Classes / Lessons

- taught weekly by Don in his studio -

With almost 50 years of carving experience, Don's works have ranged from replicating fine muzzle loading firearms to paintings to carvings of wildlife. No matter what the subject, he is able to accomplish mastery of the art form. Don has been teaching for over 20 years and in that time his student's accomplishments have grown innumerable. With many "Best of Show" awards at carving competitions across the nation including awards at the Ward World Championship in Ocean City, Maryland. Whether you are a hobbyist looking to improve your skills or a budding professional, Don's knowledge, innovation & experience can help you achieve your goals. Classes can be in a group setting or 1-on-1 to help the student get the most from the teaching experience (Don can even travel to your location).

In the weekly classes students work on projects of their own choosing. With unlimited subject matter ranging from furniture to realistic wildlife to caricature carving Don aids on an individual basis depending on the needs and skill level of the student. Students also have the option to use power tools or to carve by hand.

In the full day to week long seminars, subject matter is predetermined. Students follow Don through a step by step process replicating his techniques as presented in numerous demonstrations throughout the day. Subjects for seminars can range from painting and color theory, individual carving techniques, replicating realistic habitat, to completing an entire sculpture in a few days.

Classes are from 6:00pm to 9:00pm Wednesdays (see the calendar for dates). Prices are $100 for 5 classes.

Duke Carving Don Carving Keith Carving

Bird Carving Seminar Tool List

The list of tools that one can acquire can be never ending. Below is a suggested list that is short, will get you started in power carving, and can be used when traveling or on a budget to get the job done. The list of bits will change, depending on the size of the project but the basic shape will remain the same. If you're on a budget, you can get by with only 10 or so different bits. Call Don for any questions. And Remember to take care of your tools and keep them clean.

  • Safety Glasses
  • Flexible Shaft rotorary tool (Foredom, or other brand) & 1/4" shaft chuck hand piece
  • High Speed rotary tool (35,000 rpm; i.e. NSK, Ram, etc)
  • Wood burning detail tool & tips
  • Various bits, including:
    • Kutzalls: 1" cylinder (1/4" shaft), cylinder & flame both in 1/8" & 3/16" shaft.
    • Diamonds: Flame shapes, Various size balls down to the smallest, Cylinder, and small detail bits. It is Don's suggestion that you Do NOT buy Ruby bits, as their cost is almost that of diamonds, but don't last nearly as long.
    • Ceramic texturing stick, white & green stones
    • Tapered sanding mandrel, cushioned sander
  • Swiss Sandpaper; grits 150 to 400 & 600 if possible.
  • Sanding sticks of various grits, coarse to extra fine. Available from beauty supply shops.
  • Vernier calipers, clear flexible ruler, or other measuring device. (with metric scale if possible)
  • Various dental-picks/tools, and a #11 X-acto blade knife or equal
  • Hobby scissors
  • Opti-visior or other magnification seeing aid; 3x power or stronger ( no stronger than 7x)
  • Note pad & pencils with #2 lead (not any harder lead than HB)
  • Reference material
  • Blue / Green Ribbon epoxy
  • Apron

Painting Seminar Supply List

Many people fear the task of painting a carving, and consider it a chore rather than an enjoyable pastime. When painting any subject, you should use the best paint brushes you can find and afford. It will make painting easier, and the finished product will look better, no matter what the project is. With this in mind, and since GOOD brushes are not available in most cities and are difficult to find, Don carries "Scharff" Paint Brushes, available at any time. They are made in the finest factories in France & Japan, and are a VERY HIGH quality, at a VERY REASONABLE price. Suggested sizes vary depending on the subject. Call for pricing and help in suggesting sizes for a particular class or individual project. If you try them, you'll never use anything else. And remember; paint-brushes DON'T LAST FOREVER.

  • Blow Dryer
  • Roll of Paper towels; Viva brand is preferred
  • Painting stick & holder
  • Reference material
  • White Gesso; Liquitex brand preferred
  • Palette knife: for mixing paint
  • Round "Egg-paint-tray" & cover, and Zip-Lock back to keep it in
  • Paint Brushes. Available from Don, or from your favorite supply house
  • Clean, Old dish towel
  • Water container

* Note: Don will supply & mix paint for all seminars. You Should bring your paints for additional mixing & painting of habitat. Your color selection should ALWAYS include: Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Mars Black, Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, Hooker's & Sap Green, Cad Yellow Medium, Cad Red medium. NEVER USE a color that has the word "Hue" in the description (i.e. Dioxin Purple Hue).

Habitat Class Tool & Supply List

This list is intended to be what you would need to do most of the work that I do on a regular basis. You don't have to have everything to attend a class. And in fact, until you see what I use, in some cases your better off waiting to see what tools are best for a job. Don will rent tools for $5 per day (does not apply to weekly classes).

  • Power rotary tool, i.e. Dremel, Foredom, or High Speed micro motor. All mandrels should fit tool.
  • Torch(Butane or small ox-acetylene) and a propane torch
  • Hobby scissors (prefer ARS Brand all purpose house hold scissors)
  • Dental Pics
  • Ceramic tiles for working & soldering on
  • Leather Gloves
  • Soldering iron (prefer 250 watt gun, available from Sears)
  • Cut off wheels with 1/8" or 3/32" mandrel (prefer Dremel #409)
  • Sanding disc & mandrel
  • Carbide burr bits (not kutzals), Flutes cutters, balls, various shapes & sizes.
  • Brass tubing, all sizes up to 1/4" & solid round stock including fine diameter .020".
  • Third hand (at least one; two is better)
  • Old Phone book
  • Alligator clips various sizes
  • Soft solder & compatible flux* as used in stain glass work
  • Silver solder & compatible flux*
  • 36 gauge copper foil sheeting (available from MDIWoodCarvers & the like)
  • Metal burnishers of various sizes
  • Small ball peen hammer like & anvil. Both with smooth to polished surfaces
  • Tarn-X Liquid Silver cleaner. Available at Wal-Mart.

*It is VERY important that when you use a solder that the proper flux be used for that solder. If you are using true silver solder that has a high silver content as used on jewelry making the flux MUST be compatible. If you have any question please contact me.

Tom Carving Don Carving Bob Guge Carving