I have recently embarked on wood sculpture.


This is something that has been in my mind for some time, and now that I have more time to spend on it, there was the opportunity to start. I've been motivated by my colleague Frans Hilgers who has been sculpting for many years with stone and more lately wood in Overveen, Holland. Like myself Frans is trained in head and neck surgery, and he made me realise that with our surgical training of thinking 3-dimensionally, its a natural art form for us.


The first stage was to clean up my workshop, and get some new tools. My dear wife was kind enough to move her car into the carport to allow me more space.


I had some very good advice from Blair Logan, regarding the Arbortech range of wood sculpting tools, and I found some promising woods at the Timber Recycling centre in Taupo.


Opus one is the female bust “Deborah” named after the model done in Western Australian Jarrah. This is quite a hard wood and makes everything red but the result is attractive. I photographed the stages of the work as it progressed. I was surprised that it actually took on the correct form in the end!


Opus two is a replica (much smaller of course) of the Moai, found on Easter Island. These odd looking figures are all almost the same, and that caught my imagination, having been done more than a thousand years ago on this very remote island, and generally they are imbued with mystery. This was done in New Zealand Rimu.

“My workshop is almost complete to be called a studio“.

Stages in sculpting Deborah, alternatively titled the "Suprasternal Notch” made famous in the English Patient by Ralph Fines and Kristen Scott-Thomas. I think I was captivated by this anatomy after spending 40 years operating in the area.


OPUS 1: "Deborah" in Jarrah

Opus 1: “Suprasternal notch”  Reworked

The re-worked version of my first piece; Opus #1.

Figure in Jarrah, 370X140mm, finished in Danish oil, mounted in Rimu base.

This was a study of the suprasternal notch anatomy, but finally resulted in the whole trunk.


Opus 2: “Moai" in Rimu


Reconfigured Opus 2. - Moai


Recently I reconfigured my sculpture of a Moai. This was done in a solid piece of Rimu 800X200 mm.
This was to alter the nose and mouth and improve the base of the figure. The features are now more typical of the originals in Easter Island


Opus 3: “Suprasternal notch” #2

Bust in Kauri recycled wood. The wood needed some repair in the shoulders. This was done with the use of wood filings and glue. This required some disguise so I decided to use a tinted varnish. I mounted it on a base of Rimu.

Opus 4: Figure in Rimu

Title:  Derrière

Opus 5: Figurine in NZ Kauri. Base of Rimu.

Title:  A further study in the anatomy of the suprasternal notch.


Opus 6: Figure figure carved from a Totara post.

Finished in Dryden wood oil.

Totara posts have been used traditionally in New Zealand as fence posts and last more than 100 years in the ground.


Opus 7: Abstract figure in Kauri, base of Rimu.


Dimensions: 500mm X 200mm


Opus 8: Figure sculpted in NZ Kauri. Base of Rimu.

Finished in several layers of Danish oil with sanding in between with fine grit.

Dimensions: 539mm X 230mm


Opus 9: Geometrical figure in Rimu

Finished in Danish oil.

Dimensions: 450X130 mm

Opus 10: Abstract figure in Totara.

Before and After Finishing with Drydan oil.

Dimensions: 955X125 mm


Opus 11: Figure carved in Totara.

Finished in Drydan oil.

Dimensions: 930X150 mm


Opus 12: Figure carved in Kauri.

Latest sculpture done in NZ Kauri- meant to complement opus 8, seen here at left.

Dimensions: 600 x 200mm

Unfortunately this piece of Kauri that was recycled from a demolition had multiple nails that had stained the wood. For this reason I used Dryden oil with a tint to try to hide the blemishes. It will be an outside item, as it’s only been partially successful!


Opus 13: Figure carved in Totara.


Recycled wood requiring some repairs

Finished in Dryden oil

900mX 60mm


Opus 14:  Abstract figure done in NZ Kauri 430X200 mm.

Finished in tung oil blend Set in base of Rimu

Opus 15: “The dive” figure sculpted in Totara

Recycled from building demolitions. 
Dimensions: 800X170mm
Base of Rimu. Finished in a tung oil blend.


Opus 16: Abstract figure in NZ Kauri

Dimensions: 420X200mm

Finished in Danish oil, in a base of Rimu.
Front and back


Opus 17:  Abstract figure in Cryptomeria (Japanese red Cedar) or “Sugi” in Japanese.


 360X190 mm - Finished in Danish Oil

Opus 18: Totara

Finished in Dryden oil.

Dimensions: 1000X110 mm

Opus 19: “Faniciulla del bosco” - wood maiden.

Figure in Cryptomeria (Japanese red cedar)
Dimensions: 1360mm X 400mm
Finished in Danish oil - base in Dryden oil.