Allen Stichler – Wood Carving

Bespoke Ornamental Wood Carvings & Tree Sculpture

   Sep 02

A Grave Situation

Next to be tackled was the Medieval grave slab ~ probably the most simple of all the tree’s designs, with a flat surface engraved with a symmetrical cross. The time-consuming part was leveling the face of the slab across the curve of the tree trunk.


   Sep 02

Here’s the Boss

After the Viking brooch it was back a step to Saxon times, represented by the impressive shield boss found at Sheffield’s Hill.

The main form of the design with the three lines coming from the centre was simple enough, but the strange intricate patterns in each of the sections was trickier ~ not so much in the carving, but the drawing; there is no symmetry or obvious form to the design, as apparently it was a representation of various creatures split into a number of parts in a very abstract way.

Anyway, after much squinting at the photograph I think I reproduced it quite faithfully:



And now for something a bit different….

A big hello to Charlie from Catterick, who I missed when he visited the tree with his Nanna:

Hello Charlie! Thanks for looking at the tree, hope you like it!


   Aug 22

Viking Fidget Spinner

After the Roman helmet it was on to the Viking brooch, and not, as many children have exclaimed, “a fidget spinner!!”


Spot the difference: Top: Viking brooch ……bottom: Fidget spinner!

The only photos I could manage were like this blurred effort above, taken through the glass of the display cabinets, so when it came to drawing the design on the tree trunk I was struggling a bit. I think it took as long to draw on he knotwork as it did to carve it.


Those steel hoops must have been hammered in a long time ago ~ I quite like them, they tell a part of the story of the tree.

I changed my mind about rogue pieces of steel when this happened…


Hitting this small steel loop, buried in the wood with years of growth over it, my gouge stood no chance. Much gnashing of teeth ensued and I’ll have to get the gouge on the grinder to get rid of that notch. This happened whilst roughing out the area for the next item on the tree: the Saxon shield boss, found at Sheffield’s Hill, Lincolnshire.


There’s an Art Festival on at the museum this Bank Holiday weekend ~ it’s been an annual event for around 60 years ~ so I won’t be back until next Tuesday.


   Aug 21

Scunthorpe Telegraph Pay a Visit

A nice article on the sculpture in the Scunthorpe Telegraph:

   Aug 21

Friends, Roman Helmet and Countrymen…

A busy couple of days at the North Lincolnshire Museum in Scunthorpe, not only with the carving but also the incredible amount of people being interested in the carving and enjoying seeing the progress of the sculpture. Today alone (Tuesday) an amazing 129 visitors came for a chat, and that’s been the pattern for the week or so I’ve been there; how nice to have this amount of interest and appreciation, from all ages too.

I finished the Roman helmet, worked on some big areas between this and the Stone/Iron/Bronze Age pieces, and stripped the bark ready for the Vikings.


   Aug 20

Background Information

Usually with pieces like this I complete a lot of the main design before linking them together with some decorative elements, such as leaves etc, at the end ~ this time I thought it best to draw a line under the two areas on the front and side of the tree stump, and so worked on the background design before moving on to the Roman helmet.

I found some illustrations of archaeological finds, where the different layers of earth were shown as wavy lines with small shapes representing stones here and there, and adapted that idea for the Jurassic background.



The zig-zag pattern was used for the Stone, Iron and Bronze Age background, as it has been used as a style of decoration for as long as Man has embellished his home, weapons, utensils and vessels.

I’d earmarked a round area near the top of the stump for the next item, a Roman helmet.

A good start, more tomorrow!

   Aug 18

Back in Harness

Back at the Museum this morning, and the first task was to do a bit of faffing with the Stone Age axe; as usual, my opinion on the day’s carving altered once I had got home and studied photos, so I made a few notes and sketches and made a mental note to deal with that first. Sometimes you can get too wrapped up in something and not be able to see what should be staring you in the face; photos seem to help as they filter all distractions away and leave the important part, warts and all. I’ve done lots of carvings that seemed to me to be top drawer on the day, only to have my illusions shattered when I studied photos ~ leaving me desperate to alter the carving soon as possible so I could sleep soundly again!

After my corrective work for half an hour or so I got back on to the harness mount. I had originally envisaged this taking me up til mid afternoon but there was more to the design once I studied pictures, and all done at an awkward height  near the bottom of the tree.


I’m a bit undecided about whether to start on the Roman helmet tomorrow or to do the background work on the Jurassic pieces….stay tuned!

   Aug 15

Stone Age Carving

To compliment the Bronze Age axe, the pupils at Bushfield Road Infant School (Scunthorpe) had chosen a Stone Age axe-head to be carved on the tree stump; I adapted the idea at the last minute as I thought the axe-head alone would look a bit ambiguous (see photo) and may appear to be a giant floating triangle. I looked at the museum’s display and decided to use the example with a reconstructed handle. which balanced nicely with the Bronze Age axe below.

The “floating triangle” axe head…

And the display example


Once I’d worked on the Stone Age axe I altered the Bronze Age one, just narrowing the blade and the handle a little.

The next item was an Iron Age harness mount, a nice-looking symmetrical object found at Dragonby, North Lincolnshire.


I spent a bit of time leveling out the surface between the Jurassic carvings and these newer pieces; there are going to be some background patterns which will bring the carvings together and make each item look less isolated. Next job is to finish the harness mount though!


   Aug 13

Wood Axe

Managed to finish the Bronze Age axe today, in between dodging the showers and making dashes for cover. It was trickier than expected ~  although the raised area on the trunk was perfect for the axe shape, the grain was unpredictable and hard to work. Even the simple task of shaping the axe handle was time consuming, the background had me whinging, and my expected early finish didn’t materialise. It looks ok though, pretty much like the museum exhibit I think.


   Aug 11

End of the Jurassic Period

I managed to finish the starfish in good time today;  with the museum closing at 4pm on a Saturday I was pleased to be able to make a start on the Bronze Age axe before heading home.


There’ll be some background shapes linking all the objects together eventually, but I thought it best to work on the foreground designs first.

The Bronze Age axe (found at Scotter) in the museum:

I’ve reversed the axe so it fits nicely on to a raised area, utilising the shape of the tree.


There will be a Stone Age axe head on this side too, and an Iron Age harness mount (found at Dragonby).