Mask Carving
with Steve Brown

NW Coast Arts Series Level: Beginner


This class is an introduction to carving with traditional NW carving tools - adzes and curved knives. Steve will show you the techniques for efficient carving of sculptural forms using these tools. You can make the adzes and knives you'll need in Steve's tool making classes (see the Tools section below).

The class will focus on making a Nuu Chah Nulth (Nootkan) style mask from a fresh block of green alder. We'll be sourcing the blocks specially for the class and Steve will be rough shaping the blocks prior to the class.

Class Description

This five day class allows you a deep exploration of carving and decorative  techniques, combined with a good likelihood that you will complete the mask by the end of the week. You are not restrained to a Nuu Chah Nuulth style but that is a good starting point for beginning carvers.

  • History and overview of NW Mask Carving
  • Proportions and layout of Mask Designs
  • Preparation of carving blocks
  • Adze carving techniques
    • Hogging off material
    • Creating forms
    • Creating surface texture
  • Knife Carving Techniques
    • Creating surfaces
    • Carving details
    • Texturing surfaces
  • Traditional paints and decorative elements


At a minimum you will need to the following carving tools to participate in this class:

  • Straight edge elbow adze
  • Curved edge elbow adze
  • Curved traditional carving knife
  • Straight traditional carving knife

You can purchase these tool from various vendors or we offer you the opportunity to make the tools your self in classes with Steve Brown:

  • Making NW Style Carving Knives
  • Making NW Style Adzes 

If you do not have tools - we may have some loaner tools but please enquire before registration.

Carvers who already own tools are encouraged to bring their carving kit with them. The discussions and history of various tools are great fun.


This is a class for both beginning and experienced carvers. The small class size and duration of the class allow plenty of one-on-one time with Steve. Steve can push you to further develop your skills regardless of your current abilities.

We're expecting a number of skilled carvers to treat this class as a weeklong master class and celebration of NW Coast Arts. 

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day. Please note that 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

2013 Class:

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.

November 4-8, 2013 Mask Carving Register

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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.