Whittling in the (Virtual) Woods

Bring your favorite forest or woodland background and join us on June 7th at 5PM Pacific Time for “Whittling in the (virtual) Woods” to benefit TREE Fund at the WCISA 87th Annual Conference – Far Out Arboriculture.

Your WCISA TREE Fund Committee Chair – Alison Lancaster – and guest host Lou Cifuentes from Street Tree Revival will show you whittling safety and basic techniques and walk you through a few whittling projects.

You should have received three wood pieces in your conference attendee “swag”box. These pieces are cut from urban lumber, designed and laser engraved, and generously provided by Street Tree Revival. Please enjoy using these wood pieces throughout the conference to complete the recommended whittling projects below, or to create your own designs.


TREE Fund Direct Donation

The “Whittling in the (virtual) Woods” event is an open event that anyone can attend – but the goal of the event is to raise awareness for, and encourage donations to, TREE Fund. For more information about TREE Fund’s mission and programs, please visit treefund.org.

It is our hope that if you enjoy this whittling information or the event, you’ll show your appreciation by making a direct donation to TREE Fund.

AmazonSmile Instructions

We encourage you to use AmazonSmile to purchase your whittling equipment for additional contribution to TREE Fund by doing the following:

  1. From your Desktop or Mobile web browser, visit smile.amazon.com.
  2. Sign in with your regular amazon.com credentials.
  3. Follow the prompts and choose “TREE Fund – Tree Research & Education Endowment Fund” as your charity.
  4. To use AmazonSmile, make sure to shop from smile.amazon.com on your Desktop web browser, OR

Turn on the AmazonSmile feature on your Amazon shopping app by going to settings in the app’s menu and selecting AmazonSmile.


Whittling is a minimalist hobby that only requires two items: wood and a knife.

The knife doesn’t need to be fancy – even a pocketknife will do. However, for safety as well as versatility, it is highly recommended to use a knife with a fixed, straight blade.

It is also highly recommended that carvers use PPE such as a cut resistant glove or thumb/finger guards for their non-knife hand, and that they always have a first aid kit nearby.

The following is recommended equipment to get you started:

Morakniv 122 Wood Carving Knife

NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves

Thumb and Finger Guard (you’ll have to get the size that’s right for you)

Basic First Aid Kit

Please make sure to use Amazon Smile (see above) to ensure proceeds from your equipment purchases are donated to TREE Fund.


BEFORE you begin, please watch this video on whittling safety from Doug Linker (a well-known and loved whittler and carver).


Please watch the same video from Doug Linker for a demonstration of some basic whittling techniques.

We’ve provided a blank strip of shamel ash (Fraxinus uhdei) in your box so you can practice your push cut, paring cut, stop cut, and V cut.

Note: Skip to 5:08 in the video to see the techniques demonstration.


The following are some recommended whittling projects. The videos are from the project designers and all credit goes to them – but we have renamed the projects to fit the conference theme.

Redwood Tree Bookmark

Use the shamel ash bookmark that’s been designed and laser engraved by John Dominguez “JD” at Street Tree Revival. Practice relief carving to outline the tree, or practice your stop cuts and V cuts to create a tree-shaped edge. Or don’t do any whittling at all and just enjoy your urban wood bookmark. This one is up to you!

Far Out Star

Use the provided 2x2x2” cube of shamel ash

This video is the same as used for safety and techniques; the project is shown at the end. Note: Skip to 12:02 in the video to see the project demonstration.

Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)

Use a green stick from your own yard – recommend 1-2” diameter

This “Zen Whittling” video doesn’t have any talking, so enjoy the scenery and sounds, or skip through the video to see the project and completed piece.

Western Screech Owl Bookmark

Use a green stick from your own yard – recommend approx. 1” diameter

Follow the instructions in this video for quartering and whittling your stick into an adorable owl that perches on your book.

Whether you join us for “Whittling in the (virtual) Woods”, or enjoy these projects on your own during the conference, we hope that you’ll show your appreciation by choosing to “support the science that supports trees” and make a donation to TREE Fund.

Special Thank You to:

West Coast Arborists/Street Tree Revival

  • Andy Trotter
  • John Mahoney
  • Lou Cifuentes
  • John Dominguez
  • Christine McCarthy

WCISA TREE Fund Committee

  • Rose Epperson
  • Kevin Eckert
  • Alison Lancaster


  • Monika Otting