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1 Introduction

The Green Man is an ancient image and it's a privilege to create a design, another 'take' so to speak, and carve within this tradition. In this lesson I introduce our 'Green Man of Brunley' - Brunley is the old name for the village in which I live.

This carving is quite challenging but take it step by step and feel free to change and adapt the design as you go along. For subscribing members, below is my working drawing and tool list (as a pdf) of the Brunley Green Man.

Subscriber download: The Brunley Green Man (PDF)


| 09 April 2022 13:20

Hi Chris - Thanks a lot for that: I know exactly what height I'm going to hang it at, so I can probably get away with less.
All the best from Athens, where it's finally sunny!

| 09 April 2022 09:28

Michael - The other thing worth mentioning when it comes to undercutting is that you only need to do enough.
Look at your green man from the viewpoint you have in mind - perhaps move a bit around it too - and you might be surprised how little you need to take away to make the effect. You don't want to make the leaves unnecessarily thin, but you do want those shadows.
So a bit of a balancing act!

| 08 April 2022 16:06

Thanks, that's encouraging.
I've been using the post in a vice with a big carver's screw approach. For the Brunley GM, I just turned the post side on and put it into the vice backwards without a backing board on the carving (and a bit of the side of the post cut away to facilitate access): it worked fine, so I should be ok here, too. I'll try and take a photo of Mr Brunley for the Gallery--I think it's going to be a while before Mr Cut-Away is ready to show his face in public!

| 08 April 2022 16:00

Michael - I think the real problem with undercutting is simply getting at the work without back-straining contortions at the bench. Otherwise, the actual removing of wood is exactly the same as carving wood away anywhere else and not more difficult than the actual carving itself.
If you can mount your green man on one of those adjustable, swivel-ball carving jigs you can orientate the undercutting so it's easy to see what you are doing and carve away just like anywhere else.
It IS amazing the amount of undercutting work that's needed sometimes, certainly it can take longer than the rest of the carving (prior to undercutting). But you have to do it, even when it's not so interesting, because the final impact of undercutting can be huge and really make a piece sing.
Hope to see your green men in the Members Gallery!

| 07 April 2022 19:39

Hello Maestro Chris!
I so enjoyed carving my own Brunleyish green man last month, I've embarked on another green man, this one from your Elements of Woodcarving book (the one with the intense undercutting!!!).
He's bosted in and is looking pretty much as he should be, but I was wondering if there was anything on the site (apart from Herr Brunley) that might help me with the modelling stages, and with the frightening amount (and difficult-looking) undercutting. My oak chunk is the same width and height as it is in the book, but is only 3 inches thick, which might make things easier... or harder still. Many thanks for everything. Michael

| 30 October 2019 20:34

Jeff - I'd encourage you to have a go yourself! You have the pattern in the book and the techniques are less described than what you see here on our website.
Having said that, I will add another Green Man to our list of future videos.

| 04 December 2017 10:05

Susan - I do apologise for missing your question and being so late in replying.
I've carved oak, holly, ivy and several other leaves into green men, and without hesitation. We can never really get back to the mindset of the original carvers so I think we can only do our best at an interpretation. I think if you look carefully at pictures of them and use the feeling you get to inspire your own carving, you won't go far wrong.

| 24 October 2014 20:44

I would like to carve a green man. Can one use a different type of leaves? Ex. Oak leaves. Would this be taking away from its history?
Susan Musgrave

| 21 March 2014 12:48

Hello All,

This might be worth considering as a theory, explaining the orgin of the Green Man.


| 14 January 2014 16:21

Guy - Simple history. I made him up from all the other images in my head!

| 13 January 2014 11:53

Hi Chris, I'm about to start the green man, just a small one one lime wood. I'm just wondering what the history of this particular one is, thanks for the great tutorial, the downloadable drawing is a god sent :) have a good day. Guy

| 27 October 2013 11:18

Paul - I can't do that. Actually it's more that I won't!

Your question raises an important issue and gives me the opportunity to clarify something for others, so thanks for that. Here it is: I put out, and have put out, a lot of woodcarving instructional material in books, magazines, videos or video projects here on As a consequence it must seem that everything I carve falls under that banner; that every and any of my carvings can be freely copied. But that isn't so! The Rockport Green Man, as an example, is in the gallery on my own website; it's my own design and work as a carver/artist over which I have complete IPR and copyright. It is, and never was, intended to be part of my teaching work. So, this carving, and many others on my website, are NOT to be appropriated or copied by anyone else. However, you ARE free to carve other carvings that appear in an obvious 'educational' context: on Woodcarving, in my books, magazine articles etc. In fact I'm very happy that you do! (Though if they are displayed or entered into competitions I hope there is the courtesy of saying where the design came from. And selling is out of the question!) *** Paul - I'm sorry if these forceful statements seem directed at you - I do understand yours was an innocent question and of course I'm flattered that you want to carve my piece. I hope you see where I'm coming from as a carver and the need to protect my own work while wearing my other hat as a carving instructor. Finally, you'll have to wait a while but I will design a green man with something of the same feel for Woodcarving They get ever more popular! With best wishes. Chris

| 22 October 2013 13:54

Hi Chris
could you send me a working drawing of the rockport green man ?
Paul A. Pasquariello

| 09 January 2012 23:16

Well Chris, just to keep you posted, I started the Green Man project yesterday. I'm through (?) the 2nd bosting stage and will be moving on to the leaves soon, I hope, I tend to have several projects going at the same time so nothing gets my full attention from start to finish. I'm already starting to get a little frustrated with the cheeks, I always have a hard time with con-vexed surfaces.I'm sure I'll be posting many questions.
Thanks for a great project.

| 27 December 2011 21:28

Thanks for the video of the Green man, is was challening and alot of work, which I enjoyed .Everyboby likes it too. Thank you

| 28 October 2011 14:08

May I add my voice to John Sobol's and say that any ship/nautical carving lessons wood be greatly enjoyed; anything from what Chris may know of sea chest adornment or sailor's carving to structural adornment of the ship proper would be very interesting.

| 08 August 2011 21:00

It is possible that we might do that one day but I really think the future is in the internet and streaming, as we do here, and that cheaper devices will make that all the more available and CDs redundant (but let's not argue this here!). Bear in mind too that having CDs would take away from the exclusive acess you have to this site as a member, which also includes the open day invitation, conributing to re-planting, commenting and other things - including a huge library - we have in mind for the future...

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