Carving Wooden Santas Elves & Gnomes

Christmas is just about two months away so ’tis the season to be doing your Christmas carving, and probably the most popular Christmas carving subjects are Santas.  I mean who doesn’t love getting a hand carved Santa as a Christmas gift?  Well to help you along with your Christmas chores I have found a book that’s chock full of Santa carving ideas just in the “Nick” of time.

Carving Wooden Santas Elves & Gnomes

By Ross Oar

A Book Review

Front Cover
Back Cover

If you love carving Santas and if you’re looking for ideas, this is the book for you!  “Carving Wooden Santas Elves & Gnomes” is a full-color 96 page book published by Fox Chapel Publishing Company, Inc. in 2008.

Ross Oar was a well-known wood carver who also designed some great hybrid carving/traditional pocket knives.  In his book Ross takes the reader step-by-step through two fun projects…a ‘Christmas Gnome’ and a ‘Wee Santa’.  Along the way, he mentions what tools he is using for each step, and also inserts little bonus carving tips between the steps which I found very helpful.

Over half of the book is dedicated to a gallery of more than 25 finished projects with patterns for each one.  The projects are separated into groups…..Beginner, Intermediate and Masterclass.

Sample Project
Sample Project
Sample Project

Pick up a copy of “Carving Wooden Santas Elves & Gnomes” while there’s still time.  I highly recommend it!  Your family and friends will be thrilled to receive any one of the Santa projects from inside.  They’re fun to carve and you’ll be proud to give them away!

Readers’ Comments

We are very short on comments today….there are only three.  I guess everyone must be busy doing their Halloween and Christmas carving.

Our first comment comes from Dean in response to our discussion on BLO vs. Mineral Oil.  Dean writes:

I recently switched to mineral oil from BLO. I find it does a comparable job of sealing wood prior to painting or staining. It doesn’t seem to absorb as quickly so I do give it more time dry and wipe it off some before painting. Doug Linker did a video on different sealants that is a good comparison. I recommend it.”

Thanks for the comment, Dean!  I think mineral oil is a very good alternative to BLO.  Since it is food grade safe there is practically no chance that it will yellow.  Plus it has no odor and is safer to use.

I would like to see that Doug Linker video.  If possible, can you please provide us with the link to it?  Thanks!

Our next comment comes from John Tuttle from Vancouver, WA along with a photo of the fantastic Halloween Witch he carved.   John forgot to include it with the other photos of his Halloween carvings he sent in last time:

Tall Witch carved by John Tuttle

That’s quite an awesome witch you carved, John!  Thanks for sending it in.  I always love receiving reader’s carving photos.  It looks pretty tall.  What are the dimensions?

Our last comment comes from Lawrence Varner who responds to my list of woodcarving suppliers.  Lawrence writes:

“Woodcraft is my typical go to.

Thanks for doing this.

Lawrence V”

Thank you for bringing that to my attention, Lawrence.  I have just added it to the list.  Woodcraft has stores in many locations in 35 states across the United States.  You can go online at to find a store near you or shop right online from their website.

I Need Your Help!

Perhaps everyone missed my request for you all to send requests for the kind of articles and information you would like to see in future posts of Wood Chip Chatter.  Your input is so important toward helping me continue to keep things going.  So let me hear what you have to say!

In order to stir up some interest and to give me a feel for who my readers are I’m conducting a survey:  Send in a message telling me if you are a beginner or intermediate (plus) carver.  Send your name…last name not necessary, just an initial is good.  You can put where you’re from, if you like…not necessary but it will add interest to the survey.  Most importantly tell me whether you’re a beginner or intermediate carver (be honest).  I will post the results in a later blog.  This will be very helpful because it will tell me what kind of material I should be researching and posting.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

After a great deal of thought I have made the difficult decision to publish my blog just once a week.  Look for the posts to come out on Fridays.  I want to keep Wood Chip Chatter upbeat and informative and the extra time in between will allow me to do more research on woodcarving topics that are of interest to all of you.  It will also allow all of you more time to think of and send in more questions and comments each week which we desperately need.  And finally, it will allow me a little more time to get back to doing some of the other things in life that I enjoy…such as wood carving!

Let the chips fly!  Tell your wood carving friends and spread the word about Wood Chip Chatter, and don’t forget to click the ‘Comment’ button at the bottom of the page to send in your questions and comments so we can keep Wood Chip Chatter active and keep the conversations going! 

And remember, we need your photos!  I’m sure you all have some terrific carvings to share, and photos of your carvings will help to liven up the blog’s appearance and make it more interesting.  Perhaps we can start a carvers photo section!  Email your photos to

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Published by carverbobk

I’m a self taught award winning wood carver who has been carving since I was a teenager. I enjoy instructing other carvers, especially beginners.

6 thoughts on “Carving Wooden Santas Elves & Gnomes

  1. Hi Bob, I’m Barbara L from Dayton Ohio. I have been carving since 2018 and consider myself a beginner. Although I am never really sure how to define beginner, intermediate and advanced in the carving world. Everyone always asks but what exactly defines those terms? How many carvings you have done or the quality of your work? Maybe that is my first question for Wood Chip Chatter. Thank you for creating this new opportunity for woodcarvers.


  2. Hi Bob, Don P from Fort Thomas Ky. I just decided to give carving a try, but I’m decently experienced with other forms of woodworking. Thanks for this blog- I can tell it’s going to be helpful. I’ve enjoyed discovering the work of other carvers on Instagram. There are some crazy talented people out there!! I also love Doug Linker’s videos. That’s what led me to you and this site. Keep up the good work!


  3. Hi, I’m Deb from Salina, Kansas, and I am a person who carves only once a week at the Senior Center with a group of mostly guys. Many of them have been carving for years and do large, impressive projects. It’s not possible to carve at my home due to a dog. I prefer to do smaller projects of flowers, words, and creatures. Even though I’ve been going for several years I feel very much a beginner compared to the talented people who come to our Friday carving session.

    Sent from the all new AOL app for Android


  4. Hi Bob. Paul E here from Devon in the UK. I’m a novice carver, I’ve been carving for a few years mainly following guides from you and other wood carvers illustrated contributors (which I order but it takes a while to reach me) also you tubers like Doug Linker and Kevin Coates, and various books I’ve acquired. My next step will be to try and come up with original projects which takes a lot of trial and error, it makes me appreciate the skills you have when you can present plans for us to follow easily.
    I don’t necessarily have comments to make on each blog you put out, but I find them interesting, and the information is building into a nice reference which can be dipped into as the needs arise.
    I’ll try and send you a few photos soon.
    Thanks Bob


  5. Bob,  I want to thank you for the time you spend putting together this valuable resource.  I am a true beginner.  I’ve taken this hobby up this past summer.  I have two questions.I’m a huge fan of Doug Linker.  His true appeal is the production quality of his videos, and the fact that the majority of his projects are from a block of wood.  Can you recommend other resources who primarily start with just a block of wood?  This leads to question number two.  I do hope to get a bandsaw in the future.  I know this will “expand my horizons” in the future.  My drawbacks will be cost and space like so many others.  Can you touch on budget and space friendly options for newbies?  Thank you so much and advance.Phil HNorth Carolina 

    Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS


  6. Hi Bob In response to your survey: Name: Rick C. From Wichita Kansas Carving for 6 months, so still pretty new. I’m always looking for good resources of things to carve to learn new things. So many videos out there are hard to follow or just too simple so I’m always looking for new things somewhere in the middle. Trying to figure out how to paint, blending colors is a challenge, would also love to see the video someone mentioned where Doug Linker compares different oils, I can’t find that. Would be interesting to see about any online courses people can take. I ran across one the other day that someone mentioned in a post somewhere and it’s a class by Charles Banks that looks just like what I was looking for so I signed up for that. Would have never found that on my own.

    Thank you so much for this forum and for supporting the community. Rick



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