Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / Tiki Carving

domins dungeon...

Pages: 1 2 67 replies

domin posted on Tue, Jul 21, 2009 6:25 PM

hi i just caught the tiki bug and was inspired to try some carving

this is a mini tiki i tried out one rainy day




the wood is staghorn sumac which is one of the few woods that is supposed to glow under a black light but i havent been able to check that out yet. its just 2 3/4" tall

this is the big guy i started chisling on last week

a hackberry log that i salvaged, 14" diameter 33" tall. its been down and cut for a couple months on the ground but not too badly cracked, just a bit of center cracking mostly just on 1 end and the other end ive chissled any i could see away

here is my scetch im trying to reproduce. the tenticle type head dress is supposed to twist in the back with maybe a couple tiki faces sticking out of the twists.

can anyone tell me which tiki this most resembles? ive looked for some info but ive not seen much. it would be nice if someone posibly started a thread with pics and names of each of the major tiki gods and perhaps a descrption of what design elements make each what it is or any symbolism that represents each god. ive found some mythology but no pics

i had an idea on which i thought this one was but after looking and reading more im just not sure anymore.

but anyway thanks for looking

[ Edited by: domin 2009-07-28 18:36 ]

[ Edited by: domin 2009-08-08 16:49 ]

[ Edited by: domin 2009-09-19 13:45 ]

[ Edited by: domin 2009-10-30 13:34 ]

[ Edited by: domin 2015-01-07 18:13 ]

[ Edited by: domin 2015-10-29 16:37 ]

Thanks for posting your work, and welcome to TC. What type of tools are you using?

Your big guy has some Hawaiian influences, like the mouth and eyes, but doesn't follow any particular style. If you're asking what it most resembles, I'd have to say a Ku. The best way to learn about the various tikis is plenty of research here, the Search function works pretty darn good. You could also visit posts from other carvers and see their work, and you'll find some carvers are more traditional than others. If you're not looking to do traditional tikis, "contemporary tikis" are fine too. As far as I'm concerned it's all open to interpretation. Damn the critics and create what needs to get out of your head, as long as you're enjoying yourself.

The little one is cleaver.

kool stuff,the big guy's look'n killer
ya off to a great start.Cheers Watango

the big guys looking pretty good. looking forward to seeing the finished tiki.



I agree with these guys and can add Excellent to the list. Looks like a Great log and you are definitely doing it Justice.
Nice Stuff!

domin posted on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 1:19 PM

thanks for the compliments guys.

as for what tools I'm using so far its just my 2 sets of chisels. 1 set for use with the mallet and 1 set for hand carving. and i have used a surform and a pocket plane a bit on the bottom to try and level it out, he rocks just a bit so i need to take a bit off the high spots.

and it's good to know someone with more experience with tikis thinks its a Ku since that's what i was actually going for. i wasn't trying to make it a replica exactly, but more of a modernized take on a classic idea.

very VERY nice indeed symetrical and deep plunges... you my friend will be a top carver and member


Nice! This guy is coming out strong.

domin posted on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 6:34 PM

just thought I would give an update of what ive been working on this week.

first up I'll show what I've been doing with the big Ku

I've been been procrastinating all week about getting the back of the tenticle headdress started, so I had'nt done much of anything but stare at him and contimplate just how they should fit in there, and finally got him to this point today. so next up i can work my way around to the body and finish up the rough in work.

so when i was'nt working on him, or staring, i started on a couple new ones

anouther stagorn sumac piece, this one from half a huge sumac log, about 3 inches wide, thats pretty good sized for sumac. just been working on him a few minutes here and there.

next up is one i started on a rainy day when i didnt want to carve on the Ku

a random mulbery log i went out and picked up while it was getting rained on and soaking wet, it had been laying there for about a year, but hey its mulberry and pretty rot resistant. just had to hack a bit of the most of the sapwood off. havent decided just where im going with the eyes or around the back yet, so we'll see


WOW! Nice chiseling work on the big Ku! The other piece get good too. Can you post some pics of your tools?


domin posted on Fri, Aug 7, 2009 1:48 PM

just got these pics that my friend finally got around to sending, these were from last Monday, I should get more tomorrow since I've gotten a bit more done since then. just want to document this one since its my first big carving, anything else I've done i could hold in 1 hand.

well maybe i could hold it with 1 hand , if I just..get er up like so and..ugh..
well maybe not, someone get this thing off me.

and i a pic of the tools I've been using.

mallet is a black locust log with a narrowed handle, the wood handled chisels I've had forever and I've got 1 other of them but don't know were at the moment. a 1", 3/4", and a 1/2", mostly just use the 1" for mallet carving and going back and smoothing up with the black craftsman set which has a 3/4", 1/2" and 1/4". I've used the surform on the ends a bit and the small trimming plane a bit as well.

you'll have to bear with me tho I don't have a camera of my own or a computer so i post from the local library, when i can get pics.

domin posted on Sat, Aug 8, 2009 4:48 PM

ok got more up to date pics today, so here goes

and one of the spalting at the ends

also thought id try out my best crazy al impression

blah needs work

Domin,way kool stuff youre doin,More More More keep them chips a fly'n.
Cheers Watango,


Your work turn very good! I'm impressed by what's you carve with some vintages chisels, since there are "no bad tools, just bad worker".

I like your mallet, he look very good!



Excellent stuff Domin, I find it hard to believe you are getting this excellent detail after only carving a few tiki's. The only advice I an addis to sharpen those chisels, being that dull and ragged-edged only makes carving that much more difficult. Again the search here will bring up Lots of info on sharpening. Keep up the good work and that's not a bad impression of the Crazy one, just a few bones tied to your beard and you will.......lol

Of course Benz is right. Sharpen those chisels! Believe it or not, but a sharp chisel is safer to use than a dull one!


yeah that big 1" chisel really does need those nicks polished out, but there is 1 nick at the corner that needs ground down about 1/8" to get it out. and it seems every time i try and sharpen it the good parts of the edge feel duller than before till i use it for about an hour or so and it starts feeling sharp again, go figure.

not really done alot to it this week, a couple days off and a pretty relaxed pace when i do sit at it. mostly I've just been deepening the segments on the parts of the tentacles i had done in the last pics, and smoothing them up and i finally did the ovals along the eye ridges.

so i must bee getting close all Ive got left is to finish up the tentacles the rest of the way down and around, a bit more smoothing of the body and face, add in the eyes and grooves under them, do the 3 faces in back and whatever design on the base, a couple tats on each shoulder, a buttload of sanding and, and, and. crap, i think I've just barely started.

domin posted on Fri, Aug 14, 2009 1:25 PM

oh just about forgot to ask about this.

the Ku is getting a little moldy here and there so was thinking i may have to see about hotboxing it for a day or so to try and kill it off and possibly any bugs it may still have, as well as dry it out some more.

the question is tho at what point i should do it? while im still in the carving process, or wait till its pretty much done and ready for sanding?

I would go ahead and do it now but I'm not sure if it's dry enough yet to handle the heat without cracking all to hell.

and for those who don't know what hotboxing is. you basically just put it in a container of sorts and let it sit in the sun to heat up, the back seat of a car with windows up would work or just make a small tent around it with black plastic so the sun doesn't hit it directly but only heats the air around it more evenly. and it can get pretty darned hot in there.

I haven't done this on a large log only small splits taken down in size to fast dry them

Nice work! This in one in-depth tiki. Lots of detail very nice.

got some nice details coming out on your big fella. looking good.



I don't think the hot box would be good if the log is that wet. I think I would make up a weak diluted bleack and water mix and spray the log with that.
The hot box would probably force any checks to open wide.


thanks again for the compliments guys.

and thanks for the tip benzart, I was wondering just how to deal with that.
no cracks that I've noticed down the sides yet and there wasn't much if any left on the bottom after chiseling a 1" deep circle out of the bottom, so wasn't looking forward to having it crack on my while still in progress. I don't mind if it cracks later but I'd rather not deal with having to carve around the cracks.

I may have to put him on hold for a few days, and work on a small drum i started last year. I was trying to get to sleep last night and something started making alot of noise up on my roof, I tried to make noise to scare it off but it kept on, so I went outside to investigate and a opossum had set up a nest under a tarp I have up there. well he aint there now so his skin may just be on this drum in a week or 2 as soon as I can get the insides thinned down and all smoothed up.

anyway here i am rambling on and on again, so till next time.

domin posted on Sat, Sep 12, 2009 3:49 PM

haven't gotten much more done to the big guy in the last few weeks but but ive got a couple others started, sorry no pics of those just yet but thought id share a little something of the first little one i showed.

i gues it does glow under a blacklight not real bright but it glows


Excellent new stuff.


domin posted on Sat, Sep 19, 2009 1:43 PM

ok just a quick update on the Ku
the face is pretty much done just some slight touch ups and sanding but still a ways to go around the back

here is the face as it is now

i did get a second face carved at least most of the way in around the back at the top but that was after my buddy took this pic a few days ago

Me thinks you have carved "other stuff" before the tikis shown here. If so, would love to see some pics of them. The big guy is coming along just swell. I love the black light active little tiki, as there's always room for UV active art.


Good looking carve! Looks strong and proud.


finally got some new pics today still needs some details on the Ku and ive got a few new ones started or maybe not new but at least havent shown yet.

and some new stuff

and this one is pretty much done just needs a couple more coats of poly

ive been busy winterizing the last few weeks so not much tiki time and will be the next few days at least but hope to get the Ku done soon

[ Edited by: domin 2009-10-28 11:54 ]

Wow....really cool and inspiring work! My hat is off.

amate posted on Wed, Oct 28, 2009 2:02 PM

Looks like you're a natural at this. Your tools are much like mine. I have a well worn mallet that is almost identical to that and a couple carpenters chisels. Keep it up.

amate posted on Wed, Oct 28, 2009 2:41 PM

I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression. Even though I use an old home-made mallet, I also rely on every tool at my disposal including power tools especially a dremel tool. The only specialized carving tool I have is a carving knife but I desperately hope Santa will bring a set of chisels.

Very nice! I like the originality and the combination of figures into one piece. Keep up the work and post often.

I really like your stuff. How long did he take?

Again nice work. way to hit it!


Amazing work on the big Ku! Also nice work on the spalted log...

Keep posting your good work!



Excellent bunch of tikis Domin! Count'em, 1 2 3 4and 5 or more?, all really good pieces....You are Sure making up for lost time here and I Really hope Santa brings you the tools you need to keep learning this stuff and Also some tool sharpening supplies.

Very kool Ku, Amate. Really like all of your twists and turns on the
Ku, and the others are nice too. You are doing GOOOOOOD work.

GROG posted on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 9:31 AM

Hory clap!! Dude got some skillz! Awesome KU. Good stuff. GROG like.


Fantastic! Great update. The Ku is awesome. What a nice statue that's going to be!


thanks for the compliments guys

Tiki-Finn, thanks and put your hat back on before you head gets cold.

amate, nothing beats free tools you can make yourself, tho its about time fore a new mallet this one has been used so much the layers are starting to peel away one at a time.

Tikilizard, thanks i wanted to challenge myself on my first big piece so threw in several difficult elements to make anything i do later on seem a bit easy in comparison.

SDshirtman, well the Ku has been in progress since mid July a week before i started the thread, altho my work method has been more like setting aside 2 hours a day to carve and sitting and staring while smoking cigarettes for an hour and a half and maybe getting a half hour of carving in. tho i did takes some time off here and there for other projects as well, and done very little to him this month.

seeksurf, thanks i hit it some much my arm kept getting tired, i think i need another cigarette.

laojia, thanks that little spalted one still needs more work i thought i would knock him out pretty quick but the peak of the log was off center to his face so straight on he looks weird and it would take more time than i was willing to put into him at that point, too many other projects.

Benzart, thanks and i do have some whetstones and a old piece of leather around somewhere for stropping, just no grinding wheel to take the nicks out of my 1" chisel, but i did go buy a 1 1/2" one and it was sorta sharp out of the box but it wasn't quite sharp enough so i got it where i could pretty well shave with it, uh, that is if i wanted to shave.

Congatiki, all those twists and turns where part of the challenge.

GROG, thanks and anyone with the brains to invent the wheel is ok in my book, or was it fire?

TheBigT, thanks and i hope he finishes up nicely, i will be doing all or hopefully only most of the sanding by hand i would like to get him polished down well to show off the spalting on him but not sure if my arm or my sandpaper will hold out, any tips on that would be welcome.

and i should add about the last one he is sumac like the little blacklight one i showed earlier but he was done in the round and had a pithy core that i hollowed out so he may be a hanger, a bit large for an amulet but maybe wind chimes or rear view mirror ornament. he is kind of a peace and love sorta tiki, so maybe i should call him dirty hippie. this from a guy who has long hair a shaggy beard and wears tie die tee shirts all the time.

Very nice carvings. I love the design,depth and detail! I think starting with flat chisels is an excellent way to start. They are inexpensive and can be purchased at just about any hardware store. It will also teach you the limitations of that tool. Can't wait to see what you can do with some gouges, "V" tools, skews.

As far as sharpening, are you flattening the back of the chisels? Not only do you need to sharpen the bevel, but you need to sharpen the flat side. Another reason they might feel dull after you sharpen is you might be rolling the edge as you sharpen. To eliminate rolling the edge I try to sharpen flat chisels and skews on the push stroke not the pull/draw. Just my two cents and what works for me.

WOW! nice work

domin posted on Wed, Jan 7, 2015 6:07 PM

been awhile but spent the last month and a half at my uncles in florida and been doing some carving so thought id update.
did this little guy my first week here almost done just some cleanup around the bottom around 14" or so high just guessing.

working on a palm lono about 3 foot tall should have the carve done next day or so then sanding and stain and finish got right at a week to get done before we head home. ill get pics of that one in next few days. pics a little big, guess i should have resized.


Is that wood pine

cy posted on Wed, Jan 7, 2015 8:33 PM

Very cool carvings domin!

amate posted on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 5:39 PM

Hey, I remember you. You're the guy with the homemade mallet. I finally retired mine and got a regulation factory made job. Love your latest effort. Hope to see more of your stuff!

domin posted on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 7:14 PM

the wood on that one i got from my uncles firewood pile. he said he thought oak. definitely not pine but not positive if oak or not

and yep first thing i did down here grabbed an ax and chopped out a handle for a mallet.

still have my big guy from earlier posts unfinished he got stuck in a corner and buried for the last few years with just a few spots to finish carving and sanding left to do. hope to get it done this spring.

5 days left to work on the lono carving almost done just some design work on the center post over the nose, should be maybe an hour or less tommorrow then start on sanding.

Just checked out your whole thread. Love your originality. The tentacle head is a sick design. Totally inspires me to reach out and smash boundaries. Your lines are clean and your work is super rad. Love it!

domin posted on Fri, Jan 9, 2015 5:54 PM

got the carving done on my lono today then photos just sanding stain and finish left.

my first time carving in palm, it was interesting. i was going to put them in rotation order but somehow all went in wrong. dont know how to make a looping video or id get 1 pic with it spinning.

Pages: 1 2 67 replies