re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “basswood

Work in Progress. A Wee Whale

Basswood whale in progress. It began as a block 6 x 3 x 3. If you have looked through previous posts you have seen larger whales, half whales, and whales on driftwood. This piece was an experiment in making it mini so it would fit on a smaller shelf or in a better way on a desk or end table.

I like the overall feel of the work. The markings, while perhaps not realistic, give some sense of the wrinkles and folds, the hard treatment a whale’s hide can get. It’s cute.

Work to be done? Painting. I like the light wash of color several of the other whales have. There is no strong grain here so color will add another layer of interest. I painted and earlier basswood piece a solid “whale” grey. Not sure if I really liked it. This one will get a wash. Finally, then, finding a piece of wood on which to mount it and the angle of the mounting. Suggestions? The finished piece may take a while to arrive since the whale in is Michigan and I am in China.


“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov 16:18


206 Carving in the Round. Caricature. Banana Hat.

Tom Wolfe. I believe his book is the origin of this carving design. It was an enjoyable piece to work on. When completed it would hang on a banana hook on a shelf or mantel. It could also be interesting to be on a counter next to the banana bowl or a second banana hook.

The banana hat is interesting. But the eyes are the attracting point for me. It is basswood, 4x4x12. Folk Art paint watered down 15 to 1. Sprayed with urethane, dripped in dark stain and then respirated.

Of course, I can see many things to change, but that is another story. What would you change?


“Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.” Prov 15:31

202. Carving in the round. Friend/Indian/Native American/Ancient Invader/Neighbor?

It’s a carving. It isn’t a political statement. It isn’t intended to be demeaning or defaming. It is of an Indian/Native American/tribe member/one of any number of tribes. He is holding cigars. There was a connection between him and tobacco. His clothing and head piece are an attempt at catching what he may have worn four hundred years ago. His features may be a caricature, may have some resemblance of someone past or present.

It’s a carving. Well done? I like the face. The lines are clean and clear. The hands and feet fit the description of caricature, overly large, exaggerated. I also like the coloring of skin and lion cloth. Both came out satisfactorily.

It’s a carving. Some friends are holding a sale this month. Hoping this piece goes. How much would you offer for it?


“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” Prov 15:18

200 What hobbies do you have? Carving and reading.

This is my 200th post. That should be something special. The picture below combines two of my favorite hobbies. One is obviously wood carving. The other is reading. What better thing to carve than books. (By the way, I just finished an excellent and informative book entitled, “China’s Examination Hell.”)

The books are carved from several different types of wood – white pine, basswood, and cedar. I enjoy trying to create pieces that look like old, leather-bound, well-loved books. Most are in private collections in Michigan.

Some day I may find time to tell you about other hobbies I have – learning foreign languages, collecting sand samples, drawing, propagating succulents. What hobbies do you have?


“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Prov 15:13

193 Carving in the Round. Basswood Golfer.

We ran out of time in the U.S. All our bags and boxes had to be packed. That included unfinished carvings, carvings knives, bases, brushes and paints.

Here, another unfinished carving but cute anyway. One of the benefits of putting such pieces away is the opportunity of reflecting on what comes next. Among finishing details to consider – paint colors, golf club – bent or unbent, base.

What kind of base would he belong on? Shape of base – round like golf hole or shaped like a trap? Putting green or tee off? Water hazard or sand bunker? Ball on edge of hole? Tee and ball only inches away? Does the shirt have a monogram? Are the shorts plaid or plain? Saddle shoes? Hair color?

Is the golfer a loud mouth fool or just a loud mouth? Is he laughing or crying? Perhaps these decisions will get made next summer.


“A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.” Prov 14:3

192 Carving in the Round. Not just Vegetables

Some of you will recognize the faces. Some of you will know these are eggplants. Many of you might know they are made out of basswood. Most of you will not know that these carvings were once considered scrap wood, salvaged out of a junk box.

In a way they make a strong statement to me about life, about the lives of many people. They are seen as scrap, the world sets them aside, considers them unimportant, value,es. And yet, in each is something beautiful. Can you imagine what our world would be like if we all found the beauty, the value, the spark in each person we meet. Imagine that as you work on your next project.

(In case you missed it, this is a tip of the hat to Veggie Tales and their creativity.)


“Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Prov 13:10

188 Carving Basswood in the round. Whales and tails.

Basswood is still a wood of choice. It works well, holds detail, and paints beautifully.

This whale will get painted, once we return to the States next summer. Then it will be mounted on Lake Michigan driftwood. A challenge in this carving was the tail. If you look closely at pictures four and five you will see faint black lines running through the piece. Most easily seen in the fin in picture four. These are cracks in the rough out. While much of the cracking could be cut out for the rough out, the made it necessary to position the tail as low in the block as possible. So, our whale will be diving over the front edge of a piece of driftwood to show off its gimpy left tail fluke and add motion to the carving as a whole.

How do you recover from project challenges?


“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Prov 13:24