re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

#20 Carving in the sunshine


Carving a cypress knee in the sunshine

There is no better place to carve than outside in the sunshine, especially with friends.  Two friends, Ed and Jeff, and I spent last Saturday carving in my back yard.  Jeff worked on a cypress knee while Ed and I worked on some bark houses.

Ed carving a cotton wood bark house

Jeff has received  lessons for the cypress knee from another carver so we left him on his own.   He was working on a few of the extra details for the piece.

Ed was making his first attempts at carving houses out of cotton wood bark.  We talked about setting up the piece first.  We looked the bark over for defects, taking off the lose or weak pieces.  Then we drew on the back of the bark to get an idea of how we wanted the house to stand on a hill, the angles of the roof line, walls and hill.  Next we began to rough in the roof, the walls and hill lines.

Ed and Jeff carving 10 9 10

Cotton wood always forces you to deal with weak spots, pieces that fall off or break off in the process of carving.  Ed’s piece had two wings, but one broke off while the piece was being handled.  In the end the carving


Carving cotton wood bark in the sunshine

will actually be stronger as a result of have less wood.  Ed had to figure out how to make the house fit on the rearranged piece.

After roughing in the house and spotting it correctly on the hill the next work was to begin adding windows and doors.  On bark house I tend to make the doors and


Tools of the craft

windows oversized so they are easier to set in and carve.

The tedious work began here.  Roof lines had to  be finally set in and shingles drawn out and carved.  Doors and windows had to be pierced to let light through.  Exterior siding were sketched on and carved in.  Details for the hill, rocks, benches were added at this point in the carving.

Stop cutting Santa's gift bag.

While we did not get the project completed the final steps after details are fixed in place will be to spray the piece with sealer bringing out and preserving  the rich colors of the bark.  And then the piece is ready for signing and dating.  And, as Jeff keeps reminding us, once the piece is signed no more carving on it.

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

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