Tree carving part 4

I was anxious to start on the leaves as I know this can add some life to the piece.

Using a router I first made small cutouts spaced around the edges of the leaves. The router makes quick work of this by removing material quickly rather than doing it all by hand. I still have to go in with a chisel and clean them up but removing stock is the only objective here.

I then laid in lines for the main veins as well as  lines that extend from the center vein to the edge. These lines are first cut in with a V tool then using flatter chisels the cut is rounded over onto the surface of the leaf. I then use a large gouge to cut a cove from the cutouts along the edge towards the center of the leaf. Doing this adds some movement and interest to the leaf.

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Off to the lower right in this photo is a nearly completed leaf. The others show the initial cuts with the V tool and I will focus in on the one at the center top.

 

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Here are the cutouts as well as the main vein and the smaller ones that lead to the edge of the leaf.

 

IMG_3643The veins have bee radiused into the surface and the large gouge creates a cove from the cutouts towards the center vein.

 

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Showing the leaf lit from different angles reveals the undulations created by the veins and coves.

 

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And a variety of leaves in different states of being carved,, sanded,, etc.

 

 

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Tree Carving part 3

Over the Holidays I was able to get at least some work done. I recarved the entire upper left section of the tree giving it a more graceful sweep upwards. Originally this area looked too square and ‘blocky’ to my eye.  Also I got the remainder of the branch and leaves roughed in.  As the tree extends all the branches naturally get much thinner and the leaves change direction subtly. I wanted the end of the branch to appear a bit lighter and less bulky than the main area of the tree.

I also got the baby chicks in their nest.  Like my own children , one is chattering away calling for food or Mom and the other is quiet and sitting contentedly.

The adults have also been roughed into place. Here , Mom is looking back towards the nest with here babies and Dad is sitting on a branch all plumped up surveying his domain and keeping watch.

This family of birds housed in this tree sounds like my home at one time!

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Here is the area that I recarved. It now sweeps more gracefully and isn’t as blocky looking to my eye.

IMG_3630Looking back across the arch of the branch where all the leaves have been roughed into place. About half way across this span is where the adult birds are sitting. The nest is very near the main trunk.

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The end of the branch where the leaves and stems become lighter looking and change direction a bit.

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The chicks sitting in their nest.

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The adults with the Mother looking back towards the nest and the father looking out for them.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 51,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 12 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Tree Carving part 2

At this point all the gluing up is completed. At last count I was just over 100 pieces  that were prepped and put in place. I’ve also used a gallon and a half of glue.

As you’ll see the trunk is carved and I’m working my way into the upper branches and leaves. Though nature always looks good in it’s random arrangement of leaves/branches, in a carving everything has to have a flow to it in order to give it some movement and life. I do this by trying not to have the leaves look  “stiff” and giving them some curves and sweeps.  You can see the curved ‘S’ lines I use on the leaves and having each twist and turn a bit while following an overall movement in their direction.

I’m also planning on re-carving the left hand side of the upper branches as I feel they look a bit to square at this point. That’s the advantage of roughing everything into place and not having any one thing completely carved. It allows me to make changes as I go along to have everything live in harmony and look balanced and graceful.

 

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Here is a view looking up the trunk. I will go back and add texture to this area in the form of chiseled cuts. This will add some texture to the trunk and give it some interest.

 

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Part way up the trunk I encountered a knot. Instead of trying to carve it which is very difficult and generally makes a mess I turned it into a branch ( which it once was) and made it appear as if the branch was pruned at one time.

 

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This is a view from the far right of the extended branch looking back towards the trunk. This will require quite a few leaves and branches to complete it. This span is nearly 9 ft across (7 to the trunk)

 

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The area where the branches start to fan out from the trunk. The cuts in the trunk lead up to where these branches begin adding to the flow of the piece. Just under the chisel handles in the upper right of the photo is the area where a birds nest will appear , holding two chicks. It will settle into a crook of the branches.

 

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A view from the top where you can see the flow of the leaves. This is the area that will be re-carved.

 

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The same area as the above shot just from a lower viewing angle.

 

 

Tree Carving

In the past I’ve done two versions of this current project. Those consisted of two tree trunks on either side of a refrigerator /freezer with the branches arching over the top.

In this piece it will be mounted on the left side of a built in entertainment cabinet with the branches arching over the top.

It stands 8 ft tall and the branch alone will extend at least 7 ft. from the trunk. Including the tree itself and the other branches it will span approx. 9-10 ft. wide when done.

Butternut is the wood being used for this and currently there are over 45 blocks in place with maybe another 25 or so needed to finish the glue up.

Details on the tree itself, besides the leaves and branches will be a Squirrel sitting at the base of the tree, a birds nest carved into one of the branches which will have two chicks in it and two adult birds carved further out on the branch.

I’ll keep post updates as the glue up and carving continues.

This is one of the two completed tree carvings done in the past shown here for reference.

This is one of the two completed tree carvings done in the past shown here for reference.

This is the center section for the above tree carving. It was done it three sections with this one being over 6 ft. wide.

This is the center section for the above tree carving. It was done it three sections with this one being over 6 ft. wide.

Here is a view across the span of one of the original carvings during the carving stage.

Here is a view across the span of one of the original carvings during the carving stage.

 

 

Here is a sketch of this current project

Here is a sketch of this current project

The initial glue up of the trunk.

The initial glue up of the trunk.

 

Clamping up the "roots" of the tree. There will also be a Squirrel sitting here.

Clamping up the “roots” of the tree. There will also be a Squirrel sitting here.

 

The beginnings of the top of the tree which will end up being approx. 4 ft. across. To the right is where the branch will attach.

The beginnings of the top of the tree which will end up being approx. 4 ft. across. To the right is where the branch will attach.

 

In order to attach the branch I made these cutouts to secure bolts in order to draw the two sections together. This particular joint will be a series of interlocking pieces to avoid a flat joint.

In order to attach the branch I made these cutouts to secure bolts in order to draw the two sections together. This particular joint will be a series of interlocking pieces to avoid a flat joint.

 

Top view  showing the growing mass of the upper part of the tree.

Top view showing the growing mass of the upper part of the tree.

 

It's starting to gain some thickness with each glue up.

It’s starting to gain some thickness with each glue up.

I needed to get the Squirrel in place prior to carving the roots which will appear to come out of the floor.

I needed to get the Squirrel in place prior to carving the roots which will appear to come out of the floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Carved Crucifix

This is the follow up and last installment of the prior post , Fix some Cracks…

Here I’ll do a quick recap showing the body and then continue on with the last items to be made for the Crucifix.

I had to make the nails for the hands and feet. Being that there were some rather large holes there I decided to use hex head bolts, counter sink the heads into a piece of wood and epoxy the bolt and a washer to the underside of the piece of wood. My reasoning is the washer will take any load better than a glued piece of wood, even though these aren’t holding the body to the Cross.

I didn’t show the process of making the Cross but it’s made from Mahogany. I used two boards 1″ thick X  7″ wide for the face. To make it appear as if it’s a thicker timber I added  1″ X 1″ strips around the perimiter to make it appear as if it’s solid. Once done I carved the ends to look like old weathered timber showing the end grain and for texture gouged the surface.

The scroll was made from one piece and the idea is to look like a scroll of paper. I think curled up like this looks better than just a flat , painted panel.

The painting on the piece drove me nuts! I wanted to achieve a look that didn’t appear as one solid color and have it look new. I also didn’t want a true flesh color. I wanted to have some old layers of paint in the nooks and crannies to indicate age. And , I wanted to see some wood and grain show through. It doesn’t read as well in the photos but it works .

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK,, that’s where I was.

Here are the bolts and some shots of how they went together.

 

 

 

 

Now for the scroll. It’s Basswood, painted in primer here.

 

 

 

 

 

Now on to the rest of it.  Photos I think at this point is all that’s really needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed it and found something useful.

 

 

 

 

My other “hobby”

Naturally being a fan of sharp tools and playing with them I just had to make these. I have been restoring and collection all sorts of antique razors. Everything from the old Gillette double edges to straight razors. Some that I use date back to the mid 1800’s.

Well the next step was for me to make my own from scratch. I started with blanks of tool steel. Cut them out, shaped the blades, heat treated and tempered them and then make the scales or handles.

The first one here is a Japanese style called a Kamisori. The unusual feature of a razor like this is the asymmetrical grind of the blade which is actually off center. One side of the blade is fully hollow and the opposite side is half hollow. Also, most Kamisoris do not have any handle or scale material as they are usually left in one piece of steel. I decided to add brass liners with Giraffe bone scales in order to dress mine up a bit along with doing some file work along the tapered spine.

The second is a more traditional type razor with folding scales. Here too I started with blank steel, cut it out, shaped the blade, did the file work along the top of the spine and then made Cocobolo scales for it.

It’s not carving per se,, but I did have to “carve” the steel ,, design it,,and do a bit of woodwork. Learning to handle these types of razors is a bit of a learning curve as opposed to an electric ,, or cartridge razor but I enjoy the challenge and the skill set necessary for the closest shave you can get. And having made the tools to do this only makes it all the more enjoyable.

 

The stand is for display / photo purposes only.

 

This is the full hollow side where the grind goes from the top of the spine to the edge. The opposite side is only done half way.

 

 

 

Here you can see the file work that is on top as well as along the bottom of the handle area along with the sculpted brass liners under the Giraffe bone scales.

 

A general indication of size. The blade itself is approx. 2 1/2 inches long and the overall length is 6 1/2 inches.

 

 

Here is the traditional type razor I also built.

 

 

 

 

And a view of the file work on the spine. The blade by the way is 3/16 ” wide so this work is relatively small but does add some grip when handling a wet soapy razor. Then too,, I think it adds a bit of  “eye candy” .

Hope you enjoyed these.

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