Saturday, February 16, 2008

Woodcarving - Cottonwood Bark Woodspirit

Cottonwood bark woodspirit.Here's a picture of a woodspirit I carved out of cottonwood bark. I feel like this one came out pretty well. The composition is good, the finish came out well, and the contrast between the inner bark and outer bark is very pleasing.

Cottonwood bark is an incredibly enjoyable material to carve. It's like carving thousands of sheets of compressed newspaper. You still want sharp tools but the it's much easier on my hands. I purchase my cottonwood bark from a gentleman in Montana. The western bark is usually thicker and comes in larger pieces.

This piece was old through Turning Leaf Wood Art Gallery in Blue Ridge, GA. The books I have listed below have some good examples of cottonwood bark carving.


  1. Iam a novice carver and have just gotten interested in carving cottonwood bark. I now live in Mich. but I did live in nebr. for many years. When I was out there last year I found an article on the largest cottonwood tree in the nation that was knocked down by wind or lighting. Anyway I called the people and asked them if I could harvest some of the bark. Anyway they said yes so this year I went out there. You should have seen this tree I think the circum. of the tree was like 36ft. it was just amazing. Anyway I got some really good thick bark from the tree and plan on going back in the fall to get some more. I really want to carve them something special for letting me have the bark. What I need is a good reference book on power carving cottonwood bark to help me get started on this gift for them. I have the book called carving tree bark by Rick Jensen and Jack A Williams. Great stuff if I could do a whimsey house like they do it would be great. My only problem is I never have used power tools on anything and I would like to learn. Any suggestions on books etc. would be a great help to me. Please email me with some info. on this subject would be greatly appreceaited. Thanks, Jim Stiver

  2. Hey james, check out my site and let me know if you have any questions. Also check out my videos on bark carving, Giving Life to Wood II.