Silverback Gorilla

Monday 9 July 2018

This time, I set my mind to creating something with a wild animal theme – for some time now, I have thought about carving a puma/black panther, with other possibilities being a rhinoceros and a gorilla.

The Gorilla Organisation have a campaign to create funds that can be used to give hope to the next generation of gorillas, and hopefully avoid their extinction. Inspired by this worthwhile crusade, I decided to have a go at carving the gorilla. I am also carving a larger version of this project with 100% of the raffle proceeds going to their appeal fund.

For those of you who have been to the recent woodworking shows at Yandles and WL West, you may have seen the work in progress on this.

Getting started

To illustrate this project, I have chosen a piece of lime (Tilia spp) 75 x 75 x 115mm. Transfer the side and front profile drawings onto your block, and whilst the block is still square, drill pilot holes for leg apertures from the front and side.

With a bandsaw or a fretsaw, cut away the surplus wood from around the outlines of the front and side profiles – for those of you who have not done this before, when you have cut away one outline, tape the pieces together so that you have a square, and then you can safely cut away the other profile.

Roughing out

Now, just rough out the shape of the gorilla's head and front legs (arms). At this stage, leave the limbs nice and chunky because they are very muscular and if you are not careful, it is easy to remove too much wood and leave them a bit thin.

Next, rough out the rear legs and the underbelly.


I used a pyrograph tool to carve the facial features and the hair, but it can also be achieved by the use of micro tools.

Finish off the detail of your carving and add acrylic colour if required.

Ground work

To finish off, I took some slate debris and shredded leaves with a view to adding them to the base on which the gorilla stands. First, I applied thin super glue to the base, added the leaves and then applied a topcoat of super glue. Job's a good 'un!