Project 1: The 3 Minute Owl

Project 0 was done. Or at least by this time the first inscription on it of the first hike I did was done.

My tastebuds were teased and so I toiled with the idea of “what next” as I was not yet satisfied. I had the the hiking stick but the next entry onto it would only be after the next hike which was still far into the future.

This was when I discovered Pinterest. And oh and what a wonderful discovery it was. Since that first day and throughout the development of my woodworking journey Pinterest has become a part of me!

I did what any other normal person would do and I went to Mr. G. Oogle. So naturally I searched for “Beginner woodcarving” and stumbled on what was called a “3 minute owl”. Now this I thought can’t be difficult. 3 minutes, like really? Easy pickings man.

The link I found was one that took me to Pinterest. This pin is what I found. Sure it said it will only take 3 minutes, but once I saw the picture I was still confused. I did not know where to start. First of all I needed a piece of wood, so I went about the yard and found a small piece of wood that was lying around. In hindsight that probably wasn’t the best idea as you will see in the photos to follow. Yet I marched on with this little piece.


I had a piece of wood. I had a small carving knife. But I didn’t know where to start cutting and in which order. Luckily the pin I found had a link to a website that helped to explain it a bit better. Whittling with Will on this website they explained in a detailed little drawing exactly how you should cut and when. Detailed steps as to how to go about. Now this was amazing for someone like me at this point with absolutely no knowledge of how to whittle/carve.


Step by step I followed this diagram. The title said that this was a 3 minute job? Pfff what a lie. It took me close to 3 hours to finish! But I was proud. My first attempt with the object actually being recognisable. I immediatly went to show everyone who was in the house at the time, and luckily they were all pleased. The only problem here was that the piece of wood was of really bad quality because it was lying outside for who knows how long, and it was quite small.


It wasn’t exactly a masterpiece and didn’t look as nice as the image I was working from but it was my masterpiece, and with that I was happy. You can see from the first image that the quality of the wood was not good as it was already splintering and wasn’t very strong. This did however make for easy cutting. It was only later on that I found out how hard some woods can be.

A while after carving this little 3 Minute(“Hour”) Owl I found a local art shop. They sold small pieces of better quality wood than what I had used. I duly bought a few pieces in anticipation of more projects.

The first project I did with one of these new pieces of wood was to redeem little Mr. Owl up top. I took my father’s iron saw and started cutting a piece off of the block of wood. This was in the first place a bigger piece than my original owl so there was more space to work with.

So with the better quality, slight bit of experience I gained from the first owl, and bigger size I was able to redeem little Mr. Owl. This one atleast came out quite nice in my opinion. It was easier to work with wood that was of better quality as the wood would not break and splinter without notice. You want to cut there, then you can cut there. And the wood obliged.


In terms of the actual carving of these owls, I do not really remember what I struggled with as it was quite some time from the time of writing this. I just followed the instructions on the website linked above, cutting away little bit by little bit until the owl shows itself.

This project has been one of the defining projects for my journey and still sits on my desk to this day.

Crazy Oak out.


Project 0: The Stick

My first woodworking project, engraving my hiking stick

My First official woodworking project

The hike in preparation for The Otter came and went and after this was when the ideas started. So my first pictures formed in my head of what I wanted to do.

Engraving the hike that we did along with the date when it happened.

So I set out and bought my first set of woodcarving chisels. Since this was completely new to me I could just go out and carve into my actual walking stick and risk messing it up, so I took a random piece of wood and started carving. Carving the alphabet. And numbers. Just some basic alphanumeric characters. I used the skew edged chisel from my first set to to carve out a small ‘V’ out of the wood.

P0-1 P0-2

This was surprisingly not too difficult. It took me a few tries to become comfortable to carve out round letters but I used “B” as a practice tool for this. The problem with the curvature is that the direction of the grain differs as you go around so the way the chisel cuts into the wood requires a bit more control. When carving with the grain the blade naturally follows the direction of the grain and that can cause your idea of what an “O” looks like to change into a “U”. Given some practice I was able to create a consistent level of depth for the letters while staying within the lines as I was taught in primary school.

As I got the hang of it I decided to go over to my walking stick. First of all my walking stick needed some personality, so it needed something to make it different (besides the planned carving) and it also needed a name.

The Stick. Sure it sounds lame but it is more than just that. It is also a word play on The Stig from Top Gear. I took some insulation tape and some green coloured duct tape and fashoined a grip at the top of the stick. After this I engraved the name “The Stick” as well as a little picture of my version of The Stig.


I was very happy with how this came out so I went on to engrave the first hike that The Stick has helped me complete. Suiker Bosch Fontein. Still using the skew chisel, taking my time so as not to mess it up as there is no “undo” button for woodworking. Well there is to an extent, but you have to sand off all your hard work and that isn’t always a viable option.


It is not too clear on the photos, but it is there. I am considering burning it in, but I don’t wan to lose the distinct look of the carving. This a decision I will still have to make someday, but for now I am procrastinating this choice.

So as I go on more hikes I add then on the next level on The Stick, marking the name as well as the date. This is an ongoing project and it will only stop when either The Stick breaks or when it is full. So here is to many more years of hiking.


Hikes so far:

  • SuikerBoschFontein
  • The Otter
  • Kingdom Trails

I will update this as time goes on and more hikes are hiked. In the mean time, there will be many other projects to make and older projects to blog about.

There is still a long way to go to catch this blog up with all the projects I have completed to date but with time…

Crazy Oak out.