re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “carving ideas

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


101 So much wood, so little time: Sequoia National Park


I just have to share a few photos of the Sequoias of California.  It was a privilege and a blessing to walk among these great trees, grateful for their preservation and their beauty.  I am only half joking about carving them.  It would be grand to get some of this wood.  I do carve cotton wood bark, so I had gone to the park hoping to be able to find a piece of Sequoia bark.  After being there and touching one of the tree, I know better.  The bark of these giants is spongy, made up of many small scales or flakes.  I suspect it would not make a good base for a carving.

2012-06-23 14.39.07

It is difficult to imagine trees this large, and then to imagine how much wood is in one.  Not that I am in favor of cutting any of this beauties down, but, wow.  I must say that, while the pictures are stunning, being in their presences is even better.


“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”

100 Carvings ideas: China

2012-08-01 21.03.10

The pieces shown here are not done in wood.  They are all clay.  Home to them is a beautiful new museum in Tianjin, China.  So what are these photos doing in a wood blog?  Ideas, ideas, ideas.  I love looking at how artists take the real world and make it in….you name it…clay, glass, plastic, fruit, yarn, paint, pencil, steel, junk, wire, string, paper, cloth.  The variety is amazing, the talent, the creativity, stunning.   The main character here has so many great details.  Notice the tilt of his hat and the curl of the bill.  No American teen could do it better.  The shoes, both the one being repaired and his own, also have neat detail – thick soles, the kink of the leather, the stitching on his own, no laces.  A wood carver could learn much from the angles of the limbs, head, and body.  The fine details in the clothing – marks to indicate shadow or create shadow.  And, we haven’t even begun to look at the two characters in the background.  Enjoy.  Would you share what details you find interesting in the others?


A gentle answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger.  Proverbs 15:1


97 carving ideas


I am always looking for carving ideas.  Now that I almost always have an iPad with me it is easier to capture some of them quickly.  This photo hangs in a hallway in my Uncle Georg’s house in western Germany.  What caught my attention was the roof lines and the texture the artist shows us.  Having done many roofs, what I note is shapes and shadows.  Also, on the building to the right, my eye is caught by the strong line near the top denoting the final layer of thatch.  The question is then, how can that be replicated in wood.  Which tool works best, what will be the most efficient way to make those cuts.  For anyone who has not carved, part of the issue is the direction ones cut, up from the bottom of the roof or down from the top.  Experimental cuts need to be made to determine what happens to grain wood, how the grain reacts.

Sorry about the quality of this photo.  However, for my purposes, this is good enough.  What is appealing to me is the roof lines of the buildings, how they sit together, the shadows, and how the artist has created texture.  While the photo is fuzzy, the relationship between the buildings is strong enough to be appealing.  Hope you have some ideas to share.  Or, if you use some ideas from these pictures I would love to see them.


Comfort, comfort my people says your God.  Isaiah 40:1


89 Carving ideas: Philippe Faraut, Portrait Sculptor

Every wood carver learns from all other wood carvers.  Any debate on this?  One might say that a Phil Bishop or a Lynn Doughty could  not learn from a raw novice, but even they would admit to learning something along the way from “newbies.”  Perhaps they would not learn a new technique or great improvement of style, but newbies ask questions that are “outside the box.”  Those questions make the expert carver think differently about their own work.

Having argued that we all learn from each other, it should also be no matter of debate that we learn more from an “expert” in a field than from a novice or newbie.  Experts have meditated, applied, refined, and sweated over the details.  Someone like Fred Cogelow has poured thousands of hours into the art of wood carving.  Experts teach us more quickly because they have often walked the road we are on, they have experienced what we are struggling with.  So, look for experts.  Here is a clip from a sculptor I enjoy, Philippe Faraut.

Sculpting Demonstration Video Clips by Philippe Faraut, Portrait Sculptor – StumbleUpon.

I would encourage you also to look for his book    “Book 1: Portrait Sculpting:  Anatomy & Expressions in Clay  by Philippe & Charisse Faraut.”  The pictures here come from his book.  There are many more.

If God be God, then no insoluble problem exists. And if God be my God, then no problem of mine is without its appropriate solution. —Maurice Roberts


88 Other wood recycled: How to Hide Dead Trees

I really like the idea of recycling.  It just makes lots of sense.  That is one reason I enjoy carving old wood:  chair spindles, stair railings, barn boards, cut offs, thread spools.  And of course, that is also one reason I am attracted to the material below.

Here is a quote from a post sent to me.  The photos and the work are great.  “All the old cottonwood trees in the area of Craig, Colorado, had some disease and needed to be removed. So the city council approved a Chainsaw competition in the park and offered a prize. The attached pictures are a result of the competition in the park. Great artists! Great public service.”

Of course this is only the teaser picture.  The rest are in the gallery.  “Hats off” to Craig, Colorado for making such great use of lost trees.  And a double hats off carvers for their good work.  My favorites are the Trolls, the Kids, and the Giraffes.  Which ones do you like?

While I do not care for chains saws myself, I am always impressed with the skill others have developed using them.  Again, more food for thought when it comes to my own wood carving.  I have my eye on the giraffe piece.  That might look great in a piece of bass or even a chunk of cotton wood bark.  I would add some paint to them to catch the distinctive giraffe markings and give another layer of variety to a carving.

Three more things to share here.  1. I would love to hear from those of you who check out these posts.  Got any questions or anything to share about wood carving?  2.  I also ask you to consider subscribing if you have not already done so.  I am not only interested in wood carving but also in those who track carving and its ideas.  3.  And finally, do any of you have carving ideas to share?


God dwells in eternity but time dwells in God. He has already lived all our tomorrows as He has lived all our yesterdays. —A.W. Tozer


87 Carving ideas: Awesome Watermelon Carvings

What is an adjective?  A word which…..  Stunning, delightful, breath-taking, delicious, how do these all fit into one story?  And carving no less.  As you have already seen, the watermelon carvings below are gorgeous.  Skill, experience, and artistic ability all contribute to wonderful carvings.  See the link for all 75 carvings below.

The birds below are my wife’s favorites.  She has a substantial collection of them in wood, glass, metal, fabric, porcelain, and even a gourd.  But this one she won’t keep, other than as a photo.

Now how do they do that?  I know that in wood carving, if you break a piece off you still have a chance to glue it back on.  What do you use when a piece of watermelon breaks off?  Ice?  Hmmmm.  Adds to the difficulty if you ask me.

75 Awesome Watermelon Carvings.

A God who could pardon without justice might one of these days condemn without reason. —C.H. Spurgeon