If you've ever wanted to try wood carving - do it. It's truly not that difficult (assuming sharp tools). Just look at my simple carving of a Tulip Tree leaf. It was only my second carving and it took about 2 hours (plus finish time).
Here's just how easy it is. First, I traced a leaf onto a scrap piece of wood:
With a V-shaped chisel (parting chisel), I cut a groove along the outline of my leaf tracing:
Next is some shaping.
With a "gouge" chisel, I cut some "topography" into the leaf.
Here's the rough carving:
Next I removed about 1/4 inch thickness of wood outside the original leaf tracing:
I now had a raised-relief carving that I could stain:
Hmmm...I think sassafras will be next...stay tuned:)