I have said I don’t like to do the same things twice but when you’re in business there are times and circumstances where you simply have to. This is one of those times.
I do considerable work for many different types of companies and they have carvings that are needed on a regular basis as it’s part of their “inventory” that they use. Now what I do is make the initial prototype for them and keep a copy on hand. Then , as they need another piece I have a model on hand to copy. I then just carve it in whatever wood they need for their job and send it off. Some pieces are in my opinion rather ordinary but the process , and work, is fun and keeps me busy.
These capitals were rough sketched by someone at this business,, I took their idea and refined it a bit and then carved a piece for their approval. There are times when changes could be made so I’ll also make models in clay . It’s faster, easier to change if changes are necessary to get a piece to the point where they’ll say “We want that one” Then I’ll carve a master for a permanent record.
Now that I have this master and the fact that time is money I can put it in my duplicator and rough out as many copies as I wish. Since this is “their” piece I’ll only do this carving for them. Also in this way I’m able to make my own “rough outs” similar to the ones some carvers buy from carving suppliers. I don’t use any other rough outs besides the ones I make myself. After all,, this is custom work and that’s what my customers are paying for.
The process is pretty straight forward. Prep the wood,, glue it up into the proper size blank ( slightly oversized) mount it in the duplicator alongside the original and let the machine do the grunt work. I always thought this seemed a bit like cheating but as I said previously time is money. And in this case I need just two. There are times where they may need a dozen of these at one time. Overall I’ve done maybe 50-60 of these pieces and they all have to be identical. Now I could start with a block. rough it out using chisels.. find the shapes,, make sure they all match with repeated measurements etc. and take hours of fussing to do this. Or…. Make a master and copy it accurately. Now all I have to do is finish carving it, give it a bit of finesse and off I go.
It really speeds the process. I still have to carve the details. But the forms are found quickly.
Here are the initial steps prior to the carving. That duplicator can get rather accurate. If I use an even finer router bit the carving could be that much closer. But to me what’s the point? I have to carve it regardless and the time spent on the duplicator isn’t worth the slight bit of extra details.
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