Bear carvings have been part of North American culture for centuries. The giant creatures have come to represent courage, family, health, strength, and vitality in the mind of the public. Although they are not as cuddly in the wild as they appear in the town zoo. So I can’t recommend you measure one up for your next wood bear carving project. Rather lay your hands on a bear wood carving pattern such as this:
You could use a pattern like that to imagine the potential inside the piece of wood you are holding. We’ll explain in a short while how this works, whether your interest is hand carved, whittled or chainsaw wooden bear carvings. But we first need to consider a spot of carving theory.
Making a Wood Bear Carving is Not Necessarily Something to Rush
Wood carving is such an amazing skill and very underrated; once you cut it, it’s hard to go back. (Jonathan Anderson, Brainy Quotes)
Bear wood carving is a creative and evolving step-by-step process. Whereby you gradually remove surplus wooden material to reveal the shape of the animal in your imagination (or bear pattern). I recommend revealing the head first, and working down. I believe this is the correct approach as outlined in the step by step bear carving outline in the diagram I found.
This mimics the exact method I follow for most of my wooden animal carvings. I’ve learned through trial and error that when I get the head wrong, I may as well begin again. Yet when I get the bear hear right, the rest often falls into place.
Notice also how the diagram above has also positioned the wood carved bear so it fits naturally inside the piece of raw timber. I’ve observed that this results in less material to remove and ultimately discard. Wood is a natural material taken from a living tree. True wood carvers respect its origin by giving it a second life.
Two Distinct Ways to Create Easy Wooden Bear Carvings
Wood carving in its original sense is a gentle art where the final product, not the time it takes, is the true measure of success. Nowadays of course we also have electric powered tools like the Dremel or Foredom, so the wood bear carvings take less time. If power carving tools are more your thing, we cover a range of tools and techniques.
However, if you are a more ambitious and looking to make large wooden bear statues, then you may be interested in the faster chain saw method. This could be your ideal solution if you want to put a large sculpture outside your cabin in the woods. Although we would be less than honest if we claimed this would prevent a wild bear raiding your larder.
So How Do You Whittle a Wooden Bear by Hand?
Making smaller bear carvings is a great way to get started with your new hobby. That’s because you don’t need a full workshop, and you can pack your work away at night. Here’s one way to go about it:
Tools and Materials You Need to Get Started
- Block of fairly soft wood of the right size. Basswood is a great choice for beginners.
- Suitable wood carving pattern of a bear.
- Marker pen like a felt tip pen to lay out the design on the wood.
- Couple of different-size wood carving knives.
- Basic Dremel tool kit for finishing the details. Not compulsory of course. Fine sandpaper and fine carving tools are also excellent choices.
- Pair of comfortable safety gloves and/or thumb guard to protect your hands and fingers during those inevitable quick slips.
Follow Easy Steps to Discover Your Best Bear Wood Carving
- Get your project off to a good start, by setting your pattern out on the wood with the marker pen. Leave some open space around the design just in case you cut away too much wood. You can fine tune later.
- Begin by defining the basic proportions of the bear’s head. This is only the first stage of your bear carving. Create the main features not the details, and leave rounded corners for later. You don’t want sharp edges breaking off at this early stage!
3… When you’re ready, move on to roughly defining your bear wood carving’s arms and legs, as you allow the body shape to emerge. Leave the outer edges rounded as your creation assumes the shape you imagined. Now it’s time for the finishing touches!
Use your Dremel tool to work through the wood gently as you discover and find where the features belong. This is one tool you really must have if you want to turn your hobby into a work from home occupation. A leisure activity where rotary hand tools replace effort.
And Now a Drum Roll for a Grand Chainsaw Bear Carving
Chainsaw carving is a fast growing art form that merges modern technology with an ancient craft. It began in the 1950’s, but really took off at the 1980 Lumberjack World Championships when folk discovered the wonderful potential.
Please Don’t Use Your Average Chainsaw for This Wooden Bear Statue
You could get yourself into trouble if you tried this with a chainsaw from your local hardware. That’s because the blades on carving versions are actually ‘guide bards’ with smaller noses. This empowers the user to create some amazing details in their wood bear carving!
Moreover a modification ensures the shorter teeth don’t kick back when attempting a cut. Despite this, we still recommend a course of instruction to ensure safe operation when attempting anything ambitious as this!
Did You Check Out Our Recommended Range of Power Tools Yet?
Best Carving Wood Tools has a researched a range of electric chainsaws and rotary power tools for wood bear carving, and almost anything else you could safely apply your mind to. Perhaps I should mention I am not the average amazon trader who never touched the wood carving tools they sell.
I learned wood carving while I was a kid from my dad and uncle, I’ll never forget the skills and safety tips they shared. When I recommend a product you can be confident I reviewed it personally. I’ll sign off now with another photo of what you could achieve with a piece of wood, and a few decent tools from Best Wood Carving Tools.
Thanks, but I just want to buy a Wood Bear Carving
Ok, ok, so you want to save some time and just skip to buying bear carvings? Or perhaps you’d rather buy a wooden bear to copy for your first try? Both are great choices and we are here to help.
- Etsy always is a great choice for hand crafted and unique wood products by amazing artists. Perhaps you’re ready to start selling your carvings? Etsy will certainly give you a good idea on how to price your product.
- Jeff Fleming has been around for over 30 years in the business of creating amazing wooden bear carvings. We think he’s the best of the best, and worth checking out. No, we don’t make any money from referring you to Jeff, his work is amazing and sells itself. Plus we see he can ship around the world now.
- Of course Amazon has a wide selection of various wood carved bears, wooden bear statues and bear sculptures for gift ideas like the one below. Buying a cheap one to copy with your first whittled bear project and can be much to follow easier than a 2-dimensional pattern.