Beginner Hand Carving: Elephant

I was looking at our stunning hand-carved products and thought wow, people actually carve these, how long must it take to make even one?

Without doing any research on how it's done or the tools that I would need I set off to start a project for myself. I went to my front patio and looked down at the Christmas tree that we had dumped five months ago.

dried up Christmas tree Norwegian spruce

I took the tree from the pot, started to get rid of mud from the surround root, after cleaning it, I had to decide on how big the root log should be, and I cut it as clean as possible using a handsaw. 

Christmas tree root

Not knowing what I was going to carve, it looked like a perfect lamp and as I started carving, that is what I was working towards, however with no electrical knowledge myself, even knowing an electrician, and the lack of tools I decided that if I was to make a stunning wood log lamp it might end up as one of those projects that never get finished.

chiselling root bark

Using nothing other than a blunt chisel and a hammer I started taking off pieces of bark to reveal the natural wood underneath. 

This was a whole lot of fun but I admit it was very hard work due to the labour and the constant mess, it took two full days to complete.

Whilst scraping off the bark I tried to visualise what I could make, there was one piece that to me that resembled a trunk from an elephant and so I went with it and started planning where the legs would go with a pencil etc and began chipping parts of wood away.

After carving out all of the wood from in-between the figures legs, I stood it up and it was extremely slanted, I then chopped the longer ones to make it even, gave it an all-round sand to remove rough sharp edges, and flaky pieces of wood.

I wiped off the dust and finished it by rubbing avocado oil all over which brought out the woods natural grain.

norweigan spruce elephant

As you can see it has undergone quite a lot of processing, and again this was a lot of fun but I will either have to get some better tools or simply leave it the professionals.

WARNING: make sure you follow safety procedures when making anything, use protective glasses, gloves, or mask when appropriate. Be extremely careful when handling tools and if in doubt consult a professional. 

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