Carving the Whittle Pup

Legs and feet

Cut back the foot piece so that it's no more than 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) wide. The paws will be smaller than you think.

Then, sketch in the legs by drawing diagonal lines down from below the nose. You should have an "A" shape with the apex just a little bit below the bottom of the jaw. See the picture.

Separate the feet by making a stop cut on the center line of the feet, and then successive angled cuts towards that center cut. Deepen the center line cut as needed. Be careful. If you try to force your knife into the wood here, you'll end up splitting the wood and probably taking off a foot. One of the figure's feet rather than your own. If you can find the piece that breaks off, you can glue it back on, but you probably won't be able to hide the glue line.

Now, make a stop cut straight down the center line between the legs, all the way to the bottom of the figure. We're going to carve out a fairly deep space there between the legs, but there's no need to do it all at once. Make the cut as deep as you're comfortable with. Remember, if you try to force it, you'll probably lose control of the blade. And an out of control blade has a distressing tendency to end up buried in your body somewhere.

After you've made that center stop cut, make cuts along the "A", with the tip of the knive angling in torwards the center.cut. The idea is to remove about 1/8 inch of the wood between the legs. Be careful of your knife tip here. You'll have it buried in the wood, and twisting the knife will snap that tip pretty easily.

When you're done separating the legs, take a few moments to round the body. There are probably some hard corners from when you were thinning after creating the back legs. You'll also want to gentle the hard edges on the legs, and perhaps undercut the backs of the legs a bit.

The figure's paws might be slightly too tall, and possibly a bit too wide. If your figure's paws are too wide, narrow them by taking material from the outside. If you cut from the inside, you'll have to mess with widening the separation. Remember, though, that the paws are going to get shaped. If they look a little too big as blocks, then they'll probably be okay once you shape them.

To shape the paw, cut the top corners off, leaving a small flat spot on the top. See the first picture, below. Then, cut from the front of the paw, back, creating a slight slope. This will make the paw shorter, and give the top a curved look. Finally, round the front of the paw by taking thin slices from the corners, cutting with the grain (i.e. down).

Go ahead and form the other paw now, too. As with the ears, you want the paws to resemble each other, but they don't have to be identical.