re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “basswood

159 Fun with Vegetables. Some like ‘em Hot.

Sometimes there are just too many “good” scraps in the scrap box. You can’t burn them all, especially when it is summer and the heat index is 107. So what to do? Vegetables, of course. And in the heat, why not chilies and tomatoes.

These guys are made from basswood scraps, cut ends and odds shapes one would normally discard. The odd shapes give the added challenge of finding shapes that fit. You know, ala Michelangelo and his “David.” Yes, we are stretching it a bit, no, a lot.

While there is a great distance between the artistry of and material used by Michelangelo and these five guys, the use of reclaimed or cast off pieces is the same. And, tip of the hat to “VeggieTales, the cute smiles one can add makes them pleasing to the eye also.


“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Prov 10:4


151 Carving texture. Max’s friend(thanks Dr. Seuss).

There are many things to remember, to think about, to include in a wood carving. One carving skill to work at is texture. The carver’s goal is to create a texture that enhances the piece presented. Texture should help catch the viewer’s eye, move the eye through the carving, and/or cover otherwise bland or blah surfaces with an eye-pleasing pattern or effect.

“Max,” named after a Dr. Seuss character in a story about Yertle the Turtle and a turtle named “Max”. In the story Seuss uses “a type of meter called anapestic tetrameter.” What that meter is exactly is not key for us here, however what is important is Seuss’ use of a kind of “texture” to capture reader’s attention. His “texture” is linguistic. Our Max here is wood and his texture is the small surface marking which give him character.

You easily see the large gouge marks on his shell. Then the smaller micro-gouge marks on his legs. But also note the knife marks on his head having yet another texture. All together they are eye-pleasing.


“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Prov 19:11


148. Hand carved, Old Tar. Don’t rock the boat.

Maybe too many Popeye cartoons. Maybe a tough day at the office. Whatever the reason, this Old Tar isn’t too happy, even if he knows the ropes. Does he look like he’s all at sea or a loose cannon.

Perhaps he is upset for being ordered to “shake a leg.” This nautical term came to mean either “hurry up” or “to dance.” Does he look like a guy who would want to dance? Not all “old tars”, or sailors liked dancing. One reason for the nickname, by the way, might have been because sailors were said to use grease or tar in their hair.

This sailor is in a private collection in Michigan. Shalom.

“A good name is better than fine perfume…” Eccl 7:1a

146 Hand carved. Sperm whale ala Moby fame.

There is much to like in this piece. The driftwood base and the whale work well together. And while the whale does not have the girth of a real whale, the coloring and markings are pleasing.

Note: The story of Moby Dick was based in part on a real whale named Mocha Dick found in the Pacific in the 1840’s, but the whale in the story has some inaccuracies.


“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” Prov 22:9

144 Carving. Rustic cabin in basswood.

Swirling snow, howling winds, temperatures frozen at minus something, and darkness far too early. A good thing to think about on a sweltering summer day. It was 106 in Beijing, China the week this post was crafted.

And speaking of crafts, what do you do on such a cold, dark evening? Carve, of course. One of the things I enjoy carving are rustic cabins. This one is in basswood, roughly 4x4x6 inches. Things to notice: the grain lines, the rocks, siding texture, unfinished shingles in picture three which were finished in the other pictures. One other detail to see by comparing picture 3 and 4. The siding on the porch goes opposite direction of the rest of the cabin. Why, you ask? Easier to get at with carving tools.

I like it. You? Shalom.

“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”Prov 21:23

106 Rustic church on a Hill

How does you critique or evaluate a carving, especially your own? One thing to try is to ask questions. Another is to make observations. So, here is one of my pieces. First question, do the textures seen in this view work together?

A second question, do the colors compete or support each other?

One could also ask, is the flow or movement in the piece?

An observation is that the church seems to fit the piece of wood, neither too large or too small for it. If the rule is thirds, then the church is about one third, stairs one third, and rocks one third.

Another observation is to note the repeat of color, red steps and red in the windows, brown cross and trim, around the windows, and in wood work. Perhaps there could have been some yellow lower down or in and open window to tie in the roof.

For some reason the cross titled to the side seems to work. It adds some movement to the entire piece. What do you think?

I know it has been a while since posting, but as you can see, carving continues. Hope yours has too.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Ps 23

#58 Penguins, penguins, penguins: Coffman style.

White pine penguin -sold

A few snow days and some quiet hours have given me time to carve a small waddle of penguins. Check me out, the term is correct, when they are on land anyway. When they are in the water you call them a raft of penguins. And if they are chicks standing around in a group you have a creche (kresh) of penguins.

White pine 2

white pine 3

Basswood mini

The penguins shown here have been carved in several different types of wood. The first few photos here are a carving out of white pine.  Several things to like about this one, I think.  You don’t have smell on your computer, but the wood has a great aroma.  Also, I really like the grain and the effect it has on the piece.  And one more feature I like about this carving, the blank was cut out of a piece of white pine splintered off a log.  The block of wood was about three inches square.  The carving still has some of the rough edges on the piece.  I like the effect.

Cottonwood bark 1

Cottonwood bark 2

Cottonwood bark 3

One of my favorite materials for carving is cottonwood.  I really like the effect of the rich, dark red coloring of this penguin.  It also looks good on the uncut bark, giving the wood a “rock-like” appearance.

Butternut 2

Butternut 1

Basswood mini 2

This little guy is my daughter’s favorite.  He is done in butternut.  His plumb little body leans into you.  He has a cute charm.

Basswood, leaning into wind

Basswood, leaning into the wind

Basswood, leaning into the wind 3

The piece, like the mini, is out of basswood.  Basswood is one of the favorite materials for American wood carvers.  This piece is an attempt at creating tension and movement.  The uphill climb is real.

A basswood pair.

A basswood pair 2

Another white pine carving

The final two pictures are of small piece done in cedar.  The smell is great and the colors add a nice touch to the carving.

Red cedar 1

Red cedar 2

Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Proverbs 15:32