Jack o’Phantom

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Jack o’Phantom

By Floyd Rhadigan

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. It’s the one day a year you can be anyone or anything you want to be. We woodcarvers don’t want to be left out, so this pumpkin-headed ghost is my whimsical Halloween treat.

Carving the Ghost

This piece is not hard to carve. Cut the outline with a band saw, and use gouges, V-tools, and knives of your choice to carve the details. Make sure your tools are sharp and that you wear a carving glove. This carving is a great place to experiment with fabric folds and curves.

Painting the Ghost

Seal the carving with a coat of matte Krylon spray finish. For most of this carving, I thinned 1 drop of paint with 15 drops of water. For the body, use titanium white with a hint of light blue in the folds. Use gray for the area inside the sleeves and under the sheet/robe. Paint the head cadmium orange, and use burnt sienna in the creases. Paint the stem burnt umber and the eye and mouth openings bright yellow. Then, paint the teeth titanium white. Allow the paint to dry, and then seal it with another coat of Krylon finish. Allow the finish to dry fully.

To antique the carving, create a mixture of 70% Watco natural finishing wax and 30% Watco dark finishing wax. Apply the mixture with a stiff brush. Pat off the excess and buff it with paper towels. Note: Dispose of the paper towels properly; Watco finishing wax contains linseed oil, which can spontaneously combust.

Click Here for the Patterns



Materials & Tools

• Basswood, 2″ (5.1cm) thick:
3″ x 3  1/2″ (7.6cm x 8.9cm)

• Finish, such as Krylon 1311: matte spray

• Acrylic paint, such as DecoArt Americana: uniform blue; Jo Sonja: titanium white, burnt sienna, carbon black, cadmium orange

• Finishing wax, such as Watco:
natural & dark

• Paper towels

• Knives: bench, detail

• #7 gouge: 3/8″ (10mm)

• #9 gouges: 3/16″ (5mm), 1/4″ (6mm),
1/2″ (13mm), 3/4″ (19mm)

• Micro gouges: 5/32″ (4mm), 3/16″ (5mm)

• V-tools: 3/16″ (5mm), 1/4″ (6mm),
1/2″ (13mm)

• Paintbrushes


About the Author

Floyd Rhadigan has been carving for 50 years and teaching the craft for 44. He is a member and past president of the Caricature Carvers of America, and was awarded the Woodcarving Illustrated Woodcarver of the Year Award in 2016. Floyd spends his time traveling around the United States, teaching the art he loves so dearly. See more of his work at fantasycarving.com.


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