The time has finally come for me to face my fear and tackle the hands. Well, I really need the hands to work. They are a focal point of the carving and I haven't done has with separate fingers and I worry they'll break off when I get them down to the right size. With a good sharp knife (the Lyons knife shown below), a good pair of magnifying lens and patience, I should be able to do it. I made the hands as separate parts so I could align the grain with the length of the hand and get the greatest possible strength for the wrist and fingers.
First, a little math. I start by measuring my arms and hands and
figure the ratio. Then I use that number to find a size for the hands
on my carving, based on his forearm. I found some marbles that
might fit the right hand. The blocks are 7/8" X 7/8" X 5/8" with a "wrist" part that will eventually be 3/8" to fit the holes drilled in
The hand study photos I made prove invaluable for sketching the hands on the blanks. Super-sharp Lyons knife helps carve delicate fingers. A 3/8" #7 gouge is just right to scoop out the palm for the marble.
|Marking fingertips helps carve fingers.|
I'm lucky to have an antique drill bit gauge. When the wrists are close to size, I force them into the 3/8" hole to scrape off high spots.
|Testing the fit.|
|Sizing the wrist.|
|The right hand takes shape.|
The same process follows for the left hand, remembering to drill the hole for the staff before carving the hand.
|Both hands roughed out.|
The last thing to complete in this session is the staff, which is carved to fit the left hand. Now I have the delicate task of getting the hands and fingers thinned down so he doesn't look like a brick layer!