Deep Relief Wood Carving
Simple Techniques for Complex Projects
by Kevin Walker

215 x 280mm

Published by Schiffer Publishing, West Chester, Pennsylvania USA


ISBN 978-0-7643-4821-1


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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 187

In his Introduction, Kevin Walker reveals his enthusiasm for carving and also his personal philosophy concerning the craft.

'In my seminars, I often start by asking students: 'Would you rather make fifty carvings of mediocre quality or one Best of Show?'

He goes on to say that the usual response he receives - that they would prefer to do one Best of Show - is the basis for this book which can be summed up in just the five words that appear on its cover: Simple Techniques for Complex Projects.

The complexity to which this refers is that which arises from the depth of a carving.

While the most common form of relief carving results in designs that rise only slightly out of their backgrounds, here, the emphasis is upon layering and undercutting which allows whole sections of the design to float entirely free, giving the work a sense of reality that verges on sculpture.

Most the book is absorbed with the carving of an intricate, three dimensional dogwood branch.

The author demonstrates the work using one of his own designs, but begins his text by showing how the reader may construct one from an original drawing.

After this, the outline is transferred to the wood, then all of the elements of the design are lettered and numbered to assist in organising and managing the actual carving.

The instructions are provided in clear, concise text, and are accompanied by more than 200 photographs plus several line illustrations.

In the course of the work, the author employs not only hand carving tools but also power carvers and a router.

The last four short chapters of the book deal with Adding Colour, Building a Frame, a Beginner Design and a Gallery containing some of the authorís work.

Despite the advanced nature of the work, the book should appeal to woodcarvers of limited experience.

Photos & Illustrations: Colour

Units of Measurement: Imperial



Chapter 1 - Drawing the Design
- Constructing the Pattern

Chapter 2 - Tool Tips

Chapter 3 - Router Template
- Transferring the Pattern onto a Wood Blank

Chapter 4 - Routing Out the Perimeter
- Choosing Your Router
- Router Bits
- Routing Out the Blank

Chapter 5 - Carving Out the Background
- Cutting Out the Background
- Roughing In the Blooms
- Dogwood Flowers

Chapter 6- Stylizing Your Design & Roughing In the Stem
- Roughing In the Stem

Chapter 7 - Defining & Shaping Leaf Clusters
- Leaf Shaping
- Detailing Leaf Veins
- Creating a Ripple in Your Leaf
- Undercutting the Bottom Leaf Cluster
- Stem
- Upper Leaf Cluster

Chapter 8 - Carving the Dogwood Flowers
- Stencil the Pattern
- Carving Petal A
- Carving Over Petals
- Creating Ruffles in the Petals
- Rounding Over Ruffles
- Sanding the Petals

Chapter 9 - More About Undercutting

Chapter 10 - Adding Color
- Bleaching
- Sealing
- Painting the Petals
- Painting the Stamen

Chapter 11 - Building the Frame

Chapter 12 - Beginner Dogwood Stem
- Beginner Dogwood Stem
- Cut in the Background
- Shape the Flower
- Undercut
- Finalize the Background
- Paint
- Finish the Beginner Carving

Chapter 13 - Gallery