Golf Ball Carving

The following text and photos were created for an article in Carving Magazine. It was published in the Spring edition of 2010 which was numbered Issue 29. If you are interested in having a copy of that issue, you can order one by going to http://www.carvingmagazine.com.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Tools for this project

Tools for this project

I use a carving glove that has rubber dots which ensure a good grip on the ball. I used a carving knife with a straight cutting edge.  #11-9mm and 7mm gouges.  A #5-7mm gouge.   #9-3mm and 6mm gouges.  A #3-2mm shallow gouge.  A 3mm V-Tool.

Depending on the project, I add or substitute other tools.

Step 1

Step 1

Step 1.  I always start with a center line.
I use a compass with a ballpoint pen.
Notice the lines to mark the top and bottom of the ear, also done with the compass.

Step 2

Step 2

Step 2.  The eye line is cut with a #11  9mm gouge.

Also remove material in front of the ears

Front view

Front view

Step 3

Step 3

Step 3.  Use a knife to cut above and below the ears. This process will be used several times for this project and I’ll refer to it as a shadow-cut.  The cut is perpendicular to the surface and extends back under the ball cover. The cover is not cut. The ear cut is about 1/16 of an inch deep and serves as a stop cut.  The relief or removal cut will produce a triangle shaped wedge with the inside of the cover forming the third side.  Sometimes all cuts meet and the wedge will come out with the blade.  The knife should never be used to pry the wedge loose. The tip could break off.  I have a 2mm shallow gouge that’s too small for carving but it’s great to remove material from shadow-cuts.

Step 3bStep 3c

Step 4

Step 4

Step 4.  Use a #11  4mm gouge on the forehead to define space for a little hair and the top of the eyebrows.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 5.  Use a #11  9mm gouge to establish the bottom of the nose.

Notice the shadow cuts below the ears.

Step 6

Step 6

Step 6.  Mark the width of the nose and use a knife to raise the wings.

Note the small space marked near the center line to reserve space for the septum.

Step 7

Step 7

Step 7.  Use the #11  4mm gouge to define the sides at the top of the nose.

Reserve space between the eyes for the bridge of the nose.

Step 8

Step 8

Step 8.  Using an inverted #5  7mm gouge, shape the wings of the nose. Use the first cut as a stop cut and the second cut to remove some of the cheek as the gouge meets the stop cut.

Use the #11  9mm to shape the nose above the wing.

Step 9

Step 9

Step 9. Use the #11  9mm to prepare the area for the eyes and reduce the cheek material.

The cheeks will continue to be shaped as adjacent areas are developed.

Use a knife to smooth the nose.

Don’t for get to reserve that space between the eyes.

Step 10

Step 10

Step 10.  Make a stop cut to form the outside mustache line from the corner of the nose wing.

Remove material from the face to make the mustache protrude.

Use the point of a knife to extend the wing line up onto the nose.

Remove a tiny sliver of material to create the shadow.

Step 11

Step 11

Step 11. Better view of previous step.

Step 12

Step 12

Step 12. Front view of Step 10.

Step 13

Step 13

Step 13. Use a knife to round the tops and bottom of the ears.

Use a #9  3mm micro tool to form the inside of the ear.

When using this tool, do not pry or twist. Straight in and out will do the job.

Use the 2mm shallow gouge to remove the material if it remains inside the ear.  This can also be considered a shadow-cut.

Leave space between the cuts for the small flap of skin that protects the opening of the ear.

Step 14

Step 14

Step 14.  Remove the ridges on the ears with small knife cuts.

Use the knife to make a stop cut behind the flap and remove the material with the 2mm gouge.

Step 15

Step 15

Step 15.  Begin the eyes with a 3mm v-tool making “S” shaped cuts that will form the top edges of the upper eyelids.

Trace the cuts with the point of a knife to make a stop cut.

Remove a slight bit of material above the lid to deepen the shadow.

Step 16

Step 16

Step 16.  Follow the first V-cuts with parallel cuts below to form the bottom edge of the upper lid.

Once again trace this cut with the point of a knife for a stop cut.

This time remove material below the stop cut.  This will begin to form the eye ball.

Step 17

Step 17

Step 17.  Use the same 3mm V-tool to establish the top of the lower lid.  Don’t make the cut connect with the outside end of the upper lid.   To remove the flat area on the eyeball, make a similar stop cut along the lower lid line.  Round the eyeball into the stop cut.  Remember to remove more in the corners of the eye to make the eyeball look like the surface of a ball.

Step 18

Step 18

Step 18.  Use the 3mm V-tool to add lower lid lines, bags, eyebrows and a little hair.  Use a knife to make a tiny shadow-cut at the top end of the hair.  This will also form the top of the head that has no hair.

Step 19

Step 19

Step 19.  To create an iris/pupil “suggestion”, I use the #9  3mm micro gouge.  Remember it’s fragile.  I usually have my heads looking to the side. I place the gouge on the eyeball so it touches, but doesn’t cut, the lids.  This will be a stop cut.  Straight in and straight out.  This is the first side of a three-sided chip.  The other two sides are made with the point of a knife inserted along the lid lies and meet at the corner.  I resort to my 2mm shallow gouge to remove the chip in pieces.

Step 20

Step 20

Step 20.  Draw the line for the lower edge of the mustache.

Step 21

Step 21

Step 21.  Cut a fairly deep stop cut angled slightly behind the front of the mustache.  Remove material below the mustache.  Leave a flat area in the center to provide for the lower lip.

Step 22

Step 22.

Step 22.  Use the #5  7mm gouge to open the mouth.  If the stop cut was deep enough, the chip will fall out.  Otherwise, repeat the cut.

Step 23

Step 23

Step 23.  Use the #11 4mm to shape the lower edge of the lip. Continue this cut to the stop cut at the mustache.

Step 24

Step 24

Step 24.  Using a knife, remove the sharp ridges and shape the lip.  Scoop out the area below the ends of the lip using a knife point that reaches the stop cut.  A similar cut would be made with the #5 gouge.  This is done to begin shaping the chin.

Step 25

Step 25

Step 25.  Continue rounding the chin between the ends of the mustache.

Step 26

Step 26

Step 26.  Considering the previous shadow-cuts were practice, you may choose to add a shadow-cut between the jowl and chin. This is a larger cut and is done with a single arch, not two stop cuts.  Work carefully.  Don’t use the knife to pry.

Step 27

Step 27

Step 27.  Add hairs in the mustache with the 3mm V-tool, making short random strokes. The hair that hangs over the mouth should have an uneven (nibbled) look.

Step 28

Step 28

Step 28.  I used a #9  6mm gouge to cut the nostrils.  I could have used the #5 gouge but, in this case, I liked the #9 better.  The important thing is to make both cuts symmetrical.  I use the V-tool to cut my initials and date in the back cover.

 

Here are some pictures of the finished carving.

Completed view 1 Completed view 2 Completed view 3 Completed view 4 Completed view 5 Completed view 6

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5 thoughts on “Golf Ball Carving

  1. Thank you for your help with carving golf balls. I am just starting and need all the help I can find. Do you have more article on carving golf balls?

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