Carving Viking Dragon Heads
with Jay Haavik

Dragon's Heads by Jay Haavik

Carving Series Level: Level II


In 1904, Five “dragon like” animal head posts were excavated from the Oseberg ship excavation in Norway. Dating from 800 AD, these exquisite carvings with their bared teeth, long necks and elaborate relief carving, are among the highest level of art and woodcarving. 
In this intensive 5 day workshop with Jay Haavik,  you will begin the carving of one of these animal head posts on a scale slightly smaller than the originals. You will form the basic shape of the neck, head, ears and eyes of the animal head and practice the various kinds of  “diamond cuts” found on the head and neck of the animal head post so that you can complete the carving at home.

Class Description

Activites to be undertaken in the class:
  • Image presentation on Viking art and wood carvings from Oseberg ship
  • Forming and refining the shape of the animal head post
  • Practicing the many various types of “diamond cuts” 
  • Proper sharpening for gouges and knives
  • Practice “bottoming” techniques
  • Image presentation on the making of the “new” Saga Oseberg Ship
  • Image presentation on stave church (stavkirke) carvings excavation found on the Oseberg ship and its finds
Basswood for the animal head post will be provided as well as wood for practicing “diamond” cuts


Students are required to bring a wide variety of gouges and chisels, including:
  • Some #2,#3,#5,and #7 sweep gouges, in widths ranging from 8-25mm
    NOTE: The instructor will have some gouges and chisels to borrow
  • Straight knife
  • Leather strop
  • Pencils, .05 mechanical pencil with 2B &2H lead
  • White eraser
  • Mallet
  • Ruler
  • Personal hand sharpening stones
  • Bench clamps (especially hand screw wood clamps) for holding carving to bench
  • Bottoming tools (optional)
  • Low angle plane (optional)
  • Spoke shave (optional)
  • Carving vise (optional)
If you have questions about tools and equipment please contact Jay at


Some previous wood carving experience is highly recommended. Beginners will make slow progress working with a 3 dimensional shape and will need to spend more time practicing the various types of “diamond cuts” and bottom methods.

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day. Note: this class takes place in Building 306 at Fort Worden.

Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.

Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $750
Materials Charge: $45

2014 Classes:

When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.

October 13 - 17, 2014  
Viking Era Carving



If you'd like to ask questions - please feel free to contact  us - (360) 344-4455 or by email.


About the School
 Location & Lodging
     Our organization
     Vocational option

Woodworking Programs

2014 Woodworking Class Schedule

What others say about us

Stay Connected
   Email us
   Join our email List
   Join us on Google+
   Support the School


Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades Copyright © 2007-2014. All rights reserved.

200 Battery Way | Fort Worden | Port Townsend, WA 98368 | (360) 344-4455 | email

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit. Any donations made to the School are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.