Zoe Gertner  - Professional Woodcarver & Tutor


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On this page you can find details about carvings for sale, gift vouchers, how to commission a special woodcarving, publications, Zoe's instructional CDs and projects you can follow, and the specially designed "Zoe Gertner Woodcarving Tools" manufactured by Ashley Iles (Edge Tools) Ltd.

              Zoe Gertner Woodcarvings for Sale


  • Found in collections all over the world each of Zoe's woodcarvings are unique pieces carved directly from one piece of timber, usually a log of native hardwood, using traditional wood carving gouges and chisels by hand.

 More details about Carvings for Sale


             Gift Vouchers


  • If you are looking for a different gift for someone perhaps a few days spent on a woodcarving course  might be the answer - the gift of a new interest which may well last a lifetime. Perfect for the person who already has everything and ideal for an unusual retirement or Christmas present, that special landmark 50th, 60th, 70th or 80th Birthday, or perhaps to give the wood turner in your family a new and inspirational experience. See Course Dates and Fees


  • We can arrange any combination of days ranging from a short  "taster" session to see if wood carving is to your recipient's liking, or perhaps longer; or alternatively several days taken over several months. Accommodation can be arranged if desired, and all tools and timber are provided.


  • When you have purchased the number of day/s you wish, you will be sent a gift card such as Birthday or Christmas, relevant to the celebration together with contact details and suggested tuition dates to give to the recipient so that he or she can make further arrangements with us.



Edna's employer knew she was interested in woodcarving and gave her a voucher for several days carving for her retirement present.  

Peter's family gave him several days' tuition in woodcarving  for his special birthday, and he carved a Cornish engine house in relief.

 See more carvings.


Please contact Zoe to discuss your requirements


             Commissioned Work 


  • Commissioned work is undertaken with full reference to your specific requirements. This is ideal if you are looking for that special commemorative piece or  a carving particularly suited to someone, for whatever reason. Such carvings are unique and you can be sure that you will not find another the same.

  • Have you a special piece of wood with a sentimental value, perhaps from a tree planted years ago, that you may like made into a unique carving? Provided it is sound, this may well be possible.


  • Would you like a personalised woodcarving as part of your home construction, for example, a barn owl or relief picture carved from an offcut of green oak timber used in a barn renovation?


    See some more commissions

    Please contact me to discuss your project, then we can find the best way to proceed, be it through pictures, drawings or a personal visit.



  • 'Woodcarving - A Foundation Course'

by Zoe Gertner  

The excellent text of this book is supported throughout with full colour photographs and detailed line drawings. Highly recommended for those beginning woodcarving as it tells you all you need to know to get started.

Part 1 -


About Wood  Tools, Materials and Equipment  ~ How to Sharpen and Care for your Tools ~  How to Use your Tools Correctly ~ Health and Safety

        Part 2 -


Carving in the Round  Relief Carving  ~  Hollowing Techniques  ~  Figures in the Round  ~  Using Contrasts, Deep Relief and Undercutting ~

Carving a Composition  ~ Detailed Figure Carving

       ISBN 9781861080592  Published by GMC Publications October 1997, and may be obtained by internet title/author search/www.amazon.co.uk



  • Magazine Articles

Zoe is currently contributing articles and weekend projects to the bimonthly magazine, 'Woodcarving' (GMC Publications Ltd)  (see latest news ) having had numerous technical articles and carving projects published in the magazine from 1994 to 2005. A number of these  older articles can be found  in the compendium books 'Woodcarving for Beginners' (ISBN 1 86108 019 0) and  'The Woodcarvers' (ISBN 1 86108 038 7)  published by GMC Publications. Available by internet search.
'Traditional Woodworking' magazine:

Dec 04, Jan  & Feb 05: Sharpening & Maintaining Tools.

March  &  April 05:  Equipping Yourself for Woodcarving.



'Projects for Woodcarvers' - Zoe's Woodcarving CD roms   

Written by Zoe for her students, these wood carving projects are suitable for a wide range of abilities from complete beginner to those with some experience using hand tools for wood carving. The clear instructions, diagrams and pictures showing direct carving techniques for each topic can be self printed, enabling you to be guided through your carving at your own pace whilst developing your confidence and creativity.

With an array of carving techniques at your fingertips, where will your imagination lead you?

Available on CD rom only (pdf format only, Adobe Reader required).

Priced at 12 each including postage, to purchase please contact Zoe.

Currently Available:

  • Carve a Green Man, Face and Foliage

  • How to Carve Incised Lettering and Lay Out an Inscription

  • How to Sharpen and Restore Carving Tools

  • Carve your Family Pet

  • Carve a Maple Leaf in Relief

 More titles on the way ... 


'Carve a Green Man, Face and Foliage'

Have you ever wanted to carve a face, but not known where to start? Or perhaps some oak leaves? Maybe put the two together and carve a Green Man? And does that sample Green Man pattern you saw in a book seem incredibly complicated?

Here's how to create your very own 'Green Man'.

(This CD is an ideal accompaniment to the  'Maple Leaf in Relief' CD rom )



'How to Carve Incised Lettering


Lay Out an Inscription'

Do you need a new sign for your house? Maybe you'd like to try some calligraphy using the medium of wood; or you've turned a bowl or platter for a special occasion and want to commemorate it ... Zoe shows you how it's done on this CD rom.



'How to Sharpen and Restore Carving Tools'

What is nicer than the smooth polished facets made by a razor sharp carving tool slicing through wood? As every woodcarver knows, sharp tools are essential, and being able to sharpen and maintain them yourself is key to fully enjoying your carving.

With clear instructions, diagrams and pictures Zoe shows you exactly how to achieve that perfect cutting edge, and how to maintain and restore your precious carving tools.





'Carve your Family Pet'

Many British families have a much loved pet, maybe a cat or dog, an ideal subject if you are want to try 'carving in the round', or if you need more guidance to build up your woodcarving confidence.

Follow Zoe's detailed instructions, diagrams and pictures and you will be able to produce a lovely carving of your own beloved family pet dog or cat.



'Carve a Maple Leaf in Relief'

Would you like to carve a panel of leaves in relief  - or have you already tried, but somehow they look 'wooden' and lifeless? Zoe shows you how to carve these delicate serrated Maple leaves, explains the why's and wherefore's of undercutting and how it will bring your carving alive. This CD rom is an ideal accompaniment to the 'Green Man' .


Look out for more new CD rom's this year


             'Taster' Projects on this site:


  Why not try a  Wood Carving Project  yourself? With these instructions, you can:






             Ashley Iles Carving Tools: the Zoe Gertner Range


The family firm of Ashley Iles manufactures a range of specialist high quality wood carving tools designed by Zoe Gertner. These tools have shorter and lighter blades than the standard tools, making them easier to handle and more suitable for delicate carving. Each tool is supplied ready honed and razor sharp ready for use, beech handles and brass ferrules adding to their aesthetic appearance.

Whatever style of carving you do - whether 'in the round', relief, or lettering, carving with these tools is a joy. Try one, and you won't be disappointed.


Carving fine detail on a Tudor rose.

Seven gouges were used to carve the Tudor rose.

How the 'Zoe Gertner' specialist carving tools evolved

In my early days of teaching woodcarving, I noticed students having difficulty controlling cuts when using a standard sized gouge with a mallet for shaping a 'carving in the round' modern gouges seemed too long, heavy and difficult to guide around the desired shape of the sculpture. At the more delicate hand carving/detail stage where many tiny accurate cuts are made and the gouge has to be held close to its cutting edge for accuracy, again, standard carving tools were too long and heavy - they wavered about, making it hard to control the cutting edge, fingers were made sore from gripping firmly, and they were very tiring particularly for frailer students and those with smaller hands.   As an experiment I cut a short length off the end of the handle of a 1in no 9 gouge and found that the reduced length of the tool made it much easier to use. Having tried out my experimental gouge, some of my students also shortened the handles of their larger gouges to good effect; however, the problem of excessive length and weight of the blades of the smaller gouges when using them for hand carving remained. There was not much I could do about this for my students though happily for me, my own carving gouges are old, light in section, well balanced and very easy to use.


The problem remained in abeyance until in the mid '90's, until when demonstrating woodcarving at Yandles Woodworking Show, I was able to talk to Barry and Tony Iles about the difficulties experienced with modern carving tools. They listened, took measurements of my own carving gouges and a few weeks later, sent a sample set of 'Zoe Gertner Specials' based on them, of the most commonly used sweeps and sizes, honed razor sharp and ready for use. Sales of these specialist carving tools have been consistent since they were introduced, meeting with universal approval because they address all of the aforementioned difficulties, and appreciation for their appearance, quality and ease of use.

The 'Zoe Gertner'  carving tools were reviewed by 'Woodcarving' magazine (GMC Publications) in issue 48, and you can purchase them from Ashley Iles (Edge Tools) Ltd, East Kirkby, Spilsby, LIncs. PE23 4DD Tel: 01790 763372   or go to www.ashleyiles.co.uk for further details about them.



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 Updated October 2018                  Puddleduck Farm, South Wonford, Holsworthy, Devon. EX22 7DR 

        Telephone:  01409 261648                  e-mail: mail@zoegertner.co.uk              www.zoegertner.co.uk