Carving a Nose with Tony Harris – Part 1

A Nose Tutorial by Tony Harris

Part 1

This week I am introducing Part 1 of a photo nose tutorial done by my good friend, Tony Harris from Tennessee.  Tony is an excellent carver who creates his own Santa ornaments and was gracious enough to share his expertise with us on how he carves noses.  Because of the number of photos in this tutorial I have broken it into two parts of 8 photos each.  Part 2 will follow next week.

Part 1

Sharp tools are important.  Before you begin, make sure your tools are sharp.  Keep them sharp as you go with periodic stropping.

Step 1. Draw 4 perpendicular vertical lines each 1/4″ apart.  Mark the hat brim and bottom of the nose, then draw a horizontal line approximately half way between the hat brim and the bottom of the nose.

Photo 1

Step 2. Use a #9 gouge to scoop out two eye sockets and to scoop out around the bottom and sides of the nose.  Pay attention to the reference marks in the photo.

Photo 2

Step 3. Stab a #6 gouge straight into the outer edges of where the outer wings of the nose will be.  Cut back to these cuts with the same tool.

Photo 3

Step 4. Use a 2mm Dockyard gouge to form the ball on the tip of the nose.  Use a small #9 gouge to carve away the side of the nose up to the eye sockets.

Photo 4

Step 5. Use a 1/4″ #6 gouge to carve the bottom tip of the nose.  Then use a 3mm Dockyard gouge to carve the nostrils.

Photo 5

Step 6. Soften all the sharp edges with a detail knife.  Then draw the face layout for reference.

Photo 6

Step 7. Side view.

Photo 7

Step 8. Deepen the eye sockets and the sides of the nose.

Photo 8

NOTE: Substitute alternate tool sizes and shapes as necessary according to the size of your project.

Part 2 of Tony’s Nose Tutorial will follow next week. Stay tuned!

Questions & Comments

Our first question this week comes from Selena Werdon from Reno, Nevada.  Selena wants to know the best way to transfer patterns onto basswood eggs.  Selena writes:

 “I struggle with how to transfer a pattern to a basswood egg. I love the patterns in Lori Dickie’s Quick & Cute Carving Projects book and would like to know the easiest way to align them on the eggs. Keep up the good work on Wood Chip Chatter!”

That’s a great question, Selena!  It’s a problem many carvers must struggle with.    Because of the curved surface of the egg it is easier to transfer the pattern on section at a time.

I did some research, and after speaking with Donna Spiker, who carves gorgeous basswood eggs, this is what I found out:

Copy or trace your pattern onto a piece of tracing paper then turn it over and trace the pattern on the back side of the paper with a soft pencil.  Place your pattern (right side out) against your egg and trace it onto the egg, one section at a time.  A pencil, pen or stylus can be used for this.  Adjust the pattern as necessary as you go.  Cutting the pattern into two or three pieces helps facilitate application of the pattern.  Finally, go over your tracing with a fine marker, like a micron 05 fine line marker.

Carver’s Corner

“Carver’s Corner” is the section where you can send in photos of your carvings to have them critiqued by me and get my truthful opinions on what you did right and where you might improve next time.  It’s an excellent opportunity to improve your carving skills!  Send your photos to 

Dean Stewart finished his Cod Fish carving and sent it in for this week’s “Carver’s Corner.”

“Here is my Cod Fish finished.  Add it to the carvers corner of you need a photo to discuss.”

Thanks for sending in your photos, Dean!  As I said last time, I doesn’t look too much like flat plane but boy it sure turned out awesome!  To me, it’s a perfect replica of a Cod…right down to the shape, the colors, and the markings.  Fantastic job on the eyes!  I honestly thought they were glass eyes.  I really like it…nice work!

Bill Reifsteck sent in a comment with an interesting observation about Dean Stewart’s Cod Fish carving.  Bill says:

“Regarding the fish, flat plane would probably look better on a folk art style fish…”

I think you’re absolutely right, Bill.  I definitely agree.

Photo Shop

“Photo Shop” is the section of Wood Chip Chatter where carvers can send in photos of their wood carvings for display. It’s your chance to show off your work…sort of a show and tell. The photos will only be displayed and no comments or critiques will be made.  For critiques on your carvings send them in to the “Carver’s Corner.”  Send your photos to 

Our first entry to the “Photo Shop” this week comes from Mary Reifsteck who carved a beautiful cottonwood bark castle:

Excellent job, Mary!  I like all the stone work you carved, and the base you added.

Our next entry is from Nicky Foley who carved two outstanding Santa ornaments:

Nicky Foley’s Santa ornaments

Amazing job, Nicky!  Great facial detail.

Next we have two entries from my good friend, Phyllis Stone from Pennsylvania.  Phyllis carved a Quick Wizard from my article in Woodcarving Illustrated 2017 Spring issue #79, and a Simple Snowman ornament that she personalized from my article in Woodcarving Illustrated 2021 Winter issue #97.

Nice job, Phyllis!  I like how you personalized the snowman’s hat.

Free Pattern

News & Announcements

The International Association of Woodcarvers has upcoming Zoom meetings on the following Saturdays at 3PM EST with special guest presenters.  Check them out…

Zoom:  310-460-3575


3/26 – Cam Merkle – Razortip

4/2 – Steve Tomashek

4/9 – Joe You

4/16 – Chris Hammack

4/23 – Brett Andrews

4/30 – Cecilia Schiller – Cranklady

5/7 – Ken Kuhar

5/14 – Dana Kababik – Carving Junkies




I’m sure you all have some terrific carvings to share in my “Photo Shop” section.  Photos of your carvings liven up the blog’s appearance and make it more interesting.  Also, my “Carver’s Corner” is a great way to get constructive critiques on your carvings so you can learn where to improve on your next ones.  When sending in photos please specify whether you want them for display in “Photo Shop” or if you want me to critique them in the “Carver’s Corner.”  Send your photos in to  Thanks!


Send in your questions and comments so we can keep Wood Chip Chatter active and keep the conversations going!  Effective discussions are one of the best ways to learn about the topics that interest you.  Remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.  Plus we would all love to learn about the unique tips, techniques and products YOU use in your woodcarving process.  Send your questions and comments to  Thanks!

Keep a sharp edge, and keep on carvin’!

Funny Bone

If 4 out of 5 people suffer from diarrhea, does that mean 1 out of 5 people enjoy it?

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.

4 thoughts on “Carving a Nose with Tony Harris – Part 1

  1. Great articles this week Bob. Will follow the tutorial Carving a Nose. I too struggle with them. Always ends up much smaller than in the beginning stages due to cleaning up my inferior cuts.  Thanks for your continued excellent work with Wood Chip Chatter  Jim Shay

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


  2. Bob, great job on these articles, thanks for all the extra work you do for us carvers out here in the real world, love all your work too!

    Bill MacDougall Amherst, New York

    Sent from my iPad



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