Combine carving, woodburning, and painting to make an adorable animal

Despite all the jokes—and after teaching this project for over a year, I have heard them all — the beaver is unquestionably an adorable animal. The beaver is truly an amazing animal and has become a beloved mascot of many. I call my beaver Justin.

Power carve a cup from salvaged wood

At a rib and brisket competition in Texas, our group of chefs decide to use coded measuring cups so we could share information in our recipes without giving away secrets. Using a reptile theme, we decided a 1/4 cup would have a tadpole handle, 3/4 cup would have a lizard handle, etc. Now we can make our recipes in public and only those who know the сой* recognize the measurements. The coded cups also make fun serving ladle* and water dippers.

Realistic habitat accent teaches texturing techniques


When you are carving a bird or a small animal, add realism to the scene and help balance the composition by including an acorn in the habitat.

Acorns come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and types; this one is from a black oak. Colors vary depending on the maturity of the acorn—early acorns have a little green on the bottom portion and more mature acorns are darker in color. Although I have provided a pattern, keep a real acorn handy for reference as you carve and paint.

Practice exaggerated facial features with these funny fellows


When I’m away from my shop, I like to carve but I want to limit the size of the project and number of tools I’m carrying. These little gremlins are carved from a small piece of wood with just one or two tools.

Make a mascot that's sure to bring good luck

Small, strong, gentle, and quick, gnomes live in harmony with nature while also enjoying a good practical joke. They live in farmlands, forests, meadows, houses, and, like this one, gardens. These cheery folk are vegetarians, and occasionally enjoy a taste of mead or spiced gin. Having gnomes in your home or garden is generally considered to be very good luck.