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Minnesota Hobbies: Using an Electric Rotary Tool on Black Walnuts

Updated on November 9, 2016
firstcookbooklady profile image

Char is a writer who has written for the Freelance Writers International, Yahoo, Constant Content, Squidoo and now Hubpages.

Caricature Carving on Black Walnuts

A not so in depth look at how I carve faces onto black walnuts. · Divide the face into sections.

I used some dried walnuts. Some people prefer to carve on green walnuts. I will have to try that next fall when I have some. Right now, I have dried, black ones.

First, imagine a vertical line down the center of the face. and a horizontal line across the center of the face. The upper and lower sections of the face need to be divided in half, also.

The nose is first, then the eyes, then the mouth. Then the eye brows and ear placement, if you decide you want ears. Some facial caricatures do not have ears. It is okay to not include which features you choose not to.

Have fun with your carving. If something changes your perspective, go with the flow.

As they say in the carving circles, 'find the face and carve away what isn't'...

it works.

Look your nut over.

I look it over and find a spot that looks like a nose. I start making it into a nose. I use a longer, flattened bit and use the side of it to shape the side of the nose.

I turn the nut sideways and find the bottom of the nose, where the nostrils will be. I cut and cut until the nose is definitely a nose.

I turn the nut and find the eye brows. Scrape across the face and flatten out an area for the eyes.

Turn the nut and do the cheeks.

Round out the area

Then, I go under the nose and smooth out the lips.

Find the ears.

The natural curves of the walnut look like hair if you leave them, so, just leave it shaggy.


Rotary Tool Use

When I carve a face, I find the middle of the nut and proceed to carve a nose. Then, I hollow out for the eyes. I then find a spot for the mouth area and then, do the eyebrow area. I simply carve away what is not supposed to be there.

Note: When you carve on a black walnut, you have only a certain thickness and then, there is a hole to deal with. This takes trial and error to figure it out. Do not despair. Any attempt to carve a caricature is a good attempt.

When you use a rotary tool, it is helpful to use the bit that is long and narrow. You can choose which bit works best for you, but mine is long and narrow.


This WALNUT is turned SIDEWAYS

What I mean by that is that the seam of the walnut, is behind the ears and goes up over the top of the head.

the ROTARY tool...


The Walnut

find a side that has a ridge..

this is your nose...

and BEGIN...

The Jig...

you need a clamp to hold your walnut steady as you carve it.

I am using a wood clamp from the bottom of a yarn winder.

Do not try to carve the nut while holding it in your hand.

NOT a good idea..

SAFETY first!!!!

The Face....

it emerges from the side of the nut...

YOUR job is to find it...

Black Walnut Trees...

walnuts, walnuts, everywhere....

How About You

Have you ever carved caricatures on black walnuts

See results

Similar but Different - Peach Pits

Another Interesting Idea

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    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Cute! I love this kind of natural craft!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      enjoyed my visit here, thank you.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      Faces on a walnut, who'd a thunk it. I think carving things this small a labor of love. Nicely done!

    • EMangl profile image


      7 years ago

      cute hobby - would be nice to see some more photos

    • ellagis profile image


      7 years ago

      A friend of mine loves to take pictures of things looking like faces, he would love your lens as much as I do!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I could see this being adapted to be a Halloween lens. These little guys could look spooky scary!

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      This is seriously interesting, I loved the little fella you carved on the previous lens I visited... very sweet!


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