How It’s Done


My  “Head Start” begins with the carver ordering one of my E.C.O.s, R.O.s, or F.C.s.   This will save you time and energy and we will do the engineering and “grunt work” of selection of good quality basswood, making patterns and templates, lay-out and cut-out, gluing up large carving blocks, precision fitting all joints, drilling the pole hole which determines the stance of the animal, and removing much waste wood removal.  This saves from one-third to one-half or even more of the carver’s time and effort and enables him/her to reach the deadline or goal quicker.   Saved time will vary between the E.C.O. and R.O.

When you place your order, choices will be made of the size, type of figure (horse, giraffe, lion, tiger, sea monster, etc), catalog reference number,  shown in the Placing an Order form.  Because there are so many variables, the price will be quoted when your form is completed.

In building E.C.O.s, R.O.s, F.C.s, I follow the classic and time-tested techniques of the original carousel carvers as closely as I can.   It requires approximately 15, 30, 60, 80, and 105 board feet of good quality bass wood for the 24”, 30”, 36”, 55”, and 72” figures.   Figures over 24” are constructed with a hollow-box bodies.   Many boards and pieces are glued into large blocks, and then finally the assembly of these blocks into the total figure after shaping and carving them.  This makes for a stronger animal that will resist expansion-contraction of the wood and prevent splits and cracks,  and “live” much longer.   The E.C.O. (and R.O.) is usually delivered in large carving blocks of  head, neck, hollow-box body, legs, and tail.  In a 55-72” carousel E.C.O./R.O. the body block is 36-48” in length, 12” thick, and around 20” in height.  Carving individual blocks makes the carving task easier, and shipping is also more reasonable.  Your carousel carving project will be  both easier and quicker because you are using one of my E.C.O.s or R.O.s.

Certain steps, or stages, are used in preparing a E.C.O. or R.O.  They are as follows:

The ENHANCED CUT-OUT (E.C.O.) is mid-way between a simple cut-out and a Rough-Out (R.O.).  Much of the  basic work done for you with an E.C.O.:  pattern making, securing good quality basswood, lay-out and cut-out, gluing up carving blocks, drilling the pole hole, fitting all necessary dowel and mortise and tenon joints (head-to neck, neck to body, legs, tail, and rounding off much of the waste wood.  You will receive your E.C.O. in rough sanded form and immediately can begin to carve it.

 The E.C.O. is the best value for you and works well if you have little-to-moderate carving experience.

  • Good quality eyes are included and you will later set and glue them into the E.C.O.  head when it is fully carved.
  • Included are templates of the animal and trappings.
  • Also included are my collection of notes, templates and pictures showing the animal and trappings  to guide you through the process.   A number of good books on carving carousel figures are available and I can make recommendations if you request it.
  • I will consult with you before, during and after in your carousel carving project.  I offer coaching and consultation after the sale and as you complete your animal.
  • The E.C.O.  includes removal of waste wood and will amount to 1/3 of a saving to you of the preliminary work and enables you to begin carving at this stage.


A ROUGH-OUT (R.O.) is a step further.  The work steps of the E.C.O. package are included PLUS the removal of much more of the waste wood close to the outlines of the trappings.   Shaping of the mane and tail and other features are begun, and the purchasing carver will continue and carve them.

  • Glass eyes are dry set.
  • At the R.O. stage the carver has choice in how much of the animal is assembled, how many of the large carving blocks are glued together.    The body is usually glued into the large blocks for head, neck, body, legs, tail, and sometimes items for trappings.  Reasons for working multiple large blocks:  It is more reasonable to ship and easier to handle, carve and rough-sand  smaller blocks.  When you are ready, glue them together.
  • At this stage you will save approximately 1/2 the total time of the average of 500 hours on your figure.
  • A working  base may be included.
  • Carving notes and templates mentioned in the E.C.O. is included.
  • The R.O. will save you just over half of your total carving time.  A full sized figure usually takes around 500 hours.

FULLY CARVED (F.C.) is a fully carved and detailed animal.  This animal at this stage represents around 400 work hours.  The work of sanding and painting, and mounting the figure on a suitable base is left for you to do.  Various up-grades can even cover some of the remaining work such as a suitable base.

  • The F.C. includes all of the work in the E.C.O. and R.O. stages as well as fully carved trappings and details, such as hooves, tail, mane, forelocks, and other details on the trappings that are on the original animal.
  • Animal is fully assembled and glued together
  • Glass eyes are set
  • The animal is fully sanded leaving only light sanding and  painting to do.  At this stage around 400 hours will be saved for you.
  • A show base of good hard wood is included, and the iron pipe and flange is included on this animal
  • Upgrades are possible at the time of the order, such as bit, stirrups, etc.  Brass pipe, glass rein stones are left to purchaser.

Whether you have a minimum of carving experience or are an experienced carver, or are working against a deadline, survey the catalog and choose your animal(s).   I know a number will grab your attention and generate enthusiasm.   Applying your enthusiasm and determination and using one of my E.C.O.s or R.O.s will bring your dream carousel animal to life!    You’ve thought and dreamed about it.  Now is the time to get started!

It would be excellent if you could arrange to spend some hours with me in my shop working on your ECO or RO or FC.   A minimum of tools needed are a sturdy work table or carving bench, clamps, basic carving knives and some carving chisels.  A number of power tools will make the job easier, such as the electric motor with shaft and hand piece to handle various useful burrs.  Other wood working and carving tools will also be helpful.  Some carousel figures are successfully carved with a minimum of tools.

Contact me via e-mail or telephone or postal mail with your questions and to place an order.   Your order is a custom one-of-a-kind one.  I promise you a quality product for a fair price, and for support before, during and after you begin your carousel carving project.