Step 1: Planning the Cuts.
Step 2: Roughing the Shape.
Step 3: Carving
I forgot to take more pictures while carving, but here is one where the pieces are almost separated. In this case I used a Dremel to get this far. That was the black set. The other set I did completely with a knife. The Dremel was slightly faster, but not by much. In both cases I got the pieces separated in an evening. For a knife I used a Flexcut Carvin' Jack. It's a great knife and sharp as a razor.
In both I used the knife to finish up the carvings. Did a light filling and sanding as I didn't want to lose the carve marks. Put on a stain and lightly sanded again to make it look worn and accent the carve marks. Then finished them with a wax finishing paste.