A Mom knows her twins

Some of you have asked me how you can carve two identical pieces. How can you carve them separately but still end up with two of the same looking objects?

The only way to do it is to carve them both at the same time. Do it simultaneously. Just start with two roughly cut out pieces of wood. Changes are one is slightly different then the other. See where they differ and use coarse tools like files or chisels to make the rough shapes equal. Even measure up the dimensions if you don't trust your eyes.  It's very important you start out with 2 pieces that are the same size and shape, even at this rough stage.

As you start to reveal the shape you desire, you slowly take little chips of wood away. But the clue when carving simultaneously is to do just little at a time! When you've done a section on the first piece just lay it down and pick up the other piece to do that same section. Again taking away as much (or should i say as little?) as you did on the first piece. When you think you're done, pick 'm both up to compare and when you feel one is a bit "out" of the other, this is the time to make sure you correct that. Only when you are happy that they are equal, can you proceed to carve a bit further on the shape. If you're not careful, a slight change in shape will become more and more visible as you reach the end. So be sure to take little steps at a time because then it's far more easier to keep both pieces the same shape. So you can end up with twins :)

This is the way i proceeded on these two dolphins. I mentioned the photo album before, but in it you can actually see and follow the step by step progress of what i just described.  Still a lot to do but the heads are roughly finished now. Although I'm proud to say they do look a lot alike... I can easily tell them apart. I've held them up close for so long that it almost feels like being a Mom of twins. Every one is confused who is who, except their Mom. They both have their own character  :D

The tools I've used so far are nothing fancy. My two favorite ones are a scalpel #3 with a straight blade #11, and the one i use most, scalpel #4 with blade # 23, all from Swann Morton. The last one has a very nice curve to the blade, that makes it really easy to cut and carve through hard woods. Beside these knifes that do the most part, I used a few gouges, ranging from 0.5 till 3 mm. 

Have a great day and enjoy!   


  1. Very nice Debora! I checked out the album...so interesting how it is done. At one point they actually looked liked ducks but slowly emerged into these really cool fish. How wonderful!

  2. Those look great! Thanks for posting - you do beautiful work.

  3. Fantastic work, they are gorgeous!

  4. Your works always impress me, Deborah. I love them!!!

  5. Thank you for sharing this. The photo album is fantastic!

  6. It's stunning to see the birth of these two marvels. A perfect work !

  7. Great to see how they're evolving! I love the faces on them. I look forward to seeing the scales on the tails (which I think they'll have even though they're dolphins?)

    1. Spot on josje, they will have scales, although they are referred to as dolphins. The use of these animals in design dates back as far as the Greek mythology, where they used to represent or symbolize Neptune and Venus. In the ancient temple of Venus they can be seen carved in the friezes. Fragments of this temple are recorded in "the 4 books on Architecture" (Andrea Palladio, Venice 1570). Later, during the late 17th and 18th Century dolphins became popular again as a design motif. In the coarse of time, as various styles evolved, so did these dolphins. From Rococo to Neoclassic, till Eclecticism. Even at the time of the Art Deco these were used, be it in a more sober and stylistic way. And although they are referred to as "mythical dolphins" because of their provenance, they always have more fish-like features rather then dolphin's. So yeah, i'll scale 'm down :)


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