How to Carve a Wooden Bear

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How to Carve a Wooden Bear. Few hobbies are as relaxing as woodcarving. Though challenging, carving shapes and designs can be fun. Among the most common woodcarving shapes are animals, and one of the most popular animals is the bear. One of the keys to woodcarving, though, is patience. You most likely won't get a perfect bear the first time, but with practice you can carve a wooden bear that you can proudly display.

Things You'll Need

  • Pattern
  • Wood block
  • Carving knife
  • #3 gouge
  • #11 gouge
  • Clear liquid sealer
  • Beeswax furniture polish

Make or purchase a pattern on paper. Enlarge it to the size you wish, then trace it on see-through tracing paper. Transfer it to a block of wood, preferably a soft wood like poplar, white pine or basswood.

Draw a centerline down the middle of the figure. This helps keep the bear in proportion as you use the centerline as a guide to help you avoid taking off too much wood on one side.

Use a carving knife to round out the basic shape of the bear. Begin from the back, and work around to the front. Work around the wood constantly to avoid taking off too much on one side.

Mark focal points or lines. Start carving from a focal area such as the top of the bear's head. Resist the urge to fully complete one area of the bear before moving on to another part. Work in stages over the complete carving. This also helps the shape of the bear to emerge smoothly and all the parts of the body and head to "flow together."

Outline the legs using a #11 gouge. Carve the eyes with the tip of the carving knife. Round the ears and use the tip of the knife to hollow out the areas in front of each ear.

Gouge along the entire body of the wooden bear after you shape it with a #3 gouge to create the look of hair. Make small scoops over the body. Make smaller gouge marks on the head. Keep the tool moving.

Apply a clear liquid sealer to the wooden bear, then a beeswax furniture polish for a natural-looking finish. Remove all dust and loose wood shavings before applying sealer or polish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't gouge out too much in any one area.
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