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!!



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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Voted! Excellent! You did a great job! So much work. You should be pleased!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you!!It took alot of hours to complete!