re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “basswood

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

186 Carving in the Round. Aye, aye, captain.

The sea captain, along with several other carvings which will be shown in the near future, are unfinished because I have run out of timeout to our move to China. They will be shown unpainted now. Perhaps, when we return to the States they will be completed.

Nevertheless, I like him. He is made out of basswood and stands about six inches tall. One feature which stands out for me is his smile. I also like the texture of his beard.


“Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded.” Prov 13:13

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