The Fox


My oldest son is in the first grade and likes to read and dream about building robots. He’s never shown any interest in woodworking and I’ve never pushed it. I want him to pursue something he loves. Still, there is a part of me that hopes one of my two sons will take to woodworking. That little bit of desire can lead to the strangest projects. He once wanted a “time machine” so I made something that looked like a cockpit. He was disappointed that it didn’t work. I was disappointed that he was disappointed.

This time it’s a fox. He’s been reading the book Pax which inspired him to ask me to carve a fox. Of course, I said yes, but I don’t know how to carve. It doesn’t matter; I’ve committed to being a student this year—I plastered the word “learn” all over cyberspace which is like taking eternal vows—and I might as well add carving to the syllabus.

I stopped by Woodcraft and bought a chunk of basswood then came home and searched images of other fox carvings. So far, my thoughts have ranged from “This shouldn’t be a problem, just remove the wood that doesn’t belong to a fox.” to “What did I get myself into?”

I found an image of a bronze figure my son liked and printed it off. Then I imported the image into CorelDraw so I could create an outline and re-scale it to fit the piece of wood. Once I printed the outline for two sides of the carving, I took some carbon paper and traced them onto the block. Then I set it on my desk. He wanted to head to the garage and start chopping. I wanted to let it sit awhile so I can think it through.

I caught a glimpse of disappointment cross his face. I don’t think this is about a fox. He is going to teach me how to carve. And I’ll be a better father for letting him.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Cordell Roy says:

    Enjoyed your post. Reminded me of my relationship with my woodworking son. In college he had taken a part time job at a custom wood working shop. They had a high standard of construction, higher than mine at the time. He came home one day and announced that he was making a house full of furniture for his bride-to-be and asked if he could have the garage (where my shop was) for the next umpteen weeks. Of course I said sure and we began one of the coolest father and son projects I’ve ever heard of. He insisted doing most of the work but I could help. Lucky for me he brought a lot of his woodworking skills home. Lucky for me, two, I got to buy several new tools to help accomplish these tasks. Lucky for me, three, he turned me from a butt or dowel joint woodworker into a mortise and tenon guy. Maybe most lucky for us is that we learned how to really communicate with each other.. Much of that nicely-made furniture is still in use today. It was a wonderful experience. Learn from the fox.


  2. Todd Reid says:

    Make a small knife out of wood (pattern on Pinterest) and let him carve on out of soap. This is my Scoutmaster recommendation! I wish you luck.


  3. Start by doing some drawing and turn the picture you’re copying upside down. The biggest secret to drawing or modelling anything is to forget what you “think” an eye or a mouth or fox looks like.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s