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6 July 2023 : 
Unusual Wood Carving
Mike Tuck

Mike Tuck gave a light hearted and entertaining talk about some of his more unusual wood carvings.  A member of the Ringwood Wood Carvers, Mike moved away from his carved wooden walking sticks to talk about his passion for carving unusual objects from wood.

The group meets every other Tuesday at the Memorial Hall in St Ives, and has been running for around 20 years.  The audience were surprised to hear that over half the members of the Ringwood Wood Carvers are women - Mike joked that they make good pupils as they are generally more patient and listen to instructions!

Mike showed the type of carving that novices start with - a relief of an Ivy leaf carved from a single block of wood using 3 main tools - a flat chisel, a v-shaped chisel and a gouge.  He then showed a free-style carving of a set of fairy cottages on top of each other with a spiral staircase running round the edges.  This carving helps a novice start to think in 3d, and allows some freedom to explore design.  It also helps the starter get an understanding of the grain in the wood.  The piece he showed was made from a 2" square length of lime wood which is relatively soft but is close grained so doesn't splinter so easily.  Further examples of "carving in the round" were some amazing autumn leaves.

Mike demonstrated his engineering background with some carved spanners - one with charred wood where the summer growth wood is burnt off to reveal the grain of the harder winter-grown wood.  He showed other engineering based carvings - a stand od tools, a working vice and a padlock and chain.  He described how he likes to think about how to make something - this challenge is what helps him to decide on what to carve.  Sadly, he hadn't brought in his life-size carved copy of a Black and Decker hedge trimmer!!

He showed the audience a carved boot with carved laces, and a carved flat cap complete with stitch detail and lining!  His dragon sculpture demonstrated the use of pyrography - the art of burning the wood to create the scales pattern on the dragon's back.

Mike's latest projects are of carved food!  The group were amazed at his carved burger and chips, fry-up and his current project, a full ploughman's lunch!  The members were looking forward to seeing the finished project at the Ellingham Show in a month's time!

The Ringwood Wood Carvers are currently looking for new members to take up the hobby.  They meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday's of the month from 6.30pm until 9pm at the St Ives Village Hall.  If anyone is interested in joining, they can contact Mike on 01425 475129 or visit the website at

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