It’s time for a cool dog wood carving tutorial! Let’s woof it up together and carve this cute schnauzer caricature.
This little whittle is fun to carve and shouldn’t take you more than a day or two to finish. While the painting is simple (guide provided at the end), the textured cuts for the fur add visual interest.
This step-by-step tutorial provides all the instructions that you will need to carve a beautiful dog that never needs walking!
For this dog wood carving, you will need a wood block that is 1.25 x 1.25 x 3 inches (3.2 x 3.2 x 7.6 cm). I use basswood for ease of carving.
Want a bigger dog wood carving? Simply increase the dimensions (print this tutorial and mark each measurement so you will not forget the changes).
A pencil or a sharpie is helpful for sketching. A small ruler is another great addition to your everyday carving kit.
Since this is a little whittle, you can probably use just detail knife. A gouge or micro-gouge is helpful (and faster) for carving the fur, but you can also make V-cuts with your (sharp) knife.
Safety first! Please always use a carving glove and protect your lap with something hard and flat as well.
See the key steps to make your dog wood carving in this short video.
You will carve off the corner for this dog wood carving.
Draw a guideline all around the block that is about 3/4 of an inch (1.9 cm) from the top. Add a second guideline all around that is 1.75 inch (4.4 cm) from the top.
Add a nose box between the two guidelines that runs 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. This means you nose box will run 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) on each side.
Add a third guideline that is 2 inches (5.1 cm) from the top all around. All guidelines are visible in photo 1.
On the back, add a box to reserve wood for the tail (photo 2) between the 2nd and third guideline. It should be 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) wide. This means it will be 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) on each side of the corner.
Use stop cuts (photo 3) to separate the top guideline all around. Tip: Start at each corner and work your way between the corners).
Flatten the corner above the nose (photo 4) to make an area for the eyes. Then, sketch the eyes and mark areas on the top where you will remove wood to carve the ears (photo 5). Tip: Hold off on carving the ears to avoid breaking them.
Now, separate the nose all around. You can use stop cuts, or slicing cuts, or a combination of both (photo 6).
Sketch on the head, mustache, tongue, and the paws on the front (photo 7) and the back (photo 8).
Make a V-cut on the top of the eye sockets (photo 9) and separate the eyes all around. Tip: It may be easier to hold the knife like a pencil (photo 10) on the side—and then a slicing cut—to remove wood.
Now that you have access to the eye sockets, you can remove wood in layers around the eyes (photos 11,12).
Once both sides are cut, mark more wood to remove to shape the ears (photo 13).
Use your knife to remove the wood that you previously marked (photos 14,15) on one ear using V-cuts (or slicing cuts). Repeat on the other ear.
Round the back of the head (photo 16).
Start to shape the next section of the head from the front around (photo 17). Round the nose (completed in photo 20), and separate the mustache (photo 20) and tongue on the front. Tip: mark wood to remove on the corners to round the nose (photo 18).
Draw guidelines to mark where you will separate the legs on the front (photo 21) and the back (photo 22) of the carving. Note: I ended up moving the tail box down a little bit.
Separate the tail, paws, and the legs on the front and back. You can use a combination of cuts—such as stop cuts (photo 22) to separate the tail and front paws—and push or pull cuts to remove wood between the paws (photos 23, 24).
Use a V-cut to remove wood to shape the ears (completed in photo 25). On the back side, make a curve cut (turn your wrist as you cut) to shape the back of the ears (photo 26).
Use a V-tool to carve the fur on your dog wood carving (photo 27). Make your lines curve around the face (visible in photo 31). If you don’t have a V-tool you can use a sharp knife and make V-cuts. It will take you longer, but you can achieve the same effect. Go slow and be careful.
When you are done, draw on the paws (photo 28) that you will cut with a V-tool (photo 29)—or very carefully with a knife.
Use your knife to clean up your cuts. You can also use a metal file or some sandpaper to remove any fuzzies before painting your dog wood carving. This will help enhance your painting.
Feel free to use paints and paint brushes of your choice. To get this look, I make a paint wash with 1 to 2 drops of paint mixed with 25 drops of water. Here are the acrylic paints, brands, and colors you can use to get the same look:
Photocopy this pattern to fit the size of your wood block.
I love these very sturdy Focuser Carving knives (affiliate link). Their carving knife is very comfortable to use.
The chip carving knife is my go-to for clean pyramid cuts. The long whittling knife is good for roughing out wood.
All are terrific for beginners, reasonably priced, and readily available.
They also support this website whenever purchases are made using these links (at no cost to you).
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