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Carving pictureWith its large forest resources, the Upper Great Lakes area offers some of the most popular wood around for carvers. Maple, a very heavy, dense wood, is often used to make furniture such as tables and dressers. Some Bird's eye maple picturepeople also use this kind of wood to sculpt out guitars and violins.

A unique kind of maple called bird's eye is highly prized by wood carvers because of its beauty and color. Local woodcarvers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan use it to create everything from oil lamps and mirror frames to jewelry boxes and chairs. Bird's eye is created by a fungus under the bark of a tree which makes tiny depressions in the wood.

Totem pole pictureIn many parts of the country, wood carvers use large logs to create totem poles. Carved in the shape of fish, birds, or animals, totem poles symbolize various aspects of Native American life. More recently, people have taken up carving using a chainsaw. These pieces are surprisingly delicate.

Still another wood carving activity involves making boats or boat masts. In some native cultures, canoes were created by hollowing out large logs and Making a dugout canoecreating an opening along one side for people to get into. Other cultures, especially those in the Great Lakes area, created canoe frames out of white cedar and ash trees. These were then covered with strips of birch bark sewn together with black spruce roots. To make them watertight, they were cover with sticky pine sap.

canoe making picturesTo find out more about the many kinds of wood carving activities that exist, check out the following links. Remember, wood carving uses sharp tools and can be dangerous. Be sure that you have an adult to help you out before starting a carving project.

Wood Carving FAQs for Woodworking Wannabes

Sculpter.Org: Wood Carving Resources

The Construction of a Birch Bark Canoe