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Carving books ideas and recommendation

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  • Carving books ideas and recommendation

    Hi All

    What carving books do you have in your bookshelves, and which ones are you favorite, and why?
    Do carving books help in improving carving skills, or is internet resources better in that way?

  • #2
    Since I just recently started carving, I have a few books and watch youtube videos. I find both resources to be extremely helpful. The books I have currently: Carving Little People - Keith Randich, 20-Minute Whittling Projects - Tom Hindes, Classic Whittling - Rick Wiebe, Whittling and Woddcarving - Steve Tomashek, Carving Compact Caricatures - Skylar Johnson, Carving Gnomes with Tom Wolfe, Wood-Carving Design and Workmanship. Like I said, I have only been carving for a few weeks so I am not aware of all the great resources available, but I will keep building my collection of books. Book collecting is a sickness I have suffered from all my life. Dang, I hope there is NO cure for it!


    • #3
      I have gathered a large library of books over the years.I have also wasted a fair amount of money on books. Ask around before you by a book. Try and find some one on this forum or others who do the type of carving you want to do and ask what books they have and use. I have my favorites depending on what the subject or type of the carving. My primary interest is canes and walking sticks. Good instruction on or off paper is in the ability to demonstrate and explain the process in a way that is easy for most to fallow. These are a few books I feel do that. There are others I use but these are good books for those wanting to do walking sticks or canes.

      Carving Woodspirits: Beyond the Basics
      Hand Carving Your Own Walking Stick book



      • #4
        That's a lot of open ended questions you've asked there! I've been carving for 50 years so I've accumulated quite a library of assorted wood carving books that run the full gamut of the art. My favorite subject has always been (and still is) caricature carving so I have a lot of books on that topic. I've found most carving books very helpful, but like everything, there are good one and not so good ones.

        Carving books nor internet resources alone will not improve your carving skills...only one thing will, and that is practice, practice, practice. There is no easy way around it.
        Keep On Carvin'
        Bob K.

        My Etsy page:

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        My RWK Woodcarving Facebook page:

        My Pinterest page:


        • #5
          If you're just starting out, any of the E.J. Tangerman books are valuable. I have them all. I find there is an overlap of material from one to another, but they're all valuable in that not everything is in every book. If there is a particular area that you're interested in, Google on that subject with "woodcarving". More than likely an Amazon website will be in your search results. That will lead you to many other leads. I can say that the combination of Internet sources and books as well as videos have contributed to my ability to carve. Since I've been carving for 13 years now, a lot of the Internet sources have dried up. But there are also new ones. So, it is necessary to Google up what's out there to keep current in order to help the new carvers coming into the craft. Pinterest is a big help in stirring up my creative juices. Often times, I'll see one photo and then another one a few minutes later, and voila! I have a new idea based on what I saw.

          Great question! Bound to stir up some more sources of information on wood carving.

          Bob L


          • #6
            I have found a few books, but for me the best source are tutorials on the various website forums that I am particularly interested are better for me. If I am working on a gunstock, I refer to the American Long Rifle forum tutorials. If I am working on carving a duck call, I go to a couple of tutorials on a callmaking website. Both have the same end result, a very low relief carving, but the "canvas" is so different one small and round, the other odd shaped and long.

            The Internet lets me keep electronic notes, a simple "copy and paste" and I have a document, I cannot do that as easy with a book. These simple documents are easy to search if I need to. A book, I have to remember which book, what area of the book, etc., I am getting too old for that. I also like to add other techniques, wire inlay from the gunstock makers is one, or big inlays from the jewelry engravers. The Internet is free, my heirs won't have to sell or give away a few dozen books....


            • #7
              The parent company to this website, Fox Chapel Publishing, has a great library of carving books.
              I don't see there's much room for "general purpose" carving texts. Mos everybody drifts into one genre or another
              and may, over years, move on to something else. Another reason to buy a few new specialty books, yes?

              With little exception, my carving books are collections of the art and carving of the Pacific Northwest native artists.
              In those, I suppose I would learn by experience= draw on the log or slab and get started!

              Unlike most, the University of British Columbia Museun of Anthropology ( Google UBC/MOA) has an online collection of some 45,000 carvings to study.


              • #8
                I have the E.J. Tangerman books, yes I have 3x of his books, and they are great.
                As Bob says the books and internet resources wouldn't improve the carving skills, it is the practice which will improve the skill -I agree with that.
                But then the resources should help and guide the practice how to do, and what to get etc. I certainly did get huge help and ideas from the carving tutorials on Youtube and internet home page. But good as they are, sometimes I felt something lacking underneath, and that's how I went to buy the books, and certainly they nourish more knowledge on the subject.

                Among a few carving books I have, my favorite ones are by Shawn Cipa. His books show in photos each step how to do things with explanations, very user friendly, so I ordered two or three more of his books.
                Last edited by kiri; 06-19-2017, 02:06 AM.


                • #9
                  YouTube is not always a stimulant for your imagination like a written book description, and a few still pictures never hurt.

                  People vary, some learn by watching, some learn by listening, some learn by reading.
                  I saw many of those kinds in more than 30 years of Biology lab periods and they are surprisingly different.
                  Teaching a new laboratory method really is "show and tell."

                  Gimme the book(s) to read and go away. That's how I figure out what questions to ask.


                  • #10
                    I found Tangerman's books not to my liking...good ideas for patterns, not so much on instruction. I am a caricature carver, and my first book was by Jack Price. I find myself using Jack's method when I am carving caricatures bigger than the little guys he carves in his book. My 56 year old eyes just don't work for 2 inch carvings any more! Mike Shipley and Pete LeClair round out the rest of my library. I like books that offer patterns as well as instruction. I find I work best by carving along with the book...that is just me.

                    Gene Messer is a nice guy, and will offer his patterns if you send him an email. Carving along with his YouTube videos is another way that you can use without breaking the bank for carving books.


                    • #11
                      I got a very large collection of books.....a few where major used when I started carving......a few where by Shawn Cipa because the patterns and instructions to end product are good. I got Lora Irish books that taught basics and her pattern books are creative ideas that I can expand into making my own designs. . Later the most used books are by Chris Pye and Ian Norbury both are master carvers and instructors that teach around the are worth your time and money... I think I got all of their books and I still dig through them on occasion. For me the book is cheaper then taking a


                      • #12
                        Many good ones, too many to list. My top three on general carving are the Paul N Hasluck Wood carving book, Woodcarving or Woodcarving a Beginners Guide by Wheeler and Haywood and Manual Of Wood Carving And Wood Sculpture by Frederick Brunner - I’ve touted this one below. Chock full of the carvers own drawings that illustrate things better than any photo will. Out of print but available on Amazon most of the time.

                        Nothing beats a class with a real carver, but books are valuable too. Videos by good carvers are somewhere in the middle of books and classes.


                        • #13
                          Classes with a real carver would be great luxury Youtube and internet videos are god send for those with small budget and starter like me. It's not perfect, but better than nothing.
                          Books are not perfect either. They provide knowledge and information about the subject, but they don't show everything.

                          Cipa's books are great in that they give good advice and information about tools needed for the project, and then photographic details in steps of each stage of work. But then if you are not quite into his carving style, then they are only half use for you.

                          Tangerman's books don't have each steps of work progress, but they show a lot of ideas on what to carve, and verbal instructions on how to do it. Some carving projects don't need detailed procedural photos, and readers may just want some main ideas on what to carve, and they could be good source.

                          I like books in general. It is mixed blessing of joy of owning and reading them, but also curse of path to lack of space in the house and drudgery of organsing them. And keep ordering whatever books fancied with one mouse clicks in Amazon or Ebay can amount in financial expenditure resulting a large hole in your bank balance on some months if not watched.
                          Last edited by kiri; 06-20-2017, 06:30 PM.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kiri View Post
                            Classes with a real carver would be great luxury Youtube and internet videos are god send for those with small budget and starter like me. It's not perfect, but better than nothing.
                            Books are not perfect either. They provide knowledge and information about the subject, but they don't show everything.
                            Look around there may be carvers nearby that would give you a lesson or two at a nominal cost. If that isn't an option, then you are right in that the videos tend to be better than books, especially since you can usually find someone doing the type of carving you are interested in Usually you can ask questions in the comments and get an answer.

                            I have found some books that are VERY step by step. At some point I will post a mini review on the books, tools and site


                            • #15
                              yup, reviews of the books would be great. But some books are good even with no step by step instructions. Just for some inspirations and ideas, it could be helpful and interesting.