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Picture of Carve/Make a Mini Ship From Scratch
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Ahoy me maties!
So lately I've been wanting to start wood carving, and chose to make a ship as a start, just because.  Here's my product, comments, tips, and pics of your wood carvings are welcome!

This is my first instructable however, so bear with me, and leave tips please!

Disclaimer:  This instructable does include the use of knives and other sharp tools, and I am in no way responsible for any harm you may do to yourself.  Please be very careful, use these tools responsibly, and try not to hurt yourself!

Enjoy!

Also I entered this 'ible into the Woodworking Contest (2 hrs 50 minutes before the deadline :) ) so your vote would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
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What you will need to set sail.

A piece of wood (a saw to cut some if you need to)
-Try and get one with few knots, they make your work very annoying.
Moderately sharp Exacto / Utility Knife
Knife
Chisel (I didn't have one, so made one out of a screwdriver)
Hammer
Super Glue/ Hot glue/ other glue
Some thin cloth (sails)
String
Wooden Skewers
Drill
Time/patience

So I kinda cut more wood then I need to, but turns out the extras came in handy when i decided to ad stuff to the ship or repair it.
For the chisel, since I just started carving stuff, file + old flathead screwdriver = easy, pretty good chisel in a couple minutes!

Step 2: Shavin'

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To get going, you're gonna need to shave down your stick.  Just use your knife (carefully ) to scrape off all of the bark and get down to the actual wood. Hold it at an angle and drag it along.  An added bonus is mulch from the scraps (also getting to make a big annoying scrap pile :) ).

Step 3: Draw and start carving

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So I chose a basic design for my ship off the inter webs and modeled my design after it.  I used a pencil to sketch the design of the wood, and started carving with my exacto knife. Tilt the knife at about a 10 degree angle and shave of the wood. Don't go too deep or be impatient with this, remember, once you carve something out it's hard to fix. Little room for mistakes, no pressure :).  Go layer by layer until you get to the border.  Try and carve this as flat as you can, and try and make the top and bottom of the ship as parallel as you can.

I also got a lot more mulch shavings out of this.

Step 4: Carving the sides and front

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Next, draw out the top, back and bottom of the ship, then carve it out the same way you did the top and bottom. Again, try to keep it flat.  To carve the tip I sawed of  the extra wood at the front, then carved at an angle. At the tip, I tried to slant the knife back towards the bottom so it was like a / as I carved the tip.  It didn't work too well on mine but it would look really cool. 

Step 5: Chiseling out the Inside

Now to carve out the inside of your boat a little bit.  Start by drawing a line about 2 to 3 mm from the edges on the top.  Position your chisel over the line and gently tap it (GENTLY) with a hammer or rock (caveman style! It's also a lot easier to use than a hammer). Then carve out whatever is inside those lines down to the depth of the lines (pictures make more sense).  Carve by pushing the chisel with your hand along the top, not with the hammer. Repeat this multiple times until you're satisfied with the depth, or, as in my case, I got shipwrecked and cracked the ship.  DO NOT go very far into the wood with each outline, you will crack it.  Cracks = bad! 

Step 6: Drillin holes and Makin some Masts

Picture of Drillin holes and Makin some Masts
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So I got some skewers for the masts and drilled holes that were a little bit less wide than the masts, and shaved the ends down a bit. Also, kinda obvious but don't drill allll the way through the boat, or else, you done sprung a leak!  Don't glue in the masts yet either, or else it makes the rest of the work extremely hard to do (I found this out (yay for not planning ahead, hehe)).  So yeah..... Masts!

Step 7: The Tip of the Boat

Picture of The Tip of the Boat
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To make the nice pokey piece at the tip, I started by shaving down a small part of a skewer and made it a wider triangular shape towards one of the ends.  Next, I used the exacto knife to cut at an angle at the tip, to make a nice groove for the end I had just made, and kept carving the groove until the triangle piece fit.  When it fit well, I glued it in with superglue.

Step 8: The Back

So at the back I had messed up, so I made that section relatively rectangularish.  Then I decided to add on a little bit.  I used the excess wood to make "repairs".  I put the wood in a vice and using a chisel and hammer, shaved off bits about the width of the boats sides. I put one against the back of the boat, measured how wide it had to be, and drew on the wood with a pencil.  Then I carved it out.  I also carved out two more pieces as additions for the sides towards the back of the boat.  I used superglue to glue them in place.

Step 9: Starting the sails

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So, first, decide the number of sails you want on each mast.  I decided I wanted 4 for the first and second and three for the last.  Take some more wooden skewers and shave them down to thin sticks (see picture). I layed 'em out for organization's sake.  Next I traced the sticks on to the cloth for each mast and made trapezoidal shapes for all of them, including the bottom stick.  Make sure you draw one more sail than the number of sticks for each mast. When drawing and tracing the lines on the cloth, make sure you make the distance between each two sticks farther than they will be positioned, or else your sails will not have curvature.  Mine have a lot of curvature (maybe a little too much?) I didn't cut the trapezoids out separately because it is extremely hard to glue them separately (again, I tried, and failed). Cut the big trapezoid out, and glue the appropriate sticks on the appropriate lines, with glue. 

Next, before gluing the sails to the mast, glue the 3rd mast in place (back mast) and use your exacto knife to make small notches for each of the sail rods (I don't actually know what they're called :) ). 
Now glue each sail rod into it's corresponding notch, making sure that the actual sail doesn't get glued to the mast.  At the bottom, just glue the middle of the edge of the sail directly to the mast, and high enough that the sail curves.

Step 10: Rest of sails and masts

Picture of Rest of sails and masts
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Repeat step 9 for both the middle and front masts and sails.  do the middle mast after the back mast (now glue it in) and then after that, the front mast.

Step 11: Front Kite shaped sail

Picture of Front Kite shaped sail
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Now draw a small kite shape on your cloth and cut it out.  Take some string and line it up corner to the opposite corner and glue it in place, leaving excess off of both corners.  Do the same for the other 2 corners as well.  Take the end with the smaller triangle ( looks like > with a string attached) and cut the excess string off except for a little bit (~.5 mm).  Glue that tiny piece of string onto the pokey tip of the ship, a little past the actual tip of the boat. Measure the distance of the string on the other opposite corner (should look like < but longer) up to the middle of the bottom sail rod of the front mast. Cut the string to that length and glue the tip of the string to that spot (picture). Now on each side, take the excess string, stretch it back and glue it inside the boat, then trim the excess string.  Yay, front sail done!

Step 12: Back Sail (Last sail, I promise!)

Picture of Back Sail (Last sail, I promise!)
Okay, by now you're probably getting reallly tired of the sails, as they are a pain in the butt, but this is the last sail, so you're almost done. Carve out another thin stick from a skewer. On the back of the back mast, carve another small notch and superglue on the thin stick straight out, that is long enough that it goes a little further than the actual end of the ship (pic).  Now carve out a second thin stick, a little longer than the first, and cut it off at an angle at one end.  Glue it onto the back of the back mast.  Now just measure and cut out a sail to go between these two rods, and glue them on by the corners.

Step 13: Sail Off Into the Sunset!

Picture of Sail Off Into the Sunset!
Okay, you're finally done! Feel free to post pics of your carvings or other ships and whatnot. 
You can paint it if you want but I think the natural wood looks better.
Sail responsibly!

Peace Out.
D-LewW1 year ago
Is there a better chisel, or does the width of the flathead seem to work better than most chisels??
ALSO --- Did you paint the wood with any 'Laquer'? Not sure if I'm spelling right.....But to give it that nice oaky wood color, or did you just leave it soft and sanded??
How do you make a chisel out of a screwdriver?!?
surri4 years ago
very well written and funny too!