Published by Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc., East Petersburg PA USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 169
This is a woodworking magazine. Where else would you expect to read a review of a book about carving on pencils? Pencils are made of wood, arenít they?
Well, not all of them. While it is possible to work with wooden pencils, Randy True points out that the wood in them is not the best for carving. He prefers the larger than normal pencils that are made of plastic. The fact that they are oversize appears to help by allowing better development of the design and the plastic is a homogeneous medium that can carry fine detail.
Whittling Pencils is essentially a workbook containing instructions for carving four designs - a Santa Claus, a Wood Spirit, an Uncle Sam, and a Leprechaun. Each is presented in a series of sketches that show the major steps in the completion of the carvings.
The tools that are used are listed at the beginning of the book. They include a fine point detail knife, a 3mm straight gouge and several micro carving tools - a V-tool, U-gouge and straight paring chisel. The author adds that a good carving glove is also essential since carving on a round object is tricky!
The final pages of the book include notes on variations in beards (all of the faces have beards which extend down the pencil) and on Painting and Finishing.
Those who have already developed their carving skills elsewhere will probably find these pencil carvings a not-too-difficult, but satisfying diversion. Those to whom woodcarving is entirely new seem certain to find the task of pencil carving both instructive and rewarding.
In either case, the end result should be some unusual and attractive pieces of work that are sure to engage the interest of all who see them.
Carving the Santa Pencil
Carving the Wood Spirit Pencil
Carving the Uncle Sam Pencil
Carving the Leprechaun Pencil
Painting and Finishing