Reindeer Tutorial

Just in time for the holidays, here's a little photo tutorial on how I make a little standing reindeer based on one by the late Will Hayden.  With a little work you can get one done before Christmas- maybe two...

This is our goal, or one interpretation of our goal.
They are flat on the back, meant to stand on a mantle or similar, up against the wall (theywork good on my stairs)

I started with a basswood blank 1 inch thick x 1.5 wide x 4 high.  You can scale up or down, proportions are only marginally important- fatter or skinnier is ok.  Enlarge the pic and trace if you want, or really live on the wild side and sketch your own.  It's not hard to break down, couple circles, triangles for the ears, quarter circles for the feet.

Start with some vee cuts to diviede the ears, head, body and feet.  The pencil lines will disappear early on in the process, these vees will keep you on track.

Here's a close up and somewhat clearer pic of the vee cuts


Start working the ears back, a shaving at a time- goal is to remove the half the triangle at the front of the figure.  Dont worry about neatness, we are just looking for rough cuts at this point

Scoop the face back, from a point about half way up (or down)the circle we had drawn.  the front edge of the forehead should be a little in front of the ears.

Now start rounding over almost everything else- the chin, top and bottom of the round little belly, and remove some of the legs- leave the feet for a minute

Can you start to see the reindeer?

Lets round over the back of the ears, and clean them up all around

We had 4 quarter circles (more or less) on the front where the feet belong- here I've blackedned in the bottom to show the parts that are not feet.

So lets remove the blackened in parts

Here I've done some more rounding on the chin and body, the body is almost done- see the colored area at the front center?  I need to take a little more wood off there to get rid of the 'sunburnt' part- its actually just oxidized wood, a shallow layer near the surface.  Your blank may not have the color- lucky you!

Bunch of things happened to get to this pic, none are big tho they make a big difference.
Shaped his feet
Shallow vee cuts to separate feett from legs
Refined his legs- gotta get rid of all the saw cuts
Deeper vee cuts fo separate legs from each other
Shallos cuts to make the eyes nose and mouth

Here's another pic of your finished reindeer.  Look her over to make sure you've smoothed out all the saw marks, dont forget the top of the head

And this is the other side.  If you are making a doe, you're done whittling.  You can drill into the top of the head and add antlers if you feel a sex-change is appropriate.  No instructions on antlers here-I've used wire, or twigs found in the yard, super glued into holes.  Use your imagination, and whatever you have at hand.

Dont forget to sign your work, and you might as well get started on another- I've been trying to get a set of 8 for myself for two years- currently I have 6.  ive carved dozens, they have a tendency to wander, especially when we have a party...
 
Whittle on, its therapeutic- BfloBif



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