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Whittling with Chris: Carving Curls

Practice one simple technique to make all sorts of projects


There are only two techniques you need to know to whittle almost any of Chris Lubkemann’s projects: sharpening a knife and carving curls. If you need to review your sharpening technique, watch this video. If you’ve got that down, it’s time to learn technique number two: carving curls.


Chris uses curls to make tails for his iconic roosters, the petals on little daisies, the branches of tiny trees, and more. There’s a bit of a knack to it, so you’ll need to practice. Make sure your knife blade is properly shaped (watch this video), grab a handful of twigs, and watch this video.


A child of missionaries, Chris Lubkemann grew up in the forests of Brazil and Peru, where he developed an appreciation for knives and entertained himself and others by handcrafting rafts, tree houses, traps, and slingshots from scrap wood. As an adult, he has continued to use his woodworking skills for gold old-fashioned fun. Chris has carved some of the world’s smallest branch carvings; in fact, his smallest branch rooster was given a Guinness World Record Certificate. The author of five books on woodcarving with Fox Chapel Publishing, Chris currently demonstrates whittling as the resident woodcarver at the Amish Farm and House in Lancaster, Pa. Visit his website at



Want to learn more about whittling?

Subscribe to Woodcarving Illustrated magazine, or visit our website to buy back issues. Check out our special issues all about Whittling. Visit our website to buy Chris Lubkemann’s books.

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