The above photos show what I started off with, but, this week I managed to get down and borrow my mates big band saw for an hour and turned 6 water buffalo horn back strips like the one in the photos into 6 horn strips. Three hours of rasping the first pair got me to the point (6mm thick) where I could steam the plates and straighten out most of their curvature. Another few hours will get them to the 4.5mm I need but for now they look like this:
Here, then, you can see the results of the undercutting. The adjustments are also made; just a little gentle smoothing and a tidy up here and there and its ready for varnishing.
It’s been a busy few days, as well as the school carving project and the trailboard, I have made a small start on the hornbow project, not much of a start mind, but, a start all the same. I spent a pleasant afternoon rasping off all the ridges on the six strips of horn I ordered back in January in preparation for band-sawing into plates. I am proceeding very cautiously; ultimately the strips will be about 4mm thick but I have marked out 10mm cuts, now I just need to get some time on a nice big band-saw; its probably a good time to wander over to see my mate the ship-wright.
This is a little acanthus scroll trailboard for a Victorian launch restoration, currently at the tweak and finish stage. The turn at the bow end is a little too oval, but otherwise it’s coming together nicely. The thing that really makes a deep relief like this ‘pop’ is to undercut it. Undercutting is done to take the sides of the design out of sight. It is important that this is not overdone or the edges will be weakened. It is also important the back of the carving keeps in contact with the hull; if it is raised it will be susceptible to breaking off when the carving gets knocked. The thing to bear in mind is to avoid pockets for water to collect in.
The first picture shows a vertical view but even here some of the sides of the carving are visible.
Whereas this image is only slightly off-vertical and the sides are clear to see.
Well, forgot my camera, but it was too hot to get much carving done so I tidied up the owl a bit and spent a good chunk of the morning rounding over all the curves of the caterpillar, hopefully will remember my camera next time but it won’t be tomorrow as its just too hot. Did I say that already ?
I’ve spent the last few days working with a local school to carve story book animals for the story garden they are building. Some still need a little finishing off and if the weather holds up I hope to add another dozen next week; watch this space.
This was my most recent commission, a wedding gift for the groom from his bride. The photo doesn’t do it justice at all. The biggest challenge was the water-lily as I’d never carved one before but it all turned out very nicely. The mahogany threw up a few challenges as it can be prone to splitting. The ship’s wheel is fore-shortened in the photo as it is carved on an angle. The top half of the spoon is actually the same length as the heart/stem/bowl. The underside of the flower is fully carved also, with the tendrils forming a never-ending knot and holding onto the horse-shoe that forms the top of the heart-lock