Fig. A: The pattern transferred to the wood. Notice the
pattern changes in the next pictures to make the mouth
a little different. Fig. B: Be careful when carving wood
from the rays. The less wood you have, the easier it can
break or chip off. Fig. C: When rounding, make many
small cuts. Smaller cuts equal more control. Fig. D: My
left thumb is the pressure behind the blade, while my right
hand controls the direction of the knife. Be careful!
Make Your Sun Carving
sun’s rays will have the least amount of wood left,
while the nose will have the most.
1. Print and cut out the pattern, then transfer it by
firmly tracing the pattern onto the wood. This will
leave a light indentation of the pattern on the wood
that you can darken in with a pencil if desired. Make
sure your pattern goes with the grain of the wood
from forehead to chin.
4. Make stop cuts all around the face’s perimeter.
5. Using a felt pen, block out the wood you need to
cut from the sun rays — a little less than ½" down.
Chip the wood away until you’ve reached the desired
depth (Figure B). You need to make several stop
2. Allow room for artistic license when you draw the cuts to reach this depth. Do not round the sun’s rays
pattern. Every carving I do turns out a little differ- at this time — you’ll need to use the rays to clamp
ently. Allow yourself to make mistakes — it may turn your carving to your workbench. You’ll round the
out for the better. Also, feel free to make the pattern rays in the final step in the project.
as large as your wood allows, which will give you a
little more room to deal with potential mistakes.
3. Cut the pattern out of the wood with a band
saw. If you don’t have a band saw, you may need to
simplify the design (e.g., straighter rays, or fewer of
them). Alter the design to fit your needs (Figure A).
6. Clamp the wood to your workbench. You may
need to change the clamp’s placement throughout
the project for the best angles of particular cuts.
7. Make bevel cuts all around the circle of the face,
leaving the center of the face untouched; leave lots
of wood for the chin, nose, and brow (Figure C).
NOTE: As you carve, work from the perimeter of the
drawing to the middle, starting with the sun’s rays. 8. You may need to redraw parts of the face as you
Different parts of the sun will lose more layers of carve. This helps give you a strong mental image of
wood than others. For example, when finished, the how you want your final piece to look. Redraw the