Learning to round a stick is a good project to help campers get the feel of whittling and finishing. Scrap pine from box ends or lumber, or kindling wood, may be used, with the camper's jackknife as the only tool. Pegs may be used in cabins, washrooms, dining halls, or wherever pegs are needed.

Equipment needed: jackknife (sharp, of course); whittling board; sandpaper; wax; bit and brace for hole in wall; plastic wood.

Materials needed: piece of straight soft wood, such as pine, about 9" to 10" long, without knots.


1. Use whittling board on bench or floor, to steady piece of wood. Hold stick at one end, other end on board, and cut down the stick, cutting slivers or shavings. Cut squared edges first, turning stick as work progresses until it begins to be rounded (Fig. X-6).

2. Continue cutting, turning stick until desired size for most of length. Then turn stick around, and cut other end to match. Look at stick to see where more cutting is needed, and round it evenly. Take off small amounts rather than big shavings. Make desired thickness. Make as smooth as possible with knife.

3. A long stick is easier to work with, but if short pegs are desired, cut in two by cutting at angles (Fig. X-7), bracing with thumbs.

4. Trim off ends, cutting away small bits as stick is turned (Fig. X-8).

5. Sand as in Figure X-5 and wax.

6. To insert in wall: drill hole with bit and brace at slight angle (Fig. X-9). Make hole just smaller than peg, then whittle end of peg to fit snugly. Put bit of plastic wood in hole, then hammer in peg.

Simplest Activities In Whittling

First steps in woodworking will be with the jackknife. The camper will gain confidence, appreciation, and skill as he makes the simplest articles for camp living or begins the first craft article from wood. Many of these projects will be from wood picked up on the campsite. Good conservation practices are important; even when wood is plentiful, campers should learn to select and use wood carefully. An appreciation of the beauty of wood will be developed as campers sand and wax small pieces of wood for pins, belt buckles, or buttons. Good craftsmanship will come in the trimming of ends of sticks used for gadgets, lashed articles, and so forth. Good conservation is practiced when each camper has his own cooking stick and uses the same one through his stay in camp. Sticks may be kept moist by standing in a pail of water when not in use.

Equipment needed: jackknife; egg-beater drill; sharpening tools; saw; vise; sandpaper; wax; linseed oil or stain.

Materials needed: twigs, sticks, etc., found on site; safety pins or pin-backs; plastic wood or household cement.

Sticks for cooking-from green sticks (Fig. X-10): cut carefully where stick will not be missed; trim ends; make broilers, toasters, etc. Cooking helps (Fig. X-ll): pot hooks; shavings and fuzz sticks (leave shavings on sticks for fuzz sticks); cranes, tripods, etc.

Pegs And Hooks

Pegs and hooks (Fig. X-12): forked sticks-trim off back for flat surface to fit against wall, tree, or tent pole; drill holes with egg-beater drill if hook will be screwed to wall.

Pins, buttons, toggles, belts: find interesting bits of wood; saw slices from branches; polish to bring out beauty of the grain; oil and wax (Fig. X-13). Carve initials or leaves or simple designs (Fig. X-14). Make belts from interesting pieces of various kinds of wood, polished to show grain. Trim edges, drill holes for thong with egg-beater drill (Fig. X-15).

Letter openers, butter or cheese knives (Fig. X-16): select a stick big around as thumb; look for interesting knots and curves. Decide on length of handle and leave bark on this end, or peel and carve design on handle. On blade end, draw the blade down the center of the stick (Fig. X-16 a). Whittle wood away from both sides of this line, so the blade of knife is in the center of the handle. Make cutting edge of knife and point thinner than top edge. Sand and wax letter openers. Sand butter or cheese knives, and oil with vegetable oil.

To drill holes in buttons and toggles (Fig. X-17): place on whittling board or in vise; mark places for holes with pencil; use egg-beater drill; hold straight; press down lightly on handle.

To make groove in toggles, etc. (Fig. X-18): mark place with pencil; cut carefully all around.

To put pins on backs of wooden pins (Fig. X-19): gouge out small groove in back of pin; sand; put in small safety pin with small amount of plastic wood; smooth and take off excess plastic wood. Or, use commercial type pin-back with household cement; let dry for an hour or more.

Place pin above center line, to make it hang correctly without tipping forward when pinned in place. Place so that the pin point is used from right to left (for right-handed use), or vice versa.

Simple DesignsTo Put Pins On Backs Of Wooden Pins

Progressive Steps In Whittling

From simple steps in trimming edges and smoothing surfaces, the whittler can progress to carving in low or high relief, in intaglio, or in the round (see Fig. X-l). Equipment will be much the same as for first steps in whittling, except that a small-bladed knife will be essential. Beginner's woodcarving tools, or knife sets such as X-acto knives with varying shaped blades, may also be used at this stage.

Buttons, pins, buckles, in relief or in intaglio: draw design lightly on wood; cut stopper cuts at edges of design; make small cuts away from the design edge; work against the grain to avoid splintering on stopper cut (Fig. X-20). Cut out shapes of leaves, animals, etc.; make veins, features, etc., with knife cuts. Sometimes a coping saw is used to cut outline (Fig. X-21). Make heads, ships, animals, etc., in relief or intaglio (Fig. X-22).

Carving In The Round

Letter openers, knives, with carved handles (Fig. X-23): make blade as in Figure X-16; wrap narrow strip of paper around handle, and trace edges with pencil. Cut away 14" between marks. Smooth with knife, rounding edges. Sand well and polish.

Forks, spoons, etc. (Fig. X-24): start with block of wood; draw shape on sides, bottom, and top. Cut away in small bits, shaping handle and bowl as you go. Scrape and shape as desired. Sand well, then polish.

Animals, figures, etc.: figures in the round stand free; they may be carved on a base, may be attached to a base, or may stand by themselves. Start with a piece of wood that suggests something, and go from there (Fig. X-25). Perhaps it makes you think of a horse. Carve around his nose and mouth, mane, then make ears last.

Select a piece of wood for size, length, thickness, width (Fig. X-26). Mark off shape on three sides, two ends. Start by nicking shape on opposite sides, then connect on top by a groove. When a leg comes in front of body, cut body down slightly (shaded areas above).

Carving In The RoundSelect A Piece Of Wood For SizeBalls In Boxes And Chains

Start with crouching or sitting figures rather than those that stand on legs.

Totems and Katchina dolls are good projects (Fig. X-27). Wings are added by cutting slots, and inserting tab left on wing.

Balls in boxes and chains are "trick" whittling for the advanced craftsman (Fig. X-28).

Techniques In Using Carpentry Tools

A few carpentry tools will add to the possibilities for wood projects. These can be used with a good sturdy working space, to give practice in handling and caring for basic tools.

Crosscut saw-cuts across the grain of wood (Fig. X-29 a). Rip saw-cuts with the grain of wood (Fig. X-29 b). To saw-hold board steady, braced close to place for cut. Follow a pencil line. Use steady, long strokes (Fig. X-29 c).

Coping saw-used for fine work. Hold wood on edge of bench, and saw straight up and down (Fig. X-29 d).

Wood file-use with steady strokes away from you (Fig. X-30 a).

Vise and woodclamps-used to hold wood while sawing, etc. (Fig. X-30 b).

Plane and draw knife-used to smooth wood (Fig. X-30 c and d).

Bit and brace (Fig. X-31 a) and Egg-beater drill (Fig. X-31 b) -used to make holes. Hold steady, and straight. Make a small depression in which to place tip of drill, to keep it from slipping.

Hammers-hold at end of handle; strike sharp blows (Fig. X-31c).

Screwdrivers-hold straight; steady end of screw with one hand (Fig. X-31 d).

Techniques In Using Carpentry Tools