My tools and carvings Pacific Northwest Canada

  • Good day: I stopped using gouges maybe 5-7 years ago. I now carve with the tools common to the Pacific Northwest First Nations.

    These be crooked knives and adzes. Mostly western red cedar, some yellow cedar and birch. Copper and abalone shell inlay.

    I.will add more in time.

  • Hello Brian,

    We haven't heard from you in a long time.

    Nice that you are reporting again. You were hard-working now. Your tool is interesting. Do you make it yourself?

    Unfortunately Jakob can no longer communicate on this website. He was blocked after a dispute with the website provider.

    Let me hear from you again.



    Hallo Brian,

    wir haben lange nichts mehr von dir gehört.

    Schön, dass du dich wieder einmal meldest. Du warst inzwischen fleißig. Dein Werkzeug ist interessant. Stellst du es selbst her?

    Leider kann Jakob nicht mehr auf dieser Webseite komunizieren. Er wurde nach einer Auseinandersetzung mit dem Webseitengeber gesperrt.

    Laß wieder von dir hören.



  • Hello Berkow,

    Thank you, I have been very sick and recovering interest in carving again.

    I buy the steel blades for the elbow adze, the D-adze and all the crooked knives.

    I make all the handles and fix the blades.

    There are several very good blade smiths in the Pacific Northwest, both in USA and in Canada/BC.

    These are 2 examples:

    I wanted to learn about the kinds of wood carving tools used by the First Nations here.

    The best start is to make some carving tools. Make the handles the right size to fit my hands.

    Then do carvings with the influence of the art and carvings which we see every day here.

  • I found a missing picture folder!

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, there are three different kinds of poles

    1. Totem poles. They tell your family heritage. Read from the bottom up, that pole stands

    in front of your house and faces the water for all to see.

    2. Mortuary poles. That is like a grave stone and tells who you were in life.

    3. Story poles. Anybody can carve these. They tell of an adventure or history.

    Mine show the life if different animals. Not finishes. One show the life of a frog from egg to adult.

    Another pair show the life of a butterfly, from eggs to caterpillars to cocoon to adult.

    The butterfly poles are 13 cm x 13 cm x 160 cm western red cedar.

    As you can see, carving the caterpillars is very tedious. Will do all the eggs at the bottom, next.

  • Brian,

    It is very interesting what you report.

    Can you send photos of the other poles too?

    I would be interested.

    I see you're at the very beginning of carving the pole.

    I'm curious to see how it looks when carved.

    Now I have no perception.




    Es ist sehr interessant, was du berichtest.

    Kannst du auch Fotos von den anderen Stangen senden?

    Ich wäre interessiert.

    Ich sehe,du stehen ganz am Anfang des Schnitzens der Stange.

    Ich bin gespannt, wie es nach dem Schnitzen aussieht.

    Jetzt habe ich keine Wahrnehmung. (Vorstellung)

    Schöne Grüße


  • Poles you always read from the bottom to the top.

    The figure at the bottom must have the strength to hold up everybody else.

    The butterfly poles will begin at the bottom with eggs then lots of very small caterpillars.

    Then the caterpillars grow but there are fewer of them.

    Near the top will be the silk cocoon on the back side. Then the butterfly top, front.

    The frog pole is quite short, less than 60 cm I recall.

    This carving bench has a shelf below which moves up and down so I can work on the tops of carvings.

  • Danke. Is how you say it? Thank you. I make my own carving benches for the wood shapes that I use.

    A big wood working bench is a table like many others. Mine for small story poles are very different.

    My grandmother predicted that I would carve what I see in the wood. It happens. I never know what it will be.

    The butterfly story poles had no names until one day, I saw what to carve.

    Very nice wood costs very little here so I can buy a lot of it just to pile up in case I see something.

    I will show you a big turtle soon. I looked at the wood for 2+ years before I saw the turtle within it.

  • Just came across this post from you, Brian!

    How great, that you use the tools (and build them!) that the First Nation people used as well! It's very interesting, because here in Germany basically all people use the same kind of gauges and knives, so I rarely thought how it could be done otherwise!

    Nowadays so many things can be produced by machines in overwhelming numbers, so for me, wood carving is strongly connected to times where things were produced by hand. Things that took time. And with tools and techniques that were passed on to the next generation. So when I carve, I don't just want to see a nice result, but I enjoy the process and I enjoy using tools, that people in Germany alread used 100 years ago and continue a craft-art-work that tells stories of previous eras.

    Therefore, I really like that different regions have different tools and traditions! And while I prefer to stick to the Mid-European / German tools, it's great to see that people in other countries have their own tools that they continue to use!