Intermediate Carving

Dan Packard

LEVEL 2, 3



Woodcarving started with shards of flint and fallen branches and has grown from there and maybe reached its peak with Grinling Gibbons in the 18th century. Woodcarving requires a pretty minimal setup - a bench, good light, carving tools, mallet and sharpening stones. Woodcarving scales well to a small space and modest budget.

Carving brings you very closely in contact with the grain of the wood - you’ll learn at a very visceral level how you need to adapt the cut direction to the grain. Maintaining the sharpness of your carving tools is critical to the ease of carving and the cleanness of the final piece (no sanding allowed!).

Carving is like dancing with a tool - you’ll learn how to use your whole body to control the carving tool and the grace of the curve. Carving is not about arm and wrist strength!

Carving is not wholly about artistry - you do not need to be an artist (it helps) to create carvings. Dan will teach straight forward techniques to transfer an existing drawing to the board. Dan shows you how to carve the shape, hog out material to create the relief and to add the final details.

Class Description

"Intermediate" is a rather broad term - what we really mean is that you should not be a beginning carver. Ideally you will have taken a course or have spent a couple of years working on your own. You should have already begun to collect your gouges and chisels.

We offer a selection of relief projects of varying levels of difficulty to choose from.  The size and complexity of projects will all depend on the number and size of the gouges you bring.


You will need your own tools for this class. It is important that the tools you bring are sharp - if they are blunt you’ll lose too much time at the beginning of the class. By sharp we mean really sharp - you should be able to shave (carefully) with your carving tools.

Students are also expected to bring their own strops and stones. You will be responsible for maintaining your tools. The shop will have equipment on hand to recondition any major damage.  

Note: Please ensure that you bring or buy full sized carving tools. The smaller flex-cut carving tools are not appropriate for this class.

We recommend the Pfeil Swiss made tools as they come very well pre-sharpened and are ready to use. Other brands are fine if they are well-made and sharp. 

For gouges marked with you can vary the size for example if you can't get a #3 sweep you can substitute a #2 or #4 but you will still need to get the two widths in that size. 

Parting Tools and Straight Chisels:

  • 60 Degree V parting Tool 8mm
  • #1 Straight double bevel chisel 12 mm
  • #1 Straight double bevel skew 8 or 10 mm


  • #3 sweep 8mm and 14mm 
  • #5 sweep 8mm and 14mm 
  • #7 sweep 8mm and 14mm 
  • #8 or 9 sweep 8mm and 14mm 

Optional gouges:

  • #3 Sweep Fishtail gouge 8 or 12mm 
  • #3 sweep spoon gouge 8 or 10 mm 
  • #2 sweep gouge - 10 or 12 mm 

Carver's mallet

  • We will have a number of mallets available if you want to experiment before you purchase


This intermediate carving class centers around fairly complex relief carving. We recommend that you have taken Dan's Foundations of Woodcarving or have similar experience.

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.

This class takes place in Building 306 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: $ 650

Materials Charge: $ 30

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.