re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “basswood

222. Carving in the round. Old World Father Christmas.

This is a really old piece. I like the reminders of the story of Saint Nicholas. There was a real Nicholas. He was a 4th Century Bishop of the church, a wealthy man who lived in Turkey. He became well known for his acts of kindness and gifts to the poor and needy.

His reputation was passed on to 16th Century Europe. In England “gift givers” were referred to as ‘Father Christmas,’ France ‘Père Nöel,’ Germany ‘Christkind,’ the Netherlands ‘SinterKlaas’ (notice the tie back to Saint Nicholas). And in America, Sinter Klaas became ‘Santa Claus.’ No matter what the name, this figure reminds me of the original love motivating the gift giver, a tradition worth continuing.

The piece is basswood. The colors are Old World – ivory, winter green, ruby red, white, and gold. The face is medium flesh with a rose wash. All the colors except for white, are a ratio of 1/15 paint to water. It was finished by being dipped in boiled linseed oil.

Merry Christmas, Frohe Weinachten, Joyeux Noël, Vrolijk Kerstfeest.


“Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure.” Prov 20:28


220. Carving in the round. Sparrows, Rocks, and Matthew 10.

Birds and rocks and wisdom. That is what these pieces are about. I love the curves of the birds against the less smothered curvy lines of the rocks and the straight lines of the sing and lettering. The contrast is pleasing.

I also like the dark branch lines running through in pictures 2 and 3. Basswood can have these lines at times. It makes for interesting coloration if you can work it into the piece.


“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” Prov 17:1

214. Carving in the Round. Another Rustic Cabin.

Several versions of this cabin are around. Even one posted by an online scam. Must be interesting to people. No watermark here to protect my pictures. Better wood carver than computer technician.

Three unique features here. First is the porch structure. It came about because of a miscalculation. After the piece was blocked in it became apparent that the second story of the house looked odd. That made the hole above the horizontal beam necessary. Then the porch looked odd so the porch roof was carved away and the upper triangle was cleared to let light all the way through. You can see it in the fifth picture.

The other two features are in the roof. There the roof top is angled at the outside corners as seen best in pictures one and three. And, obviously one hopes, the thatched roof effect of the entire roof is the third feature to notice.

What are you working on these days? Anything to share?


213. Egghead. Sleeping Santa.

A fun afternoon project. The design began with a hesitation to attempt another set of eyes. Easy fix, cover the eyes with the hat. Many iterations later you have this piece.

What I like about it most is the hat. The brim and tassel were first outlined with a veiner. Then the green upper part is cut with large, flat strokes. The tassel results as the upper green is completed. The brim is rough cut as a wavy line. It is then textured with a small U-gouge. He looks happy and rested, ready for cookies and milk to come.


“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Prov 16:32

211 Egg head. A Tartan Santa.

One of the joys of carving is the opportunity to try different things. This is an egghead. Many of these have been done. I have tried 500+. So why keep trying them? Variety within a field.

This head was an experiment in creating plaid. The covering could have been a traditional Santa hat painted plaid. But that didn’t seem enough. So the tam and the plaid make it. I think pitting the front edge of the tam nearly over the eyes also works. It creates a tension that helps the overall effect.


“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Prov 16:28

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