the wood :)

I love working with burls because they have their own unique shape and character. Burls are formed on trees due to some form of stress to the tree, normally an agrobacteria. The resulting burl is a work of art in itself. These Big Leaf Maple Burls are unique, even to burls, in that they often have spiny projections protruding from them- I just love that effect. I carved off most of the projections on this piece when I made the face, but there are still a few small spots at the the top.

This fella’ appears to have been around for a spell. This “Indian in the Burl” is a stern and solemn leader. I carved him using rotary hand tools (very similar to dentist’s tools) and painted him using acrylics.

Wood is good :)


15 comments so far

View deon's profile


2171 posts in 1663 days

#1 posted 04-03-2014 at 08:25 AM

Wow, great work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View hunter71's profile


1996 posts in 1824 days

#2 posted 04-03-2014 at 08:44 AM

Great. Your work inspires me to want to try to carve.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1049 posts in 247 days

#3 posted 04-03-2014 at 09:42 AM

wow, that is so cool, it looks life-like, great work

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13873 posts in 975 days

#4 posted 04-03-2014 at 10:00 AM

Very nice work

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View PaulDoug's profile


537 posts in 340 days

#5 posted 04-03-2014 at 10:02 AM

Absolutely awesome! The one of you holding the burl looks like he is about to say, “put me down!” Great work. What brand rotary tool do you have. I’ve been wanting to upgrade from my e-bay bought Dremel, looking at the Foredom for a long time but just haven’t been able to justify it. I have no real talent, but do like to play at it.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View mcoyfrog's profile


3057 posts in 2231 days

#6 posted 04-03-2014 at 11:19 AM

WOW your work always stops me in my tracks simply amazing

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View flintbone's profile


181 posts in 1793 days

#7 posted 04-03-2014 at 04:38 PM

Good job. He looks like he means what he says.
Keep up the good work.

-- If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. - Albert Einstein

View CharlieM1958's profile


15693 posts in 2855 days

#8 posted 04-03-2014 at 08:29 PM

That is so life-like it’s scary! Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View grace123's profile


153 posts in 1399 days

#9 posted 04-03-2014 at 09:27 PM

The eyes appear to be totally real. Great job.

View aussiedave's profile


3014 posts in 461 days

#10 posted 04-04-2014 at 03:53 AM

Another great looking carving with lots of character in the face…Excellent carving.

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View ohwoodeye's profile


1008 posts in 1790 days

#11 posted 04-04-2014 at 06:15 AM

Amazing work.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's opinion on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View Josh Carte's profile

Josh Carte

186 posts in 317 days

#12 posted 04-04-2014 at 03:20 PM

Thanks everyone :) I really appreciate all of your positive feedback :) PaulDoug, I use a Foredom. I had a hard time justifying the price before I owned it, too- now it seems cheap for such a great tool.


View majuvla's profile


3347 posts in 1504 days

#13 posted 04-04-2014 at 11:49 PM

So authentic character!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View DocSavage45's profile


4926 posts in 1479 days

#14 posted 04-05-2014 at 08:45 AM


Been busy. Late to your party. You have a unique talent. You are one with the wood!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View mbs's profile


1437 posts in 1577 days

#15 posted 04-06-2014 at 06:00 AM

I admire people with imagination and skill like you have.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

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