My Carving Arm

Several people have asked me about my carving arm. It’s actually a double arm, something I came up with for holding the large carvings I typically do. It’s my own design, something I thought about for awhile and designed in about ten minutes. It’s served me well for many years. Here are some photos so you can see how it’s made and how it works.

Here’s a closeup. As you can see there is not much to it. I dovetailed the cross supports but it isn’t necessary. You could use lag bolts to hold it together. The bolts it pivots on are 1″ x 4″, which I bought at Tractor Supply where they sell them by the pound. 


The arm has a full range of 180 degrees. Makes it easy to do the back carving without removing the piece,


Carving screws have been used for centuries to hold the workpiece. I use 1/4″ lag bolts. Mine are long for when I’m carving thick pieces, so I use washers to shorten them up for thinner carvings. I also use clamps a lot. Usually one bolt in the middle and a clamp on the side I’m not carving to stabilize it.


Here’s a close up of the joint. The head of the bolt is mortised into the wood so you only need one wrench. It’s a very efficient setup.

Most people will able to make one of these just by looking at the photos. Make it the size that will fit your work space. For those who want measured drawings, I have some available.

Carving Arm Plans


Measured drawings for a versatile carving arm. This is actually a double arm that locks into your bench vise. 

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James McCain
3 years ago


Finished the eagle carving fixture and it works really well…just a very solid design. Working on my first Bellamy Eagle now with 5-foot wingspan and the fixture is just perfect.

I glued up 2x4s as that is the wood that I had handy…the boards were planned to the same thickness so I got the pivot joint sized perfectly without trying…the one thing I am not is a cabinet maker…:-)

Recessing the bolt head is also a very good idea. I just need to get the lag bolt in place…am using two clamps on the eagle until I can get down to the hardware store.

Thanks again for putting the drawings online…you should charge more for the drawings, and give my name and email to anyone that would like a reference on how well it works!