Monday, March 15, 2010

Deer Tracks

Some of my earliest memories as a little girl was sitting on the stool next to my dad's work bench and watching him do wood crafts. I remember the smells of singed wood, the sound of the saw and the pounding of a mallet. I would sit in awe as he would take a solid block of wood and mold it into something beautiful.

I remember my dad teaching me the different types of wood carving tools and different techniques he used. Around age seven or eight, I was allowed to use a wood burner and the chisels. As I recall there were a few nights that my mom would sit up with me holding an ice pack to my hand as I would fight back the tears but those accidents were just apart of the learning process. I never wanted to complain because I love being out there working right beside my dad.

As years went by school friends and boys allowed very little time in the shop. Soon I started to forget most of what my dad had taught me. It wasn't until I was much older, that I regretted my time away.

One evening, my dad had been in the shop working on a cabinet end piece for my aunts new kitchen. I watched him of the course of several nights take a slab of oak and yet again mold it into something beautiful. I was reminded of my roots and yearned to go back to the days of being the little girl, working beside my dad. I asked him to teach me once again. And so he did....


I worked on an impression set of deer tracks first, using a Dremel, carving knives and files. The end result I was pretty pleased with. After mastering my first lesson, my dad gave me another challenge. He handed me a box of checkering tools. After a week of cussing... I decided I wasn't into checkering.

I then decided that we should just skip on to my third lesson, bas relief. I again used the deer tracks because they are extremely simple. On a practice piece of walnut I first used the Dremel to get my lay out. Then I used the chisel and mallet to chip away the outer edge. I wasn't as pleased with this piece. I could have cleaned it up a little better, looking over it I see several things I need to go back and do. As my dad always says, "Carving is easy, take a picture and then remove everything that doesn't fit. You can always take away but you can never put it back." I think tomorrow I will finish it...



  1. That is REALLY cool! I had no idea how people do that to wood.

  2. Thanks for the interest! When I do my "update" post. I will put a few pics of mantels, gourd carvings, walking sticks and cabinet pieces that my dad has done. He is very talented and I am please to have him as my teacher. He is also in the finishing process of doing a hand made Dulcimer. I cant wait until its finished!

  3. Hey Leigh,
    Now that is something really special, I wish I had your skill and eye, a couple of those there ‘deer tracks’ would look wonderful on the dinghy that I’m renovating. Looking forward to more of the same from you.
    Best regards,

  4. Very nice piece Leigh. I love art in many forms and especially if it involves wood. I hope your Dad will share a pic of the dulcimer when he is finished!