Acanthus scroll

Its funny where you can find the nicest carvings. This little volute is in the stairwell of my son’s orthodontist. Beautiful.


something a little different

A short while ago we went on a family holiday.  Family holidays are difficult to design as some of us like hot and sunny and beaches and some of us really don’t like any of that, so we went somewhere hot and sunny and not a beach, in fact about as far from a beach as you can get – Budapest ! It was fabulous, definitely will return some day, but what has that got to do with this blog you might ask. Well, there was some fascinating wood and metalwork dotted around here and there and from time to time I’ll post some once I’ve found the sinc lead for my camera.  The kids took this photo for me on their phone. I thought it was a fantastic piece of carving in the Gibbons style, but very careful examination of the image shows it to be the most fabulous metalwork!  The site of the original is on the road that runs between the palace and the town hall. Enjoy.


Figureheads – part 3

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. dscf3772
















tiller to Brest – update

Things are progressing, slowly, but I am still more-or-less on schedule, having managed to cobble together somewhere near 20 hours carving on the tiller in between and around other work.  I know I felt I would leave the rope-work until the whole thing was roughed out but in the end I have concentrated on getting it done and now the ropework is nearing completion; I think about 5 more hours should see it done.

Hopefully you can see that the work is much deeper and more fully rounded.  You might also see where I have started some fancy ‘whipping’ on the one end: more of that in a later post.  Incidentally the only tool I am using at the moment is a 10mm skew-chisel – the pointed end is essential for getting into the tiny spaces


tiller to Brest

The tiller is coming along, the pictures say it better than my words – about half the length of the knotwork is roughed out, progress is working out at just over an inch an hour – so 12 more hours carving will finish this stage, then I guess about another 15 hours to refine the carving.

The first picture shows the whole length, the spiral roughed out to the left, the pattern marked out and the roughed-out knots in the second, and the third shows the depth of carving the whole length will be carved to eventually. The only tools needed are a small chisel and a v-tool (aka parting tool)


carving update

Hi All,

things have been a bit crazy recently (excuses, excuses) and I haven’t had time to post anything – most of what I have been commissioned to carve has been surprise gifts and so not things I can blog about, but in between times I have been working on the two side cheeks for my crossbow project, and have also worked on an antler end-plate.  I will post an update on the side cheeks soon but for the time being here is the end-plate.

This piece measures a little over 2 inches  tall by 1 inch wide and  represents archangel Michael slaying the Devil – I have no idea what the end plate would have been carved to represent so I have followed the theme of archangel Michael from the antler plate under the fore-grip (see earlier post). It is equally possible there was no end-plate, or that it carried a floral motif, or that it carried a prayer – these are all elements used on the original crossbow. Any comment?crossbow tail piece

first antler relief carving finished (well, nearly)

OK, well, for anyone that might be interested, this is how my second  carving in stag-horn (antler) is coming along – the bulk of the carving, to all intents and purposes is finished, except for some sharpening up here and there, which I am leaving until it is mounted in a cross-bow – at current rate of progress that will be this time next year…. Oh, it will need some kind of antique-effect wax to help pick-out the details and slow down moisture movement too So, for your delectation I present archangel Michael as based on the carving on the underside of the Ulrich crossbow attributed to Heinrich Heid von Winterthur (probably Swiss, active Stuttgart, recorded 1453–1460) held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art).   michael and scalesThe carving measures 2cm by 21cm and is a maximum of 1mm deep, but perhaps most interestingly (to some), I strongly believe the ‘crosslet’ in the diamond at the base has been mis-identified, and is in fact satan carved as a dragon – if you look at the hd image on its strongest magnification (  you can just about make out a mouth and a head – you will need to select additional images. Although badly worn, an image of satan in the underworld with the earth represented by oak leaves and archangel michael guarding the way to Heaven makes sense (at least to me). I am very grateful too, for the work by Dirk Breiding (Met Museum publication The Crossbow of Count Ulrich V of Wurttemberg, Met Museum Jounal, vol 44, 2009) in which he points out the scales containing the penitent and the tower, and the demon pulling at the scales, all of which would have been extremely difficult to identify without his work.   Only one carving tool was used for this, a small skew chisel using  the point as a scraper.