Feb 27


Still plugging away.


Skull #4 is finally done.


I normally make these out of Black Walnut. I decided to make this one out of Mahogany, and it came out great!










Also made some progress on the new skull screw type nutcracker.


Still a little rough, but getting there.








 The weather is supposed to be pretty mild so I plan on spending a lot of time out in the shop this week.


Stay tuned for updates.


—– Brandon




Feb 21


 It’s been a really nice weekend here in Ohio.


It was in the 60’s yesterday; I can get used to that!


Got out in the shop a little and made progress on the skull nutcrackers.


Here’s the screw type skull nutcracker I’m working on. Making something that doesn’t exist is always challenging because you always run into weird issues that take more time than you expect to figure out and overcome.




Skull screw type nutcracker



Here’s the more traditional style which isn’t giving me as much trouble. This is skull #4 of this type so I have most of the kinks worked out in regards to carving these. This one is almost done.


 Just waiting on clear coat. Didn’t have any in shop so I have to pick some up on my lunch break tomorrow. No worries, had plenty of other pieces to work on. That’s a good thing!




Traditional style skull nutcracker



Once these two are done I have a few more ideas and am hoping to get a few more cool pieces done and ready for the Nutcracker Collectors Club Convention in May.


 Yeah, I really need to figure out how to make clones of myself to help with all this carving and stuff.


Stay tuned!




Feb 07



Sometimes you just have to improvise.


I needed a dowel for the Skull Nutcracker I’m making, but didn’t have any Mahogany dowels. Plenty of others, but none mahogany.

Yeah, that toothpick isn’t mahogany either and just isn’t going to cut it.




I cut a chunk of Mahogany:






I took the rough edges off at the Disc Sander:




I chucked it in the Drill Press. Used a flat riffler file, sanding block, and sand paper to shape it:




Wallah! A dowel that will match the piece perfectly. Awesome!




This is a good example of the level of detail that goes into making the pieces I create.


Everything on this piece is hand made, even the dowel now.




Missing a Foot

Missing a Foot

Jan 31



This great piece came in from one of the Nutcracker Club members.


This piece had to wait till after the Holidays to come in for repairs because it was on display. The member cleverly hid the missing foot in the display’s snow.


Along with the missing left foot, the pin was sticking out the right side a bit so I removed it and reworked it a little to make it fit flush.


Here are a few pictures of the piece before the new foot (click on the pictures for a larger view):






Here are pictures of the piece with the new foot carved, stained, and painted to match the original:








He’s all fixed up and ready to be displayed with or without snow now.


An Addendum

An Addendum

Feb 21


Addendum to The Art & Character of Nutcrackers


It’s official, the Addendum to The Art & Character of Nutcrackers is available for purchase from the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum:

Click here to buy the Addendum to The Art & Character of Nutcrackers

Be sure to look for my original pieces featured on pages 106 and 110.

There’s also mention of me on page 5 for the repair work I did on a 16th century French piece for the museum a few years ago. Unfortunately, the publisher misspelled my name as “Benard Etto”. So here’s a link to the repair work that proves it’s me:

Completed 1500’s Nutcracker

Also if you don’t yet already have Arlene’s first book (The Art & Character of Nutcrackers) it’s available in the store as well.

I actually own 2 copies of each of these books. One is kept pristine while the other is used as reference. That way I don’t get all worried about having to take it out to the shop if I need to.

Arlene Wagner’s first book was a key element in getting me started in creating and repairing nutcrackers. Having my work featured in her new book is a huge honor for me. So if you get the chance, be sure to pick up a copy (or two). It’s a great book and a must have for any collector.


—- Brandon


Wings, wings, and more wings

Wings, wings, and more wings

Feb 01

It’s been a really cold and snowy weekend over here in Ohio.

It’s perfect weather to hunker down, fire up the heaters in the shop, and carve carve carve!

My wife and I team up to make what we call “Batwing Clocks”. I carve and attach bat wings to a traditional mantle clock, then my wife paints them in Halloween and Disney Haunted Mansion themes.

Here are a couple pictures of what goes into making these:

Bat Wing Clock

Bat wing drawn on Basswood and ready to be carved.


Bat Wing Clock

My creative clamping technique. Lots of rubber bands.


Bat Wing Clock

The wings are doweled and glued permanently in place. Gorilla glue foams as it dries.


Bat Wing Clock

My busy carving bench with more wings in process and other projects lying around.


Here are links to some of the clocks Missy has sold previously and one available now for purchase:


Haunted Mansion Themed Batwing Clock

Halloween Themed Batwing Clock

Halloween Moon and Owl Batwing Clock (avalable)


As always, thanks for looking!


—– Brandon