re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Author Archive

169 Cottonwood bark carving. A two-flat.

I like cottonwood bark. Here is one sample that fits its piece of wood nicely. One feature that comes off well is the carved rocks at the base which then draw the eye into the uncarved bark that begins to to look rock-ish.

This piece would go best on a mantle or shelf where it could be turned so that the stairs and arches along the right side would show most. Which gets your attention more, rocks or stairs?


“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” Prov 12:1


168 Carving in the round. Gone fishin’

One of my best friends and I often went fishing and kayaking together. I never could get him interested in carving though. This carving is in his widow’s collection in Illinois. I think of him when I see it.

Let’s start at the base. It is a piece of oak, a piece retrieved from a scrap bin at a clock factory in Holland, MI. Ice fishing requires making a hole in the ice, usually a round one. I tinted the wood blue(but perhaps it could have been a little stronger blue since so many miss the ice connection). I drilled the hole for the fish line and realized the dust would make a good “ice” pile around the hole.

The fisherman and box are a solid piece of wood. The figure is fairly simple. The eyes help make the piece attention getting.

Oddly, the goofy little ice fishing pole was the most challenging. The one in the picture in not the first one. Several early models broke. There is a balance between the slender pole and pressure from the fish line fastened to look like it is weighted. I might not use basswood for the next pole. One final detail, the “hook” is a needle cut to length. It was used so it could be tacked into the base to hold the line. How would you do the pole differently?


“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Prov 11:25

167. Carving Recycled Wood. IKEA bed frames 5

Posts 145, 152,156, 160. Those are posts where you can find cabins 1- 4.

This one has its own unique and interesting qualities. First the large knot in the base. Its location is not an accident. The wood was turned and viewed from every angle. Finally, given the limited number of tools available at the time of carving, it was decided that the knot needed to be in the base.

Then, how to incorporate it into the base? The result, a large rock which allowed for very limited carving to the knot itself.

Another pleasing feature is the roof. Both the wavy carving lines and the wavy growth rings make an attractive top to the cabin. And these lines offset the chimney well.

One choice I am not so sure about is the size of the smaller wall rocks. Should they have been larger. What do you think?


“The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.” Prov 10:14

166. Woodwork from other places, China. Qîngzuò. Please sit down.

I know, it isn’t really wood carving. But, there is wood work done. This stool is more than 150 years old. It captures my attention for several reasons. First is the hand labor involved. Rounding the seat must have taken some time. Shaping the legs as well. Did you notice the slight curve to them. A nice detail. And then there is the work done to slot the legs into the seat, terrific.

A second reason to like this piece is the recycling done. The owner believes the seat was a wheel of some kind, hence the square hole in the top. The seat reminds me of ancient Chinese coins with their square or round holes so they could be threaded and carried on a string.

A third reason to like this stool is the character of the wood. Holes, unfinished edges, color, cracks, and growth rings make this an eye-pleasing object. What do you think?


“Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” Prov 11:17

165 What do you see? Shear elegance.

Before you read further, look at the picture for a while. What are you looking at?

Okay, it isn’t wood, but it is an amazing carving. The material is stone. The artist has worked the stone to look like a gauzy, shear cloth draped over a face. You looked back at it, didn’t you? I just did as I type this to be sure of what I am saying. Now to get that quality in wood.


“A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth.” Prov 11:16

164 Woodwork from other places 15, China. Boxed in.

Have I said it already? I love old wood work, handmade things, aged, softened by use. This box is a great example of what catches my eye. I am told it is a measuring box used in a grain market. In a world of plastic and pot metal, these types of pieces hold charm.


“Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing.” Prov 11:7

163. Cottonwood bark. Farmer Ed.

Have you looked through the 162 posts of this site recently? I have. Things start out rather rough; I was learning the blogging ropes, new photography, editing, etc. Some early photos weren’t very good. Some early links have disappeared.

This I noticed, the first four posts back in 2011 were cottonwood bark. Many more followed. Here is a listing of bark posts to date: 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 14, 28, 33, 62, 66, 70, 73, 83, 102, 103(83), 107, 111, 118, 120. There are several I really like: a second-place award winner with an exterior staircase,p; two big, tooth grinning faces; a sailboat and sea captain pair; and a church with a “repaired” front door.

Then we have the farmer below. I really like him. His smile is appealing. He fits this piece of bark well. This was a first try at neck details which I find satisfying. And the coloring, a wash style, also fits well. Anything else you notice?


“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Prov 11:2