re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

#36 Wood Carving: Accidents will happen.

What is the difference between an amateur and a professional?  Since I am a junior high school teacher, this question comes up often in various forms.  We talk a lot about driving cars.

Tiny pieces

The more self-assured guys and girls believe they are ready, at age 14, to drive.   We have a great time talking about what they know about cars, operations, rules and dangers.  There are many students who don’t even want to think of driving yet, but the braver ones are ready, now.

Tiny, minus some pieces

Our discussion will always come back to, “Why can’t we drive Mr. K?”  My response runs this way.  We know you know how to drive cars – “yeah, I’ve driven down my street lots of times (don’t tell the cops).”  And we know you know a lot about the parts of cars, gassing it up, caring for it (not that you always do without being ordered to do so).  And we know you could handle yourself on the road, all that four-wheeling experience comes into play.  But, and here is the amateur/professional tag line, what happens when things go wrong?

Tiny, up close and personal

My students often do not reflect on what they would do in the driver’s seat when things go wrong on the road.  They have not seen many deer on the road, held the wheel with a flat tire going, needed to avoid a pot hole, dealt with ice and snow on the road or faced the unexpected motorist in the wrong lane.  The point, the amateur (inexperienced) driver will not react correctly to the sudden problems which arise on the road.  The professional, in contrast, is much more adept at dealing with those sudden problems.

A Tiny side view

It is no different in the world of carving.  The amateur sees a carving ruined by a wrong cut or a broken piece.  The professional sees just one more obstacle to overcome to arrive at a finely finished piece.  Carving, and much of life, is about having a goal, identifying the problems and difficulties, and overcoming them with class and style.

So, here is “Tiny,” broken into several piece after being knocked down, having been placed in a poor location.  Now the question, what must be done to salvage him.  Steps to follow – clear the pieces of any debris, select the correct glue, refit the pieces, re-carve any place needing work and then painting the hat in such a way that no one will know the difference.

We will show Tiny refitted and completed later.

By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place.  Proverbs 3:19


5 responses

  1. Jeff Postma

    John with this carving damage I would take it to the band-saw and remove the hat. Cut a new one out and carve it to fit then pin it on. That way you could still do the wash of paint and not see glue lines

    December 7, 2010 at 6:23 am

    • Thanks for the suggestion Jeff. Still pondering the solution. Will let you know what happens.



      December 7, 2010 at 6:49 am

  2. Another comment made by my friend Dave S., a retired education professor from Michigan State. He said, “Several years ago a cognitive psychologist asked a variation of your question. He looked at how much time is needed to reach “expert” level. He proposed that we need about 5000 hours on a task to become an expert.” 5,000 hours gives you a lot of time to experience “bumps in the road” and learn how to handle them. Thanks Dave.

    December 7, 2010 at 6:52 am

  3. Hi John, it was nice to see you on Saturday. You asked for my blog, it is
    I hope you enjoy it!
    Jane C

    December 7, 2010 at 10:11 am

    • Thanks Jane. I will check it out.
      Shalom, John

      December 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm

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