River Mill Carving


Welcome to River Mill Carving. We are dedicated to promote the carving of shelf figures in wood. This type of carving is very convenient for indoor carving: very few tools are needed, small carving spaces are enough, no holding device is required, no dust is generated, and best of all: no sanding is required.

We publish books, give seminars and make presentations to teach this type of carving.

Our Books

Our instruction books are the basic tools we use to teach the carving of shelf figures. Music can be played by notation or by ear. Unless you have great artistic skills to carve "by ear", you will need to learn by following the instructions of a book. Soon you will have developed your own methods and will begin creating your own figures.

In addition, we provide supporting documentation for introducing new carvers into the carving of Shelf Figures and to teach the preparation of carving blanks. The documents can be downloaded from this website as PDF files. See the note at the end of this page.

The carving Blank

The first step to carve shelf figures is to prepare the blank. The blank is a piece of wood that you have to prepare from a wooden block following the instructions in the documents that can be downloaded from this website as we mentioned before.

Required Tools

The most important tools for the carving of shelf figures are the knives: a roughing knife and a detail knife. Carving with knives is spectacular, they fly over the figures removing wood like dancing in the air; if not, probably they aren't sharp. Sharpening is like tuning a musical instrument, there can not be good music when the instrument is not tuned.

Additional tools like palm size gouges and V-tools are necessary, but its use is sporadic. The following pictures show the probably set of tools that you would use, depending on the figure being carved. Similar tools can be used with good results. Needless to say, safety rules must always be followed when dealing with sharp tools.


Colors give life to the carved figures, so painting is almost an obligation once the carving is completed. Our instruction books teach how to paint the figures with acrylic paints. Painting experience is not required because the methods are simple. We teach how to antique the painted figures with linseed oil.

Ordering the Books

You can order our instruction books through the "For Sale" entry of the menu of this website. Follow the instructions of Paypal. The prices of the kits are in Canadian Dollars; Paypal will charge you in your local currency if you are outside Canada. Our prices are reasonable. We regularly add new books for sale. You can also order the blanks if you want to start carving immediately.

Note: An access code provided by our instruction books is required to download documents from this website free of charge.



© 2017 River Mill Carving