Welcome to Mary May’s online school of woodcarving!

123 Episodes Available

New Video Added Every Thursday!

Have you ever been involved in a project where you completely lose track of time? That is a true sign that you love what you’re doing. Come join me (Mary May) on a journey of learning the wonderful art of woodcarving – and let’s lose track of time!

I have been teaching traditional carving skills for over 15 years. In my endeavor to make available and share the techniques of this art with as many people as possible, I have put together this online video school. The videos range from beginning carving projects to advanced. Some are just short tips and tricks, while others cover a complete complex carving project.

A new video episode will be added every week on Thursday morning. This may be a complete video lesson or an episode (or chapter) of a particular carving lesson.

Some videos were filmed in actual classes (where there is some interaction with students), while others were projects I completed in my workshop (where you can hear the roosters in the background).

I plan to add videos to the site as I complete a variety of carving projects in my shop. As I work on various projects, the camera will be rolling…

Join us. Become a member and start enjoying these videos.

Try a Sample:

This sample lesson demonstrates the quality of lessons you can expect after becoming a member.

News and Updates


4/16/14 – I just added the last episode of Carving a Cardinal which shows the process of finishing shaping the body and the wings. Episode 2 had some technical difficulties this past week but is now available also.

4/9/14 – Episode 2 of Carving a Cardinal is now available to watch. This episode shows how to make this carving actually shaped like a bird. I still have a little bit of wood left to clamp, but it’s going quickly!

4/2/14 – A new video lesson in carving “in the round” – how to carve a cardinal. This is a different type of carving than I normally do – it is fully 3-dimensional and I go through the process of shaping it on a band-saw and then how to carve the bird while being able to clamp it securely to the bench.

3/26/14 – The final episode of the Angry Swan is now on the site. This shows how to carve the details of the swan. I love this HD!

3/19/14 – My first full HD video has been added – the first episode of carving an Angry Swan. Even if you don’t have an HD computer or monitor, it is a great improvement in clarity from standard definition. This project is a shallow relief carving of an “Angry Swan” in walnut that is carved into the back of a chair.

3/13/14 – A new project –  a cross with trefoil designs on the ends - has been added to the school. Much of this is carved similarly to letter carving, with a little more decoration to the ends of the cross where there is a little trefoil detail of 3-tiny leaves.

3/6/14 – This new project that I just added is carving a 3-leaf decorative corner for a pulpit that will go into a local Charleston church. This is carved in sapele wood (a sort of mahogany) and I show how to avoid carving into pin nails!

2/26/14 – A typical lowcountry design – The Palmetto Tree within a Live Oak Tree – has been added to the school. This is not the typical style that you see in the videos, but a more stylized design. It is carved in butternut (a wonderful and easy wood to carve).

2/19/14 – New video – Carving a Small Acanthus Leaf Bracket in the Chippendale Style – just added. This is a lovely little acanthus leaf that is a good basic design that includes a c-scroll design. This can be a good beginning carving project – whether or not you use it as an actual corner bracket.

Recent Additions

cardinal finished Carving a Cardinal “In the Round” (4/2/2014) - This lesson shows how to carve a cardinal "in the round". It is fully 3-dimensional and I show how to cut out the shape on a band-saw, how to find the shape of the cardinal with gouges and also how to safely clamp the carving solidly to the bench.
angry swan Carving an Angry Swan (3/19/2014) - This design is a shallow relief carving is carved in walnut. The "angry swan" is a family emblem and is carved into the back of a set of chairs. This is the first video filmed in full HD!
467465709_960 Cross with Trefoil Ends (3/12/2014) - This video shows how to carve a simple cross with a trefoil (3-leaf) design at the ends. This is carved in sapele (sometimes referred to as mahogany). The angled cuts show great shadows - similar to letter carving.

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