Carving Masks

Has anyone had any experience carving masks out of wood? I’ve been thinking of trying this for a while, now - and my visit to the art museum has kind of spurred my interest once again (they had a number of wooden masks from various African tribes - very impressive work). I’m specifically looking for ways to harvest the timber for it, and what kinds of tools are needed… Any suggestions?

~ SW

I saw an episode of The Woodwright’s Shop a few years ago called The First American Woodworkers and it had a neat little demo of mask carving. The craftsman used a hatchet to shape the face and a metal gouge to make the hollow. If I remember it correctly, the only other tool he used was a pocket or small carving knife for details and the eyes. He used “modern” tools, so I’m not sure if this helps you.

Afraid I can’t be of more help than that. I’ve tried my hand at carving before, but I usually end up just carving my hand. I start at the woodpile, stain some birch, and end up with a blood-sacrifice to Fire (and a sacrifice of profanity to Air).

It looks like PBS is starting to post the videos online; they have the past two seasons up, but they haven’t gotten back to that episode yet. If you’re interested I can keep you updated on their progress.

Apologies if it’s bad form to dredge up old threads.

The best source of any for carving is Chip Chats a periodical put out by dedicated carvers, non-profit, and a real bargain. Their web site is: Check it out. You can’t be disappointed.