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How to Carve a Wooden Cobra Head

The hooded cobra has fascinated people all over the world throughout the ages. In Ancient Egypt, it was revered as a deity for its beauty and deadly power, becoming a symbol of immortality and worldly authority. In modern-day India, Hindus still revere the king cobra. While people in Western societies may not credit this serpent with any sort of spiritual significance, the cobra still captures their imagination. The cobra head with its dilated hood inspires wood carvers and other artists.

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To carve a wooden cobra head, you need to be able to use woodcarving knives.

  1. Resize the cobra head pattern on your PC to the dimensions of your wood block. Print out the pattern. Transfer it to the wood block with a pencil. You can find cobra-head carving patterns on the Internet; try a web site such as Woodworkers Workshop.

  2. Put on your safety goggles. Carve out the cobra head's basic shape. The cobra's flattened, wide hood is its most distinguishing feature. The head rises slightly above it. Don't forget the neck.

  3. Put on your dust mask. Gently sand the cobra head with a medium grain sandpaper. Wipe off the dust with a soft cloth.

  4. Carve the cobra head's details. Begin with the eyes and fangs. Add the horizontal belly scales across the neck. Finish with the interlaced scales on the front and back of the hood. For guidance, there are many books on the topic, such as Frank C. Russell's "Carving Animal Canes & Walking Sticks With Power."

  5. Sand the cobra head with fine and extra fine sandpaper until it is smooth to the touch. Be careful not to damage the detail work. Wipe off the dust with a soft cloth.

  6. Stain or paint the cobra head to your liking. If you prefer the wood's natural colour, protect the cobra head with two coats of clear lacquer wood finish.

  7. Tip

    You can mount the cobra head on a wood or stone base. You can also mount it to the top of a cane or walking stick.


    Any project involving the use of sharp knives requires adult supervision.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cobra head carving pattern
  • Wood-carving knives, assorted
  • Sandpaper, medium, fine and extra fine grains
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • First-aid kit
  • Wood block, 2 inches by 2 inches by 1 inch
  • Paint, wood stain or clear lacquer wood finish
  • Paintbrush

About the Author

Jeva Anand

Jeva Anand began writing in 1988. He has worked as an educator, media-relations coordinator and copywriter, and collaborated with regional and national media such as "Indian Country Today." Anand holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of South Dakota. He currently works as a writer and translator.

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