Carving the Whittle Pup

Making space for the legs

The first thing we're going to do is cut out the area between the jaw line and the foot line, where the legs will be. Start by making a cut along the foot line, from one depth line to the other, using the tip of your knife. This is called a stop cut.

If you're working with a wood that's harder than basswood (pretty much anything), then it's unlikely that you can make the stop cut deep enough to touch the depth line. Don't try. If you try to force the blade and it slips, you will lose control of it and can very well cut yourself. Or break the knife. Make the cut as deep as you comfortably can. You can make it deeper after you've carved away some of the wood.

Make another stop cut from one depth line to the other, along the jaw line.

The purpose of the stop cut is to stop the knife--prevent it from going beyond the stop. You'll see, when you're whittling away the wood from between the nose and feet, that the wood on the other side of the stop cut very effectively stops the blade. Assuming, of course, you're not using too much force.

Now, carefully and using thin slices, begin carving away the wood between the two stop cuts. If you try to dig too deeply here, you're likely to break the feet off and you'll end up with a pawless dog. Take your time, starting from the middle or slightly higher, and with a slicing motion draw the knife through the wood to the stop cut. As you carve away material to the depth of the stop cut, take the tip of your knife and deepen the cut. Be careful, though, not to make the stop cut deeper than the depth line.

You'll also want to turn the piece over and carve from the middle to the stop cut along the jaw line. Continue removing wood until you have a flat spot between the jaw line and the foot line, that's as deep as the depth lines. Your figure should now look like this.