re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

#46 Wood Carving: Humpback Whale completed


Humpback whale completed

I like getting things accomplished. My family says I live with lists, long lists, unrealistic lists – at times, but lists which get updated, rearranged, added to and subtracted from all the time. Lists make my life a little easier and keep me from forgetting to do the things to which I have committed.

humpback, top view

Headed for the surface

Humpback, side view

This post is one of the things on my list. I have promised carvings to many people always with the caveat: it will get there when it gets there. Several months ago I did a sperm whale for a family member. It was well received. And then came the next line we know, “Could you do a humpback?” Don’t get me wrong, I like being asked to carve things. I just like to get them finished in my own time. Carving is a hobby, not my job. So, the humpback stayed on the list.

Then Christmas comes and lists get pushed. People call, my conscience clangs a little louder, my table of partially completed carvings gets more loaded down. I have to complete something. Family first. So, the whale.

Brushes used

Drill and dowel for mounting

My work space for painting

Of course, there is always more to it than the non-carver knows. Resources need to be rounded up – wood, tools, paint, brushes, base, pictures, dimensions, color choices, finishes, time.  Tools include knives, gouges, pencil, drill, ruler, diagrams,

And not everything works the first time. On this whale I had a struggle with two things. First was the curve of the spine and its effect on the position of the tail. In fact, this whale is a second piece. The first is sitting on my carving table. After I began I wanted more motion in the piece – as I related in the first post on the whale.

The second difficulty was with the fins. Without giving away too many things, let me just say that I broke one of them off twice!

That is the down side. The up side is, as always, when one carves one learns all kinds of things. I did not realize the colors one finds on a humpback.  I was ready with my basic black and white, perhaps some grays.  But when I researched the whale I noticed many other colors.  Some come from the barnacles and seaweed attached.  Some of the skin colors I can not explain.  I include here a list of the paints I used for this piece:

Folk Art 479 Pure Black; Folk Art 480 Titanium White; Folk Art 922 Bay Berry; Cermacoat 2116 Black Green; Cermacoat 2044 Coral; Deft Clear Wood Finish – Gloss (first coat); Krylon No. 1311 – Matte finish (final coats)

Paints used

Another upside is that one learns much about the subject being carved.  The humpback is a baleen whale and a rorqual whale that sings amazing and beautiful songs. (wikipedia)  The knobs on their heads are tubercles – hair follicles.  Would certainly make it hard to shave.

Front view

A final view – more of the base

okay, one more

The base of the carving is a piece of drift wood.  Sad to say, I have not identified the wood type.  It is heavy, but that may just be the sand imbedded or it is a type of wood like manzanita.  I like the reddish color and the shape which accents the whale nicely.

Now the final step.   Tomorrow this humpback whale will leave my house.

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’”  Genesis 1:26


5 responses

  1. That looks GREAT! And what a great paint job! You must feel very proud. The base is perfect.

    Keep up the good work!

    December 29, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    • Thanks Yaakov. Glad you like it. I am pleased with the work. Psalm 90:17 John

      December 29, 2010 at 9:27 pm

  2. Jeff Postma

    John, It turned out great. You may have found a new niche in the carving world. :) Now we just have to get you a dust collector to speed up things on your list.

    December 30, 2010 at 5:46 am

    • Thanks Jeff, now there is a good thought/excuse for getting to Harbor Freight. It was a lot of fun. I think I will put more pink on the belly next time. Also saw one whale that had white all the way to the tip of the tail. I think it would have looked good on this one. But, it is being picked up today. How are things? Shalom.

      December 30, 2010 at 8:34 am

  3. Pingback: How to Carve a Wooden Whale | Wood Workings

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