Kickin' Up the Chips

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Kickin' Up the Chips

Carve a toy you’ll get a kick out of! David Sabol is a professional woodcarver and instructor who lives in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. A Caricature Carver of America member and frequent contributor to WCI, he carves a wide range of subjects, including human figures, animals, and flowers. Inspired by my bottle stopper collection, in which figures tip hats, drink, kiss, and even play musical instruments, my mule kicks up its hind legs and tosses its head back with the pull of a cord.

Kickin' Up the Chips

Since I like the look of Ozark-style caricatures, I gave this animal the appearance of having seen better days, although it's still feisty enough to kick up the chips. The mule consists of four components: head, ears, front legs joined to the main body, and hindquarters. Pieces of brass rod hold the various parts together, and lengths of string keep them articulated. I used white pine for all the parts, and a piece 1 1.4 in. thick will take care of the body and hindquarters while a 3.4-in.-thick piece of pine will accommodate the head and neck. I painted the mule with white, brown ochre, burnt umber, and black. For the base I used forest green. I prefer oil paints mixed with Minwax® Natural Stain because of how well they work on the freshly cut pine I use. However, acrylics thinned with water will do the job nicely if you prefer to use basswood.  

Kickin' Up the Chips

Materials List: Tools:

• Electric drill or flexible shaft tool

• 3.64-in., 1.16-in., 1.8-in. drill bits

• Roughout knife

• Detail knife

• The following Flexcut™ tools:

• No. 8 3.8-in. palm gouge

• No. 8 5.8-in. palm gouge

• No. 9 1.5 mm palm gouge

• No. 11 1.4-in. veiner

• No. 16 5.32-in. bent V tool


• 1.32-in. braided nylon string

• 3.64-in.-diameter brass rod

• wire cutters

• narrow-gauge wire

• Quick-setting epoxy

Finishing Materials: 

• Oil paints

• Minwax® Natural Stain

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