Picture Frame

I had posted a picture of this before,well now I’ve actually started on it this A.M.
The whole painting is a bit over 7 ft tall and 4 ft wide.The hazy side is vellum where I’m drawing the patterns for the moulding and drapery. I’ve also included a small sketch of what the final piece should look like as well as the beginning stages of the glue up. This is being done in Mahogany. I’ll also carve the rope tiebacks as well as the tassels. Along the bottom edge of the drapery I’ll duplicate the pattern seen on Mary’s robe.The top will be an actual brass rod that I’ll run through the wood and carve the wood to look like it drapes over the rod.The bottom will be a narrow shelf basically with egg & dart moulding as well as the same mouldings edging the painting.

picture_frame_01 picture_frame_02 picture_frame_03jpg

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brian D.
    May 22, 2009 @ 12:04:10

    Mark, this is great! It’s almost like getting in your brain, ooooh, scary, but fun. Ha! Big guy like me? Love your work, your student Brian D.


  2. Doug Duffield
    Jan 10, 2010 @ 18:46:45

    Mark, I think I now understand what you mean … the grape cluster and removing the space in between the grapes. On page 8 of this post, the top photo shows the individual ‘ovals’ from the design. You stop cut around the inside of the design – to a consistent depth – and then literally – popped – the inside of the design out. This broke away splitting the wood on a flat plane due to the stop cuts being at the same depth! There was no need to finish any further – no need to try to get a chisel into the area – nothing to remove! This is correct isn’t it?

    I don’t know whether to call this an ‘Ah-ha’ moment or a ‘Duh!’ moment!


  3. markyundt
    Jan 10, 2010 @ 20:26:36

    Well if you have a result from doing something you knew would not give you the intended results,,then that’s a DUH moment. You know you should have known better.

    But if you discover something that leads to knowledge and gives you understand of principles that are valuable and can be applied in other areas….well that’s an AHHH-HAAAA moment. All the pieces of your puzzle fall into ( or out of in this case) place. Now you see how things happen , why,, and what it took to make it happen.
    And I didn’t have to “teach” you one thing. I merely showed you. You taught yourself and gained a deeper understanding had I just said ” Do this, this and this with this tool…” You will,, but some aspect of learning is lost. You did it ’cause I said so.
    But no,, you saw the results and IN YOUR MIND YOU CONNECTED THE DOTS to see the principles in action. You can now , with a reasonable degree of expectations apply this to other areas and expect similar results. I didn’t teach how to carve this piece,,,and then teach how to carve a grape. No, you learned a basic principle. Make clean cuts,,consistently,,control the chisel and the wood has no option but to respond. You figured it out. Exciting ,, isn’t it. Knowing you know rather than just being a monkey see monkey do.
    Hey,, I’m excited!
    And in a similar vein, and I’m not offering this as a ” Whee look at me” type of statement but brought home a point to me that made me stop,, consider,, then mull over just what it meant.
    My apprentice was recently watching me carve. While sitting there he simply said ” Your cuts are so clean, effortless,,,It’s like the wood JUST OBEYS YOU” .
    Do what the wood wants and it has no choice. Granted I have years of experience over him but he elaborated on the observation and where his progress would continue with the understanding of seeing, and experiencing what the wood wanted. The wood doesn’t lie. It tells the truth. People lie.
    Got weird little fuzzies in the bottom of cuts? The wood is saying ” you didn’t cut me completely”
    Carvings looking a bit hacked up? The wood is saying “you didn’t obey the grain” or ” you’re using the wrong tool to get this cut”
    Seeing all those little pieces laying there you realized I wasn’t poking, hacking, digging around with little slivers left and an ugly hole that now needed some sort of ad-hock measure to clean it up. That’s what I would have gotten if I had followed most instructions.
    But by merely doing what the wood wanted,, it obeyed. I made accurate cuts ,,to consistent depths, severed all the fibers the first time around and what did the wood reward me with. A bunch of clean holes with the perfect “pop outs” all in a row. What’s left to clean up. Carve clean from the beginning and there isn’t much left. I’d rather do it right the first time,,,understand what that means,,and then DO IT. Because it works as witnessed by my resulting waste pieces. I don’t want to keep going back in some effort of cleaning it up.
    Granted , in some situations this isn’t always possible. You’re roughing out sections,,levels etc. finding forms,,and you will make final passes to clean up. But in some cases you’re able to clean up all in one pass essentially leaving little to bother with.
    Most think clean carving is scrubbing and washing it with soap and water ( Oh Good Lord it’s true,,they do it) or sanding away all your carving mistakes.
    To me, it’s doing what the wood wants.Follow that and it will reward you. And it’s not difficult to do. Actually takes less effort to carve well the first time through than go back and fix mistakes that the wood was trying to tell you all along.


    • Doug Duffield
      Jan 11, 2010 @ 02:42:04

      AAAhhh-hhhhaaa! Thanks for the pointers … but in thinking through what you have said above, and combining it with past experiences, let me bother you a little more.

      Consistency is produced by exactness. When running a production piece of equipment, all variables must be accounted for and minimized as much as possible. If you need to produce a widget with a tolerance of +/- A, the entire process must be at least 10 times more accurate than the tolerance of the finished part. If it isn’t, you will be able to produce widgets, but many will be outside the tolerance range.

      Applying this to carving – it I want to be able to cut around an area and pop the resulting area out with no fuzzies, I need to make the cuts in a very repeatable manner. How do I ‘know’ what the repeatability of my stop cuts are? If I end up with a bunch of stuff in bottom of the area looking up at me, I have failed to get the stop cuts within the required depth tolerance. I have tried to pop a inside area out on the grape carving, but couldn’t get the desired result. I made the stop cuts by hand – pushing the chisel into the wood – and the calibration of my arm is outside the tolerance required for the widget!

      When done the trim work above, you made all the stop cuts using a mallet – not with arm pressure. Through the use of the mallet, you are able to tap a repeatable depth for the stop cuts. So, long story shortened – will using a mallet produce the desired repeatability?


  4. markyundt
    Jan 11, 2010 @ 07:15:57

    In some cases it MAY. But here again tap too hard, too light and it’s not consistent. Also one thing to consider Mahogany carves differently than Basswood. It tends to carve cleaner in many respects.It tends to not be as stringy as basswood. If this were Oak that would be another situation entirely. You only have to get close to have the wood pop out of Oak and it’s almost ALWAYS clean. But more effort is required. Also the orientation of the chisel in relation to the direction of the grain will make a difference. Cutting across the grain with a certain amount of “tap” will not be as deep as when the chisel is with the grain. Whether by arm or mallet a certain amount of feel and intuition , gained through experience, can tell you how you are doing. Also, as I said, the wood will tell you as well. Now part of the reason these came out so well is the size and depth I was cutting.

    In the case of grapes possibly or other situations as I have alluded to the ability of the wood to just pop out may not occur. And too as I said it can just be the wood. If fibers are in there,, they’ll want to hang on. Grain direction is also a factor.
    With these things to consider the options of mallets vs arm power aren’t the prime determining factor. I use them alternately. If I have many cuts that have to be repeated consistently or to certain depths ( this molding, egg and dart etc.) I’ll save my arms and tap away. It sets them fast and I can just act like a typewriter. Start at one end, pick a particular cut in a certain location and make only that cut in each section across the length of the molding.Reset the chisel and repeat the process. It’s fast and easy requiring little thought or effort. In carvings such as this I’m not trying to carve each section as if it’s new. It’s consistent repeatability I’m after. I can , and have done it without mallets.. but it’s tiring over this many cuts doing the same cut again and again without break or variations.


    • Doug Duffield
      Jan 24, 2010 @ 16:48:27

      I’m making a celtic cross for one of the volunteers at our mission. The wood is from a Bartlet pear tree that was planted in her honor, but was blown down in a storm 3 years ago. I was able to salvage about 2 feet of trunk and resawed it into slabs. The wood is now dried and I’m carving it. I have experienced the ‘pop out’ in some areas of the carving. This wood is very dense and hard, so I’m also learning to ‘tap, tap, tap’, but need a lot more practice. These chisels can almost be used as a scraper in small areas. With the density of the wood, I get a fairly clean bottom with the pop – but it ain’t perfect. Some of the grain is left in the center of the area, but the chisel can be used to cut almost vertically and clean out the area.

      Well, back to the carving and more learning experience. Thanks for the insight as I probably wouldn’t have thought to try and pry out a section. it’s one of those unconventional tricks you talk about!


  5. Doug
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 20:09:18

    As you can tell, I keep going through the articles you and Doris have posted. It’s difficult for me to absorb so much and retain it. As to the reason for this post, on page three, you describe the method you use to make long curved pieces and I need some clarification. Do you dry stack the pieces edge to edge and layout the curve to be cut and then cut the curve on each piece, leaving a ‘clamp step?’ Then glue up the pieces, break off the steps, clean up the steps fragments and then hand route the radius for the E&D?

    The reason I’m asking is that this is one of the neatest tricks I’ve seen! Really ingenious if you ask me and I want to put this in my ‘tricks bag.’


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