Free eBook – How to Carve Netsuke and Miniature Sculpture

How to Carve Netsuke and Miniature Sculpture: Free PDF Download
This is a link to a detailed 361 page instruction book on how to carve netsuke and miniature sculpture. The file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

It requires Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download from although you probably already have it on your computer – most newer machines come with it already installed.

The PDF file is called Carving_Netsuke  
It’s an 18 megabyte file, so sorry for the marathon download if you’re on a soda straw connection.

Here’s the link: Carving_Netsuke

There is also a companion pattern file for making buckskin pouches that you’ll also need: Buckskin_Pouch_Patterns

Above is a reduced size example of a typical page.  The page sizes in the actual document are common screen sized 7 1/2 by 9 inches.

  These instructions are copyrighted, and are intended for your non-commercial use.  In other words, have a good time with them, but you aren’t allowed to make money from selling or distributing them (the instructions, not what you carve).  I’m not charging you for them, so please don’t charge someone else.

39 Responses to Free eBook – How to Carve Netsuke and Miniature Sculpture

  1. Mike Pfeiffer says:

    Thank You so very much for sharing your knowledge and skills !!!!!
    Your work is very impressive and inspiring. I have always hoped that I could do some small carvings when I retire in a few years, and Netsuke have always been a form of carving that I admire and seem to have some type of connection with. Thank you again for Your kindness in sharing these skills with others. Mike

  2. metal_musings says:

    Glad you like it, Mike. I hope it helps! I will warn you, however, that when you retire you’ll find out you don’t get your weekends off anymore…;-)


  3. Alex says:

    I think it is wonderfull you made this e-book. I am working in a specialised toolshop and are working to introduce this craft in Holland ( cos I like it myself too ) and this e-book is helping me to answer question in the shop.
    I know you have put a lot of energy and effort to make this book, it is very diverse, so thank you very very much.

  4. Thank you so much! What a generous offering.

  5. Mark Hoechst says:

    Thanks for your sharing of your time and skill.
    I found your posting on

  6. Pingback: Hello everyone - Page 2 - Woodcarving Illustrated Message Board

  7. Colin Knightley says:

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks ever so much for sharing your Netsuke book so freely. I dropped on your website by sheer chance and boy am I glad I did. Fantastic Netsuke…and knives…and line drawings…and jewellery…and I could go on!

    Very much appreciated

    Colin, UK

  8. Bruce says:

    Had this book once before. Always wanted to find it again. Thank you.

  9. Gary Gilmore says:

    Do you have any experience or words of wisdom for carving Tagua net?

    • metal_musings says:

      Hi Gary,

      No, I’ve never bothered to carve tag nuts. I’ve always been suspicious of it and decided to not waste effort on it, but choose a more permanent material.

      Below is a link to more info on it from The Carving Path forum.

      Best of luck,


  10. Gary Gilmore says:

    Do you feel that tagua is less than permanent? I’m relatively new to tagua and was under the impression that it was a pretty durable material.

    • metal_musings says:

      Hi Gary,

      I’m not a fan of tagua nuts. They start out life as a small coconut-like nut, with a liquid interior, then harden up as they age. Many people soak the in water to soften for carving, so I’m pretty certain they are a risk over time. Plus, there always seems to be a cracked center. I have one antique netsuke carved from tagua, and the material is less than inspiring, and would have been a better netsuke in another material. May I suggest you expend your artistic spirit on more permanent and rewarding materials like antler and boxwood?

      Best of luck in your carving adventures!


  11. Jackson says:

    Thank you so much! I am only on page 50 and already so much information! I have bookmarked your page also. Great work! Thanks again! So happy right now;)

  12. Gary Gilmore says:

    Hello Tom,
    I’m not having any luck downloading your How to Carve Netsuke book. Do you think the problem is on my end or…. When I click on your link I get a “File Not Found” notice.

  13. Mile says:

    hey man, thank you for sharing.

  14. Sue Lachenicht says:

    Hi Tom,
    I just discovered your website advertising your free ebook. I would really like to own this book as a paper copy. 361 pages are too cumbersome to print. Is it possible to purchase your book and where. I do a little carving, mostly two-dimensional and have never been tempted to carve in the round. However I have always been fascinated by netsuke and would like to try my hand. Hope you can help. Thanks.

    Sue Lachenicht….all the way from New Zealand.

    • metal_musings says:

      Hi Sue,

      Sorry, but I don’t have any hard copies available. Perhaps it might be possible to get it printed by one of those “on demand” printing companies online?



  15. muriel says:

    Hi Tom:
    I saw the netsuke collection of the Röhsska Museum in Gotemburg and since that time I loved them!
    Thank you so much to give us this wonderful book…!

    (I discovered your site via Pinterest)

  16. Pi says:

    Found your link to this wonderful, wonderful book on the Carving Path forum. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time and effort required to write and e-publish it. We saw a beautiful collection of netsuke at the Toledo Art Museum in Ohio. Difficult to comprehend it all, especially considering they didn’t have electrically powered tools.

    • metal_musings says:

      Hi Pi,

      Thank you for your kind words about my netsuke eBook. I hope it is useful to you, and good luck in your carving! I hope you find the book useful.


  17. Leila Bidler says:

    I mainly play with Polymer Clay and recently started to carve Avocado pits and find it to be of great fun. I came across your webiste in search of info on how to improve my carving…and found your ebook. THANK YOU so much, how generous from you, it has so much great info!! Many greetings from Italy, Leila

  18. Thank You so very much for sharing your eBook
    I love your work
    You are an artist!

  19. Maria says:

    I can’t download the ebook. Does the link work well?

  20. Grant Wilson says:

    Thank you for sharing this great information. I’ve been looking for a new hobby and as I don’t have much room netsuke carving looks like it may be the answer.
    Hopefully I can adapt the techniques to carving stone .

  21. Susan M says:

    Read the “Hare with the Amber Eyes” for an interesting story about Netsuke.

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