Wood Carving & Man Crafting

The Art & Craft of Being a 21st Century Renaissance Man



Vintage Carved Titanic Bookends

Often, I’ll pick a project based on the materials I already have available.

After I finished the set of vintage whale bookends, I still had two angle brackets left over. And because I was pretty happy with how the whale turned out, I decided to take a crack at a set modeled after the Titanic for my nephew.

The first step was looking at pictures and schematics of the ship so I could get a basic idea of what I wanted to shape. I wanted to make my piece stylized and not hyper-realistic (a) because I’m not that talented, and (b) because it was a gift meant for a five-year old, and if it happened to get knocked over or dropped accidentally, I wanted to make sure some hair-thin piece of railing or something wouldn’t shoot off of it, leaving it impossible to fix. So the goal was to make it solid, while still recognizable, with a bit of vintage charm.

There were a lot of pictures I used at different times while working on it, but this picture was my go-to reference.


Continue reading “Vintage Carved Titanic Bookends”


Vintage Carved Whale Bookends

Handmade gifts can be tricky. If the finished product isn’t gift-worthy, not only will you embarrass yourself, but you’ll also put the recipient in the awkward position of feeling obligated to accept it, whether they want it or not. Handing someone an ugly handmade present is kind of like giving them a beta fish. This is your responsibility now. Deal with it.

So this is the mindset I had when I started carving my first (unrequested) gift.

A couple of months back, my wife and I were invited to a friend’s birthday get-together. A fundamental rule of being a gentleman is that you should never show up to a party empty-handed, so instead of a bottle of wine, I brought a whale.

When I first started carving, I did a lot of faces and busts. They look cool, but they don’t have a lot of utility; they just kind of sit on the shelf as a conversation piece. So for my gift, I decided I wanted to make something that was a little more functional.

Knowing that my friend decorated her place in a nautical theme, I started combing Pinterest for some ideas and happened across this vintage whale bookend.

Continue reading “Vintage Carved Whale Bookends”

Oh, Christmas Tree

If you live in the US, you might be familiar with the annual Christmas tree dumpster haul that happens in late December or early January. In years past, I’ve pruned my tree, usually a Douglas fir or Fraser fir, down to the trunk, and used a hatchet to cut it into logs for my fire pit. This year, though, I can’t bring myself to just burn what could be some decent carving material.

Looking at my tree, it’s really difficult not to daydream about being able to carve a walking stick out of it. There’s also this Instructable  I found about turning your Christmas tree into a didgeridoo.  Seriously cool.

So, if you’re thinking about picking up a new hobby, ‘tis the season. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, now is the perfect time to get your hands on some wood (ha). Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, a discarded tree should be relatively easy to find on the curb in your neighborhood. Continue reading “Oh, Christmas Tree”

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