Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Taking it up a notch

If you want to get be a better carver, like anything thing else, you have to practice. But you won't see much of a return on your efforts if you continue to practice the same thing. At some point, you have to challenge yourself to try something you don't think you can do. I carved a few Ball-in-a-box pieces and I wanted to see if I could do something a little tougher, so I decided to try a Ball-in-a-cage (basswood). This requires first carving a square block into a near-perfect ball, drawing a cage on that and then carving a ball inside the round cage. It's a lot harder because the cage is in the way more than the box is when you carve a ball-in-a-box. Also, you have more complicated cross-grain issues. To my own amazement, I was able to do this. So I tried another one. This time in butternut - a little smaller - and I rounded the outer cage. Up another notch! I wondered if I could make even more challenging? How about a cage in a cage? I was sure this would be way to hard. I put off even trying for months for fear of realizing my limits as a carver. Finally, I took the plunge and, to my absolute amazement, I was able to do it! It was very tricky to work inside the outer cage without damaging it. The day before, a friend gave me a Denny "eye knife". It's a strange tool which I have yet to try on eyes, but the long tang helped me to get inside the out cage and work easily, but very carefully. So, be brave. Try something you don't think you can do. The result just may surprise you and give you greater confidence.

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