Dragon Orthodontics


I roughed out this cherry ale bowl during the green stage months ago, and now I’ve gotten around to refining it in the dry stage, including carving a set of choppers, a point of pride for any dragon.


After sketching on a zig-zag guideline, I begin to make the triangular chip cuts that create the shadows beneath and between the teeth.  In dry cherry, I typically remove some of the bulk with a v-tool before turning to the knife.


I use the “coping” blade on my pocket knife that is thin and noses down to the straight edge.


Considering the grain direction, I clip the bottom of the triangle first, using my left thumb as a fulcrum and levering the blade along the cut.


Changing grips, I cut the forward walls behind each tooth.


Then the back wall in front of each tooth.  I’m aiming for crisp walls with sharp junctions to catch distinct shadows.


To add some simple form to each tooth, I grab a small gouge with a medium sweep.


I run it from the point of each tooth to the upper lip.


Blurry photo, but I then delicately slice off the chips still attached to each tooth at the upper lip with the pen blade.


I’ve still got a lot of carving to do on this bowl; some surfaces, chamfers, refining junctions, and the teeth that wrap around the front.  In the meantime, he’s at least ready to chew.

This entry was posted in ale bowls, carving, cherry, patterns, tools, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Dragon Orthodontics

  1. hiscarpentry says:

    Chomp chomp!

    I like the depth that the gouge work adds to the teeth! Looks great Dave!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. onerubbersoul says:

    Well, you slayed that one. My compliments on your storytelling and instruction. Your writing matches your carving skills. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Fielding says:

    Impressive what you can do with a simple pocket knife, Dave!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Steve Bane says:

    Love your work. That dragon bowl would look great with an eye carved it each side. Thanks for the blog.

    On Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 8:47 AM David Fisher, Carving Explorations wrote:

    > Dave Fisher posted: ” I roughed out this cherry ale bowl during the green > stage months ago, and now I’ve gotten around to refining it in the dry > stage, including carving a set of choppers, a point of pride for any > dragon. After sketching on a zig-zag guideline, I begin to” >


  5. Steve Bane says:

    And maybe some nostrils…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Skip Florey says:

    Beautiful work…the teeth are chrisp and pristine.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Owen Lowe says:

    It appears the shallow gouge work on the face of the teeth is going against the grain. How do you do this so cleanly without lifting sections of wood?


  8. Dave Fisher says:

    It’s hard to read from the photo, but those particular cuts were no problem. They were somewhat across the grain, which is never a problem, but on a bit of a diagonal to it. Overall, though, the fibers were cut downhill in this case.

    Cleanly carving surface of the two curving tapering flutes along the sides of the heads is the much bigger challenge with this design. It requires hugging one side of the flute with a gouge going one direction and the other side going back the other direction, while stopping at just the right spot (which is slightly different in each of the four sides) and reversing things as the curve turns the other way. All with very light cuts. Well, anyway, dealing with grain direction on those heads is a bear.

    If the teeth were oriented in a way that would have the gouge lifting the grain, I would either change the procedure/design or try touching up the gouge to a super fine edge and then give it a try anyway. The cleaner you can cut off those uncooperative fibers, the better.


  9. Pingback: Fluted Dragon | David Fisher, Carving Explorations

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s