Whoa! I really got into the wood carving this weekend. In fact I kind of over did it. I think I spent two eight hour plus days doing nothing but carving a Santa. It is like a big cookie, high relief in a small 4 x 6 x ¾ inch slab of Basswood. My arms (not so much my hands) are telling me that was a bit much for just getting started. I think that means I am using the correct arm muscles and not just my hands.
Only a few drops of blood were shed when the very sharp knife point (like a pin prick) touched the back of my left middle finger. That doesn’t count so no real cuts! I have done the same or worse with a #11 X-acto blade building model airplanes.
I spent a lot of that time honing the bench knife and trying to get every tool extremely sharp. That is the secret to easy carving.
The project looks very good IMHO. A little more clean up and I will be finished with this first carving. Then I have to paint.
I like the totally free creativity in carving, so this is already habit forming. There are lots of subjects I want to carve. I have discovered another art form I enjoy. Soon every piece of wood I own is going to look like it needs a carving on it.