Introduction: Carving the Celtic Warrior (Handtools Only)

About: I like to make fun projects and document it all for my channel BCDesign on YouTube!

The Celtic Warrior Carving was one of my first projects when I started woodworking/making,it was my second or third time carving and I am really happy with how it turned out! I decided to challenge myself to use only handtools for this carving!

I made a video of the entire process for my YouTube channel BCDesign please watch, thumbs up and subscribe if you like it!

The wood I used was an odd piece of sycamore I found in my local carpentry shop.

I have a limited amount of carving tools, I used mostly 3/4", 1/2", 1/10" gouges, a 1/4" vtool with a mallet and some flexcut carving knives. You will also need a strop and some buffing compound to keep your blades sharp!

Step 1: Drawing Out My Pattern

  • I am not great at drawing but wanted this project to be all my own
  • I drew a warrior as best I could with a shield and sword I also gave him a beard and helmet as for a beginner carver it means you have to carve less facial and body features.
  • I was going to put horns on his helmet viking style but did not like the way this looked so I did not carve them and went instead with the Celtic Style look for the warrior.

Step 2: Carve Your Stop Cuts

  • I use my vtool to carve along the lines of my drawing
  • Using a vtool allows you to make the stop cut to the desired depth quite easily
  • we use stop cuts so that when material is being removed with a gouge later, the piece you carve out will break off at the stop cut and not tear out material you do not want to remove!

Step 3: Use Gouges to Remove Material

  • I next started using assorted gouges to remove material to give depth to the carving.
  • carefully carve the material with the gouge and try not to let the edges of the chisel go under the wood as this can cause tear out
  • The stop lines you carved earlier will help alot here, they will stop you removing material from areas by accident.

Step 4: Create Areas of Light & Shadow

  • To make the carving look more realistic, you need to create areas of what I call light and shadow
  • In the pictures above you can see the warriors hand before I carve between the fingers and knuckles and after
  • In the after shot you can see the shadow between the fingers and the areas that stand out reflecting the light.
  • I also removed wood between the beard and shield to give the appearance the shield is being held out in front of the face.
  • I removed lots of material along the edge of the sword to create a lot of shadow along the blade that will really make it stand out when light hits the blade.

Step 5: Add the Fine Details

  • I used my veiner and vtool to create the effect of hair on the beard and mustache
  • I removed material around the mouth and eyes with my 1/4" gouge to add areas of depth
  • Next I created teeth using a carving knife and gouge very carefully.
  • Use an appropriate size gouge to create a pupil in each eye by removing wood in a circular motion.
  • I rounded the arms over and created a crease in the skin where your elbow naturally bends, I also added definition to the bicep by creating an area of shadow underneath it.
  • I used the 3/4" inch gouge to add a sloping rounded appearance to the helmet

Step 6: Complete the Sword & Shield

  • I drew a center line along the length of the swords blade.
  • The center line would be the highest point on the blade,I used the 3/4" gouge to create a sloping blade profile from the center line of the blade to each edge.
  • I added Celtic swirls to the guard of the sword and gave the grip a ribbed texture almost like it was wrapped with leather.
  • I used the vtool to carve some lines across the shield to give it a battle worn look.
  • Then I hand sanded any areas that were rough from 120 grit to 400 grit.

Step 7: Finished!!

  • I added the finish which was beeswax and mineral oil mixed
  • This was my most enjoyable project ever & I hope to make more carvings soon!!

I made a video as I carved, please watch it and thumbs up & subscribe if you like it!!Thanks for reading and watching!!

Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016