re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Archive for April, 2011

#70 Not wood stuff: Anyone know anyone?

Something to look at

This will be a short post:

I am not sure how to state it. Seems a bit …..well not sure… tell me.

I am hoping to increase my subscriber list. I would like to share carvings, carving ideas, carving talk, cool wood and wood stories with more folks. But always, how to get the word out? Could you help? Many of you have stated how much you enjoy the posts – all 70 of them. Would you be willing to invite others to subscribe? Wasn’t hard for you was it?  Still looking?  Enjoying?   Please, consider which of your friends might also be interested. Thank you for your time and effort.


Ask me what happened.

There is a carving idea this photo somewhere.  What can you suggest?

“What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.” Proverbs 19:22


#69 Other wood: Walnut and butternut art by Rick Klompmaker

Walnut and butternut art

Some times a craftsman has to branch out.  He leaves his usual work behind or sets it aside to try something different.  His roots are still in his original love and craft, but something new beckons.  Even is other bark at him, he has to see what will come as a result of the new idea.

Close up 1

The kernel or bud of the idea takes shape in his mind.  He plants the idea on paper or in clay.  He grows the idea in his mind.  He tries all different shades of the idea.

Close up 2

Finally, his efforts bear fruit in a new project, a new technique, a new direction for his work, even though some friends and family might think he’s nuts.

Thing 1

Sometimes the idea turns into something really unique and pleasing, while other times he takes it out the garage to hide it or he sticks it into his car trunk to be disposed of elsewhere.

Original wood sculpture - Rick Klompmaker, artist

I really like the feeling of this piece.  There are two different woods here, black walnut and butternut.  But Rick has used different portions of the tree, heart wood, solid growth and sap wood.  He even has some spalted walnut adding color to the piece.  Another feature to enjoy in the piece, difficult to see in the photos, is the texture on the different parts of the work – rough cut, sanded, chiseled.  The shapes, both positive and negative, give a great look to this work.  Nice job, Rick.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  Proverbs 18:21

#68 Other Wood: Wooden flower vase by Rick Klompmaker, Tulip shape

Flower vase by Rick Klompmaker

In post #67 I mentioned that I rediscovered a carving in my sister-in-laws collection. I also discovered the vases in this post.  My brother Rick has talent, an artistic flair and access to good tools and good wood.  I have enjoyed many of his boxes and his furniture.  The boxes I talked about in an earlier post, the furniture I will feature in a new post some day soon.  For now, enjoy the work here.

Opening like a tulip petal

Beauty in wood

All three of the boxes are made out of thin planks for white cedar.  Cedar is very light weight and allows for the shaping required here.  It also has a great grain which adds to the entire pleasing effect.

Protype two

Tulip-like petal sides

A difficult miter joint to keep true

Double delight

“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
   for the ears of the wise seek it out.”  Proverbs 18:15

#67 Wood carving: Lighthouses and driftwood.

Lighthouse and driftwood, collection of Beth Klompmaker

Visiting family and friends is always a blessing, a good time.  One of the added joys for wood carvers is seeing works that have been gifted or purchased which have been pushed from memory by newer carvings and carving ideas.  This Easter weekend was no different.  The picture above was a driftwood scene I found in my sister-in-laws basement.  I remembered the piece the moment I saw it.

Lighthouse, reverse view

Lighthouse, side view

The first thing carved was the lighthouse itself.  The large size of the driftwood demanded a larger lighthouse carving than I had carved previously.  Once the lighthouse was completed and “tacked” in place the piece called for more.
So, the keeper’s house was next.

Lighthouse and keeper’s house

You will notice that the lighthouse and keeper’s cottage were set into the driftwood.  This a feeling of solidity in the face of a storm.  The setting in process came after both carvings had been completed so that they could be fitted exactly.

Lighthouse, tree and walkway detail

One of the interesting things of which I was reminded when I revisited this carving were the “scrap” trees.  Each tree and clump of trees were carved from basswood scraps.  The driftwood, picked because its gray coloring resembled the rocks of the Atlantic Coast, called for something more along its length.  I was reminded of the pines one finds on in the American Northeast.  I have traveled there with family and have always enjoyed the pines.  So, we added a few pines and pines clusters.

Another view of the “forest”

pine tree clump

You will notice that the pines do not fit into the driftwood like the lighthouse and the cottage.  This adds a bit to the realism of the piece since trees come close to the ground but do not fit neatly as “factory made” trees might.  The added benefit for the viewer are  shadows created by the tree bottoms.

A view “from the forest walkway”

One more feature makes the entire piece.  After the trees were mounted to the driftwood something was needed to tie the entire work together.  Unpainted basswood strips proved to be just the thing.  I had a hand full of thin strips of basswood left over from another project.  These were trimmed down to make the cottage landing, the walk ways, and the stairs.  The light color of the wood provides a nice contrast to the darker driftwood and the green trees.

Map of Michigan lighthouses and the carving

Two last thoughts.  First, you will notice in the final picture how my sister-in-law has augmented the piece with a map of Michigan lighthouses.  The map even has pines and rocks around the lighthouses shown.  Against the white walls the picture and the carving compliment each other well.

Second, since this is a wood carving blog, I will raise a question I often hear or give to others – Is there anything on this piece you would change.  Yes, had I known how great the entire piece would look with the trees and walkways, I would have spent a little more time on detailing the lighthouse and the cottage.  Perhaps more lines for stone or bricks or more work on the windows.   Then again, the work has to be finished sometime.  Enjoy.

“An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends  and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.”  Proverbs 18:1

#66 Other wood: 35th Duneland Woodcarvers Show.1

First place Caricature

Another view

The 35th Duneland Woodcarvers Show is complete.  The Woodland Park main hall in Portage, IN was filled with great wood carvings for show and for sale.  Larry and Carol Yudis and the Wood Craft Shop from Davenport, Iowa were there.  Other vendors provided many materials useful to the wood carving enthusiast.  It was my estimation that the Saturday crowd of visitors was stronger than last year’s.  Good to see so many children and young people attending the show.

I have lots of pictures but wanted to get a few on line to show you what there was to see.  The pictures here are first and second place carvings for Human caricature and for Bark carving.  The reason for showing these two categories out of the 40 available will be obvious to the reader.

The first pieces are from the human caricature.  First place went to John Sisun.  My set of three faces garnered a second.

Side view

Purple hat

Green hat two eyes.

Tan hat

The second set of pieces come from the Bark carving category.  Ron Muskina again took first place with his Indian bust.  Perhaps next year someone will give him a little more competition.

Ron Muskina’s winning bark carving

John Klompaker’s second place bark house

“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs    than a fool bent on folly.”  Proverbs 17:12

#65 Other wood: Reuben Margolin’s Kinetic Wave Sculptures

Okay, so you might be wondering why I am posting yet another artist’s work.  You might be asking, why isn’t he doing more of his own carving?  The truth is, schedules and duties do need to be kept and the hobby carver can’t get all the time in that he would like.  So, checking out a few web sites and receiving info on other artists via the net is far faster than completing a carving of one’s own.

That said, what Reuben Margolin’s has here, what he has done with wood, is really cool.  I know you will enjoy seeing his interpretation of wood.  His work, far different from mine, is still fun to watch.

Amazing all the different things we can do with wood.  Have you found any other web sites what artist “do wood?”  Care to share them with us?  Thanks in advance.



“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”  Proverbs 17:9

#64 Other wood: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach. Wood done a different way.

Wood is fascinating.  I have several books on wood, even the history of wood and culture.  More on that later.  For now, a quick comment on a great Youtube.  What you can’t do with wood.  A simple wooden ball, a row of wooden boards – albeit specially designed boards, a few small balls and wooden slats thrown in, and an open forest.  Really cool.  Enjoy a different way to do wood.  Then, get back to carving.