Monday, December 24, 2012

Local Press

December has been a good month for in terms of exposure. I have collected quite a bit of wood from fallen trees, courtesy Superstorm Sandy. Since I use this to make objects of beauty and function, this story seems to appeal to people. Here are two, quite different, takes on the story. The Long Islander and Newsday.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A New Home for Me

No, I'm not moving, well not in the real world. But in the internet world I have build a new house. The address ... A central hub for my blogging, selling carving, showing W.I.P.s, linking to all my YouTube videos and all else related to my wood carving life was desperately needed. By whom? Well, me. I just wanted to put all the pieces together and be able to put one simple web address on my card and people can find all the rest, if they are so inclined. I read an interesting article by a painter who has been doing craft fairs for 20 years and shared some of her wisdom. Her thoughts on having a web site was: As an artist, you must have a web site. Not that you'll sell more by having it, but people expect it and you seem odd if you don't have one. I set up my new home in one night! That's right, and I'm no web building genius. I used The easiest web builder I've ever used, and I've tried several over the years. If you're looking to set up a web site for your carving work, or anything else, I recommend it. [I'm not affiliated, by the way]. I hope you stop by the new place and poke around. Let me know what you think.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Busy as a Beaver

I'm afraid I have become an infrequent blogger. I have been busy. This summer has been for making many, many spoons and discovering the joys of selling them at local craft fairs. I sit there and carve and meet a lot of nice people and even sell a few spoons in the process. One thing that stands out is the connection people seem to make with the woods I use and the stories behind the spoons. It leads me to think that everything I carve should have a story. So this little Beaver does. I have been an active Boy Scout leader for the past 13 years. As much as I enjoy working directly with the youth, I also enjoy training adults. One such leadership opportunity is to be on staff for something called Wood Badge. Once you get involved with Wood Badge you are one of eight "critters" - beaver, antelope, bobwhite, bear, buffalo, owl, fox or eagle. I'm a beaver. Everyone on staff ends up collecting a lot of critters over the years. I don't have many, so I decided to carve my own. Here he is, ready to come with me as I head out to camp for this year's course. enjoy!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Parrothead Gnome

A friend asked me if I did custom work? I do woodcarving - I guess you could say everything I carve is a custom project. His request was for a "Parrothead Gnome". First let me say he had already bought one of my "regular" gnomes. I had to ask, "do you want a parrot that looks like a gnome or a gnome with a parrot head?" With this question, I revealed that I did not know what a parrothead is. After a quick web search I realized that was the name for a follower of singer Jimmy Buffett. Ah ha!

The request was for "a gnome with a "fins up" hat, hawaiian shirt and holding a can of beer". Sounds like fun, so I got started. It soon became clear his normal, clunky boots wouldn't be right, so I gave him a pair of sandals and a band-aid on his heel ("stepped on a pop top..."). This was super fun to carve and even more to paint.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Testing the foredom reciprocating handpiece

Here's a short video test driving a new tool.                  

Here's a link to the other tips available from Flexcut.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Spoon Blitz

I haven't posted in a while, and there's a reason. I have been in the shop cranking out wooden spoons so I could build inventory for some craft shows. This weekend was my maiden voyage into the world of craft vending. I started out with a nice event called Go Green Greenpoint, held in Brooklyn, NY. I didn't know what to expect, so I'm happy with the result, which was quite few sales, meeting a lot of nice people, handing out lots of biz cards and making shop consignment shop connections. I think the fair would have had a larger crowd if the sun would have shown up, but you can't have it all. Along with getting all good comments from visitors to my booth, I met some nice vendors and got some leads on the best shows in the area to be part of in the future.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Nice Cache of Walnut!

I got lucky again this week when I found 18 feet of local walnut cut by the town and left lying for - well me! But if I didn't take it, I'm pretty sure it was going to wherever the town dumps trees. I plan to carve and turn these pieces. I'll post when I figure out what to do with it.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Harvesting Burls

A few weeks ago I noticed a fallen tree (maple, beech?) with 7 huge burls. I contacted the owner of the property and he was happy to let me take them. All I have is a small branch trimming chainsaw, but with some help from a buddy, we were able to get it cut up and brought back home - in two trips! I made a few small spoons from some of the smaller pieces. I hope to have a lathe soon and these will be exciting to turn.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tweaking and Twittering

I'm still messing with name changes. My goal is to get my name and the products I make out there to the public a little more. I am splitting off with my Etsy shop form a cooperative with my daughter. She needs to find her own path and I need to have a shop that is just my carving work. So the new Etsy shop is The Sunday Woodcarver and this blog is now in support of that and called The Sunday Woodcarver Blog, though you will still find it with the old address. In addition I will be updating my facebook page to show the shop name change and I'm now a Twitter-er. I guess these are all the things you need to do these days if you want to sell anything. The trick is to have it all work together and make sense. Word to anyone who wants to go this way: think it through. Make sure you choose and image and name that you can live with. It's hard to make changes. I'm sure it won't be long before tools like Twitter, facebook, YouTube, blogging and selling will all be one thing, but for now, we have to learn how to pout them together so they work well for our purposes. I just want to get past all this and moving things from one shop to another so I can get back to carving and posting. By the way, if you're interested, you can follow me on Twitter @don_dailey.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Variations on a Theme

Pictured below is a favorite subject of mine - a woodland gnome. This one is named Kavish. I think this is maybe the 7th or 8th one like him carved over the past year. They have all found good homes, so I keep making them. His basic scope and scale is always the same ( I start with a pattern from an article in WCI magazine), but each one is different in many ways. After carving one or two, I started making him in parts - separate head, body and legs. Kavish was carved from one piece. There are benefits to each method. The reasons I sometimes carve discreet parts is partly to be able to use smaller, scrap pieces of wood (it takes a 4" X 4" X 10"+ block to carve this in one piece) and It's a little easier to handle in pieces... easier to paint too. But the work it takes to get the head to fit the body is a down side. I thought I'd be able to turn the head a little for some "attitude", but the beard limits that and besides, gnomes are peaceful and don't exhibit a lot of attitude! The benefit of making the one piece is I can hold him in a vice for much of the roughing stage, which I really like.

The variable features, that which really makes each one unique is in how I approach the facial features, the tools I use and the method of applying texture to the boots. Each successive gnome I carve gives me a chance to try slightly different eyes, noses, ears and facial hair. Since no one really gets a good look at these elusive characters, the details are up to me and quite forgiving of accuracy. Painting also varies and I have improved quite a bit in that area as well. The color palette hasn't changed a lot - he's still wearing red and blue, but I have a lot of fun trying to get the perfect face and beard colors and shadings. He'll be up for sale on my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Walnut Spoons

I was able to get a few more nice spoons from the free walnut I found, part of a discarded shipping pallet. Here are photos. Take a look at some of the previous posts to see a video showing the process of making them. They are going up for sale in my Etsy shop...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Salvaged Walnut Spoon

Following my last post about found wood from a shipping pallet, I made this walnut spoon. I still can't get over the fact that I was able to generate something of beauty from what most people consider garbage. Enjoy and please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Treasure in the Trash

I am always on the lookout for wood that others might deem garbage or firewood and use it to make something useful of beautiful - or both! If you aren't a maker of such things, which is most people let's face it, you would not only not see it as something that could be carved or planed, but not see it at all. This pallet was left on the sidewalk by a delivery truck for sanitation to pickup, but as a full 4X8 wooden pallet, that was not going to happen. I forgot to mention there are lots of foreign objects in found wood (nails, rusty screws, dirt, pebbles) so use with caution, especially protect your eyes when cutting it up and be cautious not to damaged sharpened tools. I don't know what I'll make from this little treasure, but I'll post it when I do.

Be sure to check out some of my other carving videos on my YouTube channel - UltraD52

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Very First Blue Ribbon: Love Spoon

I am pleased to be recognized as a first place winner among several fine artists at Think Long Island First in Oyster Bay. I was the only carver, so it is a unique distinction since I was up artists of many types of work and mediums. But it's always nice to get the recognition.

I carved this one from a piece of cherry I picked out a friends firewood pile. In case you're wondering, the leaves were carved separately and glued into small holes I made with Dockyard gouges.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Generating a New Design: A Love Spoon

 I enjoy carving Love Spoons and I'm always looking for a fresh design. Often I will simply search the internet for images of spoons carved by others to get ideas or maybe try carving a design I like that was previously carved by someone else. If you have done the same, chances are you have come across the graceful  design at the right. It is one I like a lot and enjoy carving it. This is one I carved from a scrap of mahogany.

But I was looking for some designs with hearts for Valentine's Day and came up with only a few that I liked at all. Some were a little too complex for my skill level. I decided I might be able to use this design and convert it into something that would fit the bill for my Valentine carving. I downloaded a photo of the design and imported it to Photoshop. I then copied the image to a new layer and flipped the bottom layer. With a little tweaking, I was able to get a nice heart shape in the top section. Of course I had to erase some of the image to eliminate some of the curly part at the top.
I then merged the two layers to make one "flat" image. Then I created a heart shape that fit the upper area and placed that on top of the other layer. Merging the heart cutout layer with he spoon image left me with something I could use a s a pattern. Then all I had to do
was resize the image to be what I wanted for my actual spoon.
The result was a little chubby, so I scaled the proportions a little
until it looked right to my eye. The result is the carving to the right,
which is also carved from mahogany. The original spoon was photographed with lights and the second one was photographed outside in daylight so they look different, but they are both from the sam piece of wood.

The point is that a new design often lurks inside an existing one and with a little effort and a practiced eye you can find all kinds of new ideas
by reworking patterns you already have.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Woodcarving Basics: Session 1

After searching the various woodcarving videos available online, I found very little to help the absolute beginner. From my experiences teaching Woodcarving Merit Badge to Boy Scouts, I remember the importance of the four basic cuts every woodcarver should master: the push cut, the paring cut, the stop cut and the V-cut. I thought it might help some beginners to show these and present a simple project to practice the four cuts. I like a letter opener as a beginner project. So here's a video with both. enjoy!

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's About Time: Big Santa Finished!

Back in the early days of this blog (Oct.-Nov. 2010) I was working on a project I called Big Santa. He has been carved for some time now and sitting on a shelf, patiently awaiting a paint job. Well, I finally decided to focus on getting that done. He is now finished and I wanted to share some photos of him. I still plan on adding a base of some sort, but he's done! On to the next big project!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Carve Your Face Off: A Makeover

Happy New Year everyone!

I covered quite a bit of new ground last year and looking forward to even more in 2012. I decided to look back over some of my not so successful pieces and see if I could do anything to "fix" them. Normally, I would leave what I've completed alone and chalk up the less than successful ones to experience and a reminder of where I have been. But, in this post, I will explore what maybe can be done to fix a carving I'm not happy with and maybe offer up a video show how I did the makeover.

So here is the original pattern and a photo of a finished carving by Will Hayden.

Here is a photo of one of two of these that I carved. It's really not that far off from the original design, but the face isn't right. At least i did not like the way it came out. And no one else did either, judging from the fact that it did not sell over two Christmas seasons on Etsy.

So I decided I didn't have much to loose if I tried to give him a bit of a makeover. I felt the body and feet and skis were fine, so I just wanted to fix the face. Since I left him with quite a large nose, there was enough material to work with. I also decide, since it was to be a Christmas ornament, I could simplify the face by carving the face smooth, simplify the nose and paint on the eyes and mouth.

And here is the result. A very much improved and cuter version of the skier. I now have the confidence to give one or two other carvings a makeover. of course, I'll still leave some of my older carvings alone. It's good to look at them and see how much I have improved in a year.

As I mentioned, I had made two of these and the other one isn't to cute either, so i plan to show the makeover in a video post. later...