I was trying to see how many projects could come out of this little birch branch that had been hanging around my work table for quite a while.  So one day I started chopping it up into little pieces.  The results are pictured below.​

I'm not sure what type of maple this tree was.  Even the small branches had a small pith, and there were some nice forks. I will say, however, THE WOOD WAS HARD!!  I have rarely struggled as hard making the roosters' tail feathers!

On my "About Wood" page there are a couple of photos of some trees that were recently cut down in a neighbor's yard.

I was able to collect a number of branches, some of which are still waiting to be carved. However, one particular branch already "hatched" into another critter in my collection of Dr. Seuss type characters. I haven't figured out yet what to call this  one.

sitting in car during oil change

Some time ago I carved this rooster for a hockey player. And just a few weeks ago I did a golfer rooster.  I think he was holding a driver in his beak. Then again, it may have been a

fairway wood!

And this is what this little guy looks like now.  Who knows, he may get tweaked a bit more before we're done with him!

twigs in the snow in front of the Ridgewood, NJ, hospital . . .

This big splinter became the three pieces on the right.

Most of the wood I whittled was from a single small branch from a tree near our room, cut with permission from the hotel landscape crew.  To be honest, I don't even know what kind of tree it was.  

The dime and penny are just to show size comparison.

1 owl on a stump

3 roosters

2 hens 

4 letter openers/knives

3 "name log" blanks

2 little log bases for roosters

3 left over pieces for ??????

During the first half of the recent 2018 Pennsylvania Farm Show this little double-forked twig was bouncing around my booth.  Every so often I'd pick it up and tell someone that I thought I could get five (and possibly six) projects out of that one little twig.  Finally, I bit the bullet and actually tried to see what could "hatch" from that tiny piece of wood.  The results: actually eight pieces -- three flowers, one rooster, one hen, one owl on a stump, one hunting knife (Polly Pocket scale) , and an olive poker (one small olive at a time!)

Here's the pile of branches.

Not every year, but often, when we take down our Christmas tree, I'll trim off the branches and leave just the trunk of the tree with 3-to-5-inch stubs sticking out.  I'm never sure what will come out of the piece -- some table lamps?  a hat rack?

salt and pepper shakers? ? ? ? ?  The trimmed off branches usually get tossed out.  This year, however, almost all of them went to our pygmy goats at the Amish Farm and House, where my shop is.  Goats evidently love Christmas trees.  You should see all the Christmas tree skeletons in their pens!

One lonely branch missed getting into the back of my van for the trip over to the farm.  When I picked it up to toss it into our trash container, I noticed a little stick figure (literally!) hidden in the branch.  I'm glad it didn't make it over to the goats!


Turkey Hill ice cream spoons . . . And they can become other critters besides roosters and cows.

This miniature tree was appreciated by a lunchtime server at another restaurant.  True, it's just a little, dinky thing, but it's pretty amazing how a tiny thing can make a person happy.

Probably a little less than 24 hours ago from the moment I'm typing this note, I was in our local Home Depot getting some touch-up paint.  When the associate who was mixing my paint gave me a paint stick to go along with the paint I commented that, as a woodcarver, I could get ten projects from that one stick. So he handed me a few more!  And he asked me to come back and show him what I had carved.  Anyway, here are the pieces that have come out so far from that one paint stick. Not ten yet, but I can still get several more pieces from the uncarved scrap that's above my pocketknife.  Oh, and that's a little scrap of sandpaper in the photo that proved useful too.

    . . . carved in hospital's front lobby

...how to kill time at "halftime" between sessions of a double dental appointment  . . .  These 8 pieces might have been my own record for carving in a hour and 15 minutes or so!

These little guys are definitely on the funky side!

Some pine and cedar scraps from a post-Hurricane Sandy building project turned into an owl, a letter opener, and a boat. 

At the moment I can't remember exactly why I went into the nearby Lowes store.  All I ended up buying was a wooden yardstick that was sticking out of a bin in the paint department. How about that!  It was one of relatively few times in my 50-plus years of whittling that I actually bought a piece of wood to carve!!!  True, I was very picky.  I picked the yardstick with the clearest, straightest grain (very important if you want to carve a wooden yardstick or paint stirring stick).  I've carved chopsticks, toothpicks, clothespins, ice cream spoons, tongue depressors, fondue skewers, firewood splinters, demolition scraps, and probably several more "repurposable" bits of wood, but I had never challenged a yardstick.


Here's the yardstick whole, followed by a photo of it cut up into a bunch of little pieces.  Last night I started carving, but I think I'll wait until I have the whole project done.  I know some of the things that will emerge, but I suspects others will come out that I'm not even thinking of now.

July 2, 2018 -- It was a bit over 92 degrees inside my shop at the Amish Farm and House today. Happily, I had five fans going!  I really shouldn't complain.  The heat index outside was way over 100, I heard!  Anyway, I got some carving done and met a good number of very nice people.  Speaking of carving, let me share with you one of my latest challenges.

​​Because this maple branch was already too dry to carve easily, I soaked it in a tub of water for a couple of days before trying to carve it.

This is the little rooster that went to the owner of the Blue Talon Bistro.  I can't remember if the miniature knife went to him or to our server, but I'm quite sure it went to one of them.

In early December of 2017 our three children and their families gave Sheri and me a special three-day stay at a beautiful inn in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, to celebrate our 50th Anniversary.  We had an absolutely wonderful time!  We walked a lot, saw a lot, learned a lot, and certainly ate a lot!  And naturally, since I always have a pocketknife on me, I even carved a little bit.  And, ask Sheri, I only did it at

appropriate times and places, and for certain people.

And here's the "before" photo of the special branch.  I guess you could call this a picture of a unique egg before it has hatched.

Fondue skewers are great for making miniature knives, forks, and spoons.

As I recall, from a twig or two, I gave the gardeners a little knife and a flower.

Counting the snow storm that is currently going on as I type this (March 21st), this is the fourth "Nor'easter" to hit the northeastern part of the U.S. in the month of March.  Some areas really got clobbered!  The few little branches lying in the snow on our back deck are ones I salvaged from a huge branch that snapped off a large maple tree in Ridgewood, New Jersey.  The second photo shows what came from those same branches.  And there still are a few pieces yet to carve.

​broken pieces of lumber spacers at Home Depot

​BELOW:  Twigs that my son, Steve, brought back from near Stonehenge, U.K., and from Cape Town, South Africa.

​spacers not too long later

      mini letter opener

This page is essentially going to be kind of a running blog of all kinds of pieces carved in a wide variety of situations. One of its goals is just to show how much fun a person can have in with a sharp pocketknife in WHEREVER (well, almost​ wherever).  

We thought this would be a fun place to eat.  Guess why!


. . . and what came from those same twigs

broken clothespin on the ground

I'm guessing that the old house across the street that got demolished was built sometime in the 1800's.  The three little pieces I rescued from that big pile of scraps turned into eight letter openers.  (I guess you could call the little one a letter opener . . . maybe for Barbie!)

I'm not sure I ever saw a restaurant more decorated with roosters!  And the food was super good too!

Well, it's a day later now, and I took advantage of the sunny day and sat outside my shop and carved almost all of the little pieces I had cut up.  I did decide to save two little scraps in case I get some really different idea down the line.  Anyway, here's what I have so far.  (I've left on some of the printing just to show that the pieces did come from a Lowes yardstick.)

Outside the print shop I found a great little splinter of firewood that turned into a letter opener which I gave to the printer.

watching soccer practice and whittling at the same time