Folk Carving (A Wooden Sheep)

This is a quick “how to” on folk carving. I am by no means a master or even good at carving but this is folk carving so I don’t have to be.


First up, I cut and split out a blank roughly the size of the figure, in this case a 2 1/2 inch sheep.

sheepprocess2Cut a few relief cuts and split out the majority of the waste. Pare down the endgrain to finish the side view.

sheepprocess4Carve the sheep to give it dimension and detail and drill the holes for the legs. I use one of the old hand cranked drills which gives a lot more control over depth and angle than a power drill or drill press would. Set the legs at a slight outward angle and dont worry about the depth of the legs. Just leave them long and cut them to down to equal size.

sheepprocess5I split out blanks for the legs and carved them to size slightly tapered. Another way is to drill the same size hole in a scrap piece of metal preferably at least 1/4 inch thick. Then take the split pieces and drive them through the hole. This makes great strait grained dowels.

Next, attach the first leg and cut it to length. Each consecutive leg can be cut from the first so that all legs are equal length. Add some finish and its done.

sheep3 sheep2 sheep1


About Anthony Wilder

I am an artisan woodworker from Grand Rapids, MI. Woodworking is my passion and I do all my work with hand tools. We can learn a lot from past methods and mindsets and I am working towards teaching the lost art of working wood.
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