WHITTLING A WOOD ELEPHANT

By TOM HINDES, AUTHOR OF WHITTLING IN YOUR FREE TIME

Tom Hindes is back with 16 new quick and easy projects to carve in wood! With over 20 years of wood carving experience and a regular contributor of Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Tom’s tutorials and patterns are sought after beginners and advanced carvers a like. 

Sample Tom’s tutorial style as he will walks you through this fast, fun, and easy wood carving for beginners tutorial with a free pattern download of a little elephant carving below. 

 

Elephant Wood Carving – Getting Started

In Indian culture, the elephant is considered lucky. Whittle these adorable pieces for your friends and family—and keep one for yourself. Trace the pattern onto the blank, and cut the perimeter with a band saw, scroll saw, or coping saw. Draw the detail lines and a centerline onto the blank.

Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine

WHITTLING IN YOUR FREE TIME

Anyone can whittle! Inside you will find:

  • 16 easy projects using the approachable flat-plane style of whittling and carving
  • Beginner-friendly method can be split into complexity levels from very simple, for novices, to more challenging, for experienced carvers
  • Step-by-step instructions and photography take you through each project
  • Expert tips for painting and finishing, plus the basics on knife safety, sharpening, and more
  • Whittle a variety of animals from safari, aquatic, and woodland to farm and domestic animals

 Materials & Tools:

  • Basswood, 3/4 ” (1.9cm) thick: 1″ x 1 3/4 ” (2.5cm x 4.4cm)
  • Acrylic paints (optional)
  • Stain and wood conditioner (optional)
  • Polyurethane
  • Saw: coping, band, or scroll (optional)
  • Knife
  • Paintbrushes
    The author used these products for the project. Substitute your choice of brands, tools, and materials as desired.

 

Wood Carving an Elephant – Step by Step

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 01

1. CARVE THE TRUNK & EARS.


Carve the trunk. Use paring cuts. Taper and round the
elephant’s trunk toward the tip, the top of its head, and the
centerline. Make stop cuts at the lines defining the elephant’s
ears. Using paring cuts, remove wood up to these stop cuts.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 02

2. STOP CUTS AT THE ELEPHANT’S TAIL.


Make shallow stop cuts at the sides of the elephant’s
tail. Remove thin slices of wood to these stop cuts to make the tail stand out from the rump. Begin to round the elephant’s back and rump toward the centerline.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

3. NARROW THE LEGS.


Shape the feet. You can separate the legs, or leave them connected for stability.

 

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

4. SEPERATE THE TEETH & ADD DEPTH.


Separate the ears on the top of the head. Round the
elephant’s back, belly, neck, head, and legs.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

5. CLEAN UP THE BODY.


Clean up the body. It may be necessary to scrub the elephant with a stiff brush (such as a denture brush), warm water, and liquid detergent to remove pencil marks, dirt, or wood
“fuzzies” at the bottom of cuts. If you scrub the piece, let it dry before applying a finish.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

6. FINISH THE CARVING.


There are several ways to finish the baby elephant: sand it smooth, leave the knife cuts visible in a flat-plane style, stain it, or paint it. Mix and match these finishing techniques or leave the baby elephant unfinished. I chose to paint the elephant gray, its eyes white, and its pupils black.

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