Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

Carving a Tlingit Style Mask - Steve Brown

Carve a Tlingit Style Mask using traditional tools.


Carving a Tlingit Style Mask



This class is designed to refine your skills with traditional NW carving tools - adzes and curved knives. Steve will show you the techniques for efficient carving of sculptural forms using these tools. You can make the adzes and knives you'll need in Steve's tool making class (see the Tools section below).

The class will focus on making a Tlingit style mask from a fresh block of green alder. We'll be sourcing the blocks specially for the class and Steve will be rough shaping the blocks prior to the class.


Class Description

This five day class allows you a deep exploration of carving and decorative  techniques, combined with a good likelihood that you will complete the mask by the end of the week. You are not restrained to a Tlingit style but that is a good starting point for beginning carvers.

  • History and overview of NW Mask Carving

  • Proportions and layout of Mask Designs

  • Preparation of carving blocks

  • Adze carving techniques

    • Hogging off material

    • Creating forms

    • Creating surface texture

  • Knife Carving Techniques

    • Creating surfaces

    • Carving details

    • Texturing surface s

  • Traditional paints and decorative elements


At a minimum you will need the following carving tools to participate in this class:

  • Straight edge elbow adze

  • Curved edge elbow adze

  • Curved traditional carving knife

  • Straight traditional carving knife

You can purchase these tool from various vendors or we offer you the opportunity to make the tools yourself with Steve Brown in his NW Carving: Toolmaking class.

Steve suggests these tools from the following vendors:

Kestrel Tools:  

  • Full size standard bend; C-C

  • Full size not so crooked; C-B (Optional)

  • Three-quarter size standard bend; C-3

  • Three quarter size not so crooked; C-5

    Note: For smaller hands or smaller work, particularly for the panel carving, bowls and ladles, and mask carving classes, the ¾ size knives are better suited for the work.

North Bay Forge:

  • Crooked knives: Tip Bent Knife and Shallow Bent Knife

  • Medium straight knife

If you are in the Port Townsend area, Edensaw now carries a variety of North Bay Forge tools. 

If you do not have tools - we may have some loaner tools but please enquire before registration.
Carvers who already own tools are encouraged to bring their carving kit with them. The discussions and history of various tools are great fun.


This is not  a class for the beginning carver. You should have had some prior experience using both adze and crooked knife.

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.
This class takes place in Building 304 at Fort Worden - not the School Building. Map
Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.
Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $750
Materials Charge: $ 75

When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.