Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Dowel Joint for Woodcarving

Here's just one method for using a dowel to join pieces for a wood carving. i have used this many times with success.

A Lull in the Action

I am at a bit of a standstill on my latest project. I've been having some pain in my shoulder and I think some of my carving technique has aggravated that. I'm still doing a little carving each night, but not much, for now. I am also trying to do a little research on finishes. It occurs to me that a walking stick is in it's own category, in terms of an appropriate finish. I will surely be exposed to all kinds of rough treatment and every type of weather condition. So I just haven't decided what to do on that yet. Stay tuned, I'll try to keep something interesting posted here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Carving a Wizard Walking Stick - Part 6

I tried a number of tools to work on the spiral part of the cane and finally settled on two.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Carving a Wizard Walking Stick - Part 3

This episode goes a little deeper into detail, discussing some of the tools I prefer on this project.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Walking Stick and Meatloaf

I spent the weekend with my Scout Troop and some quality outdoor time enjoying a taste of Spring and a taste of good camp cookin'. If you do any camping and enjoy the benefits of Dutch Oven cooking, I hope you know about Byron's Dutch Oven site. I made this Meatloaf "flower" recipe. Yum!

We did a little hiking, played in the field, sat around a campfire and enjoyed the "super moon". But mostly I spent time at my makeshift camp carving station working on the wizard walking stick.

Working on something this long and skinny has it's own set of problems and I find progress slow. After quite a few hours on carving, I see only a small pile of chips. But I stopped and started a lot. I'm trying a lot of tools on the spiral to see what works best and haven't really settled on one thing. I'll talk about that in the next post, which will be a video post. There's a piece of pine there i rescued from the firewood pile. If it doesn't crack apart too much, maybe I can carve something from it later.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Carving a Wizard Walking Stick - Part 1

I have picked a new project to work on and present as a video series. This time I will be merging two ideas I got from past issues of Woodcarving Illustrated magazine, with a few ideas of my own thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another Leprechaun

As was my original plan, I decided to make another Leprechaun, working from my clay model. This one has a more interesting four-leaf clover base. He is a little larger than the first one and much larger than the model. I also chose a different color scheme and added a bit more detailing, including striped socks and buckles on his shoes and a button on his vest. I think I prefer the less floppy hat too. Anyway, it's fun to try variations after using a model.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Site of the Week - Celtic Love Spoons

As I try different kinds of carving, one thing I revisit every so often is the Celtic or Welsh Love Spoon. There are many different designs to choose from and they can be made using whatever scrap pieces you have around. Love Spoons can be very simple or extremely challenging to carve,  beautiful to look at and, most importantly, are perfect objects to lace with symbolic elements, giving them a deep and lasting meaning for the giver and the receiver. I came across a site with a short "how to" slide series. The carver, Adam King, makes some of the more delicate and graceful designs I've seen. Of special interest to me are two things he shows. First, the idea of rounding the spoon part before the final shape of the handle section is completely cut away. This give something sturdy to hold with a vise. With a spoon this delicate, that would have been impossible had the entire spoon been scroll cut. Secondly, the use of small strips of cloth-backed sandpaper for sanding this, curved parts. Trying to do this with almost any other method would likely proof frustrating. In any case, this particular design looks quite challenging. I might have to give this one a try and see for myself. Here is the link for "making a love spoon" page on Adam's site.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Clay to Wood Leprechaun - Part 6

Here are photos of the Leprechaun the first. I have a second one in the works and I added some more video including some extras. Looking for a new project...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Clay to Wood Leprechaun - Part 5

In this part, I complete most of the carving on the Leprechaun. Apologies for the big progress leap. This one is about the concept more than the actual carving. If folks want it, I can do more detailed videos on the carving process, but that can be found on other blogs by better carvers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Clay to Wood Leprechaun - Part 4

In this part, I start the wood rough out and talk about my choices for making the carving in parts.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Clay to Wood Leprechaun - Part 3

In this part, my clay model is finished and I'm ready to try carving it in wood. One thing I learned that I didn't know when I started - plasticine is oil-based and will never harden! Also working with it makes it get softer and softer. So this means every little bump with a fingernail dents it. I got frustrated at first, but later came to appreciate that it would be an advantage to be able to make changes after it was finished.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Carving from a Clay Model: Leprechaun Part 1

Something new for me. I know a lot of carvers use this method for carving birds, but it's a useful process for working out a complicated or original design. I always struggle with fabric folds and the clay model afforded me the opportunity to "erase" and re-sculpt until I get a look I like. It is a useful reference while carving and gives something to refer back to if you plan to make more than one carving of the same thing. The final wood version can be as close as you want to the clay version. Obviously you can vary expression and so forth. Here's part one of the series of videos showing my "experiment".

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Gnome in Four Pieces Part 6

Here is the last video for carving on the Gnome. For me, the choice to make him in pieces was a good one. It made a lot of the work easier, though not necessarily faster. I will post one more video after this talking about painting. I decided not to texture the jacket, rather paint it to look more like denim.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I admit it, this one is a little self-serving, but they asked me to help circulate it for them. They being a shop called Think Long Island First, located in Oyster Bay, Long Island. It is a small consignment shop featuring products hand-made by artists, authors, chefs and craftsman who live on Long Island. Recently, they asked to interview me for their blog and I complied. So, here it is. As a bonus, click the following link to see the interview they did for a fellow wood carver who sell his wares there as well.