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
This little distraction occupied much of my spare time from the end of November to late January, and now it has been delivered I can post about it. The lovespoon was completely hand-carved, using a coping-saw to rough it out, then whittled with a knife and a very small shallow gouge; a tiny spoon-bent gouge was used to cut through the links(the heart is completely free to move around but the intertwining knot-work stops it from falling out). The only other tool used was a medium spoon-bent gouge for the bowl. I hate sanding and put it off until there is no alternative – the tool marks were smoothed down by scraping with the knife-edge held vertically – any remaining marks were smoothed off with a 400-grit abrasive mesh. Ironically, the wood was almost too smooth and the paraffin-wax finish needed warming up gently to make it more sticky as it just slipped off the wood in some places.
I don’t think I make New-Year resolutions but I do like to flick through my ‘to-do list’ every now and then. My to-do list tends to be projects I hope to do at some point, some will almost certainly never happen (restore a 100 year old boat, or build a wood-frame bicycle) and some are a bit more realistic. This year, I hope to accomplish one long-time item off the list, and that is to make a Celtic harp, and to accomplish one that was only added to the list comparatively recently – to make a horn-and-sinew bow. Watch this space to see if either of the projects leave the realm of fantasy but hopefully just writing about them will give them the boost they need!
Righto, well, about 2 months ago I managed to scrape together enough time to nip over and pick up the carvings I sent to Brest. Apparently, temperatures in the tent exceeded 40 degrees and the wax I used as an emergency finish melted and ran into the ‘pockets’ in the rope-work making the carving look shallower than it was, although the tiller still looked great from anything more than arms length away. I’m probably the only person to have noticed anything was wrong. While I was picking out the wax, I noticed some small adjustments to make, but the adjustments broke through the oxidised surface (wood changes colour as it oxidises), meaning I had to wait for the adjustments to oxidise and even out the colour difference before I could sort out the photographs. Should have made the project simpler, finished in good time, taken lots of photos…… did say at the outset, time was always going to be an issue, sometimes I hate being right! Hope you enjoy the slideshow.
Wow, a whole year has past since the last entry on this series, now that’s what I call ‘occasional’!
OK, so if you recall, I made a big thing about the importance of the jaw-line. Well, now that I have finally taken some photos of the Brest Tiller, I can illustrate the point with the view of the face from under the neck. The image also nicely illustrates the prominence of the nose, and, if you look very carefully, the curve of the forehead is just about visible too.
I’ve spent a little while up-dating the Resources page; it now has some very jazzy links to various boards on Pinterest, a few extra free patterns and a list, in date order, of the technical articles that have been posted on the blog over the years.