Simple Seahorse Sculpture

Monday 9 July 2018

The seahorse project came about from the need to find a use for a quantity of offcuts, and shouldn’t take more than 4-6 hours, depending on the size you opt for. The design is that of a standard seahorse, but I have given mine a normal horse head.

The piece illustrated here is 255 x 100mm (10 x 4in) and can be carved as a free standing in the round sculpture, or the base can be cut away with just the front face carved to make a very attractive wall plaque. Whichever you choose, the method for carving both is the same.

Getting started

Transfer the design to your chosen piece of timber and cut around the outline with a bandsaw, fret saw or coping saw. I found it easier to cut all round the outline first and then do all the small in cuts last. The area between the head and the neck is reasonably easy with a saw but if you have scaled your design down, you may find it easier to drill this bit out.

When you have your profile, transfer the design to the rear and reduce the thickness in the stomach and dorsal fin areas by about a third front and back, and by about a quarter front and back on the neck and tail. You will need to redraw the horizontal lines at this stage but if you are carving the seahorse as a wall plaque relief, you only need to do this on the front edge with an undercut at the rear. The horizontal lines across the body are a simple cut with a V-tool or two cuts with a knife.

The head is carved with gouges or knives, and the whole piece can then be sanded or cleaned up with scrapers, however, I find that the tool marks on the body with just the head smooth gives a pleasant effect.

Finally, finish with oil.