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Woodcarving Review by Tony Silva

Everett Ellenwood
Fox Chapel Publishing
1970 Broad Street
East Petersburg, PA 17520

Woodcarving ($14.95) is part of the Kid Crafts series from Fox Chapel Publishing. The book is recommended for children over age 10. Author Everett Ellenwood suggests having the child work a soap-carving project from the book to test his maturity level and ability to do the other projects in the book. Special emphasis is given to safety and skill development, as the tools used in woodcarving must be very sharp.

The introduction provides some basic guidelines for the book's use. Don't overlook these pages in a craft book; they're the key to making the book--and the crafts covered in it--safe and fun. The first chapter gives an overview of the sources of wood for carving, beginning of course with trees. Ellenwood explains the differences between hardwood and softwood, tree growth, and the best woods to carve.

The next two chapters cover the supplies and tools used in woodcarving. Simple and clear instructions explain the care and use of the tools, and carving skills are covered in depth with step-by-step illustrations. If you don't know the ten parts of a gouge, this book will identify them and give a concise description of each. There are even instructions for skills related to sharpening and maintaining tools.

The first project, mentioned above, is a boat carved from soap. It is a safe and simple way to apply some of the basic skills covered earlier in the book. Next is a simple snowman Christmas ornament requiring a few more tools and more carving skills. Each project includes photos of the tools to be used along with lists of materials and supplies needed. Skills used in each project are included in these lists with page numbers your child can refer to for step-by-step explanations of the skills. Be sure to read through the whole project before gathering tools. Some of the tool lists are incomplete.

Some of the projects in Woodcarving are practical for a child. A wooden whistle, percussion frog, and name plaque are among these. All of them are engaging and reinforce the knowledge and skills presented in the first part of the book. Woodcarving is a great way to introduce a child to craft skills that can serve him for a lifetime. Sometimes craft books are more about making memories than about building knowledge and skills. Woodcarving is a perfect example of one that does both.

Product review by Tony Silva, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine LLC, September 2010