Carving a Face

2017-06-01T19:17:15-04:00 May 3rd, 2017|

This is a brief introduction to "Carving a Face."

This five episode lesson teaches how to carve a realistic face in deep relief by focusing on one complete element per episode. Faces are complex, so study the expression you are trying to achieve in detail before starting. It is surprising how much the shape of one element affects all the rest.

  • Lesson Contents: 5 episodes; template, tool list, and photo in Episode 1
  • Type of Wood: Basswood
  • Size: 8-1/4"w x 10-1/2"h x 3"d
  • Tool List: 4mm v-chisel; 6mm v-chisel; #3, 3mm; #3, 6mm; #3, 14mm; #4, 14mm; #5, 14mm; #7, 6mm; #7, 8mm; #7, 10mm; #7, 14mm; #8, 6mm; #11, 3mm
  • Skill Level: Advanced
= More Lessons at the Advanced Skill Level =


  1. Ralph Scheffler May 11, 2017 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Mary, did you use basically the #14 single bevel flat fishtail chisel on this project – “Carving a Face”? You make it look so easy in reducing the amount of wood.

    • Mary May May 16, 2017 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      Hi Ralph,
      I used the #7, 14mm for most of the roughing out. A flat chisel would most likely dig in too much at that point in the carving, and probably wouldn’t remove the amount of wood I need.

  2. Timothy Cahoon June 14, 2017 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Mary, if you were going to do a full head, which would require thicker block of wood, would you glue up some wood to make the thickness? Glue seams left to right and NOT front to back? (or boards one behind the other, rather than side by side?)

    a full block would be more difficult to get I would think.

    • MaryMay June 14, 2017 at 11:15 pm - Reply

      Hello Timothy,
      I would recommend getting this as one block of wood if you can. The difficulty with gluing up pieces of wood is that the grain may change where they are glued together which could potentially cause some difficulty. If you do need to glue boards, I would recommend boards one behind the other. There will be less possibility of odd colors appearing. Check out to see if they can cut a special size piece of basswood.

      Good luck!

  3. Greg Messick May 23, 2018 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    This is one part of carving that I have the hardest time with. I have screwed up so many pieces. Maybe it’s me trying to make something simple real complicated. I’m taking in every bit of these free lessons and watching them over and over again.

    • MaryMay May 27, 2018 at 11:56 am - Reply

      I’m so glad you are enjoying these! The full-length lessons go through each and every detail of carving.

  4. Ronald Goldenson September 13, 2018 at 10:56 am - Reply


    If I buy a lesson on carving a face, may I see it multiple times?
    Ron Goldenson

    • MaryMay September 19, 2018 at 11:50 am - Reply

      Yes, you can download it and own the video.

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