re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “carving tips

156. Carving Recycled Wood. IKEA bed frames 3.

One of the reasons I like looking at the work of other carvers is all the details, the ways they make a block of wood look like something. It isn’t a real Native American that Lynn Doughty creates (post 155), but his cuts, burning, positioning and painting give a very strong impression of reality.

I invite you to look for some of the same things in this unpainted third piece done from an IKEA bed frame. Note the roof lines are not flat even though it doesn’t have shingles. There is also a contrast between the parts of the siding with board lines and those without. (At this point I can not remember if the upper story got vertices board lines or not. It needed them) The curve of the chimney adds strength to the over-all effect. And it is balanced nicely with the dormer window opposite.

One thing I like carving is rocks. The base of this carving is made much more interesting with the addition of rocks, the undercutting, and the large rock thrusting through the foundation into the rest of the piece. Compare the different handling of rocks and foundation in the previous carving in posts 145 and 152.

This carving is also in a private collection in China or the U.S.A., depending on owner residency.


“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.” Prov 15:22(NLT)


134. Carving: A book to know.

One thing that attract me to wood carving is trees. Now that might sound to obvious, but trees – their shape (both positive and negative), color, smell, bark, leaves, sound, feel, climb-ability – are a big part of carving for me. That is why I recommend wood carvers have a few books on trees and wood around.

One book worth having is “The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees.” This field guide is filled with many interesting facts, wonderful color plates and much information useful to a wood carver. Its introduction tells us that there are over 50,000 species of trees in the world. Only 680 of them are native to America. Wood carvers are always looking


for different wood to carve. Good, basic wood types – bass, butternut, sugar pine, white pine, birch, walnut, oak. But just this one fact about s pieces opens up worlds of possibility for the carver. So many kinds of wood to try, so little time.

The color plates of tree bark and leaves are also useful. Audubon divided the plates into groups by leaf shape and structure. Further subdivisions by tree types allows the reader to quickly find a type of tree of interest. Tree identification is aided by the plates provided. Cottonwood bark carvers become much more aware of tree bark, its beauty, and variety.

One other feature that a carver may find useful is the section giving tree descriptions, habitat, and range. Carvers looking for different kinds of wood, assuming they are a bit more adventurous and aren’t just going down to the local lumber yard, will know where the tree of interest can be most easily found.

Audubon’s Field Guide for North American Tree is a valuable and interesting tool for any wood carver.

112 Beach Bones 3. Vertebrate? Petrified Swiss chess?

Thank you for checking in on this blog.

Do you have some? Wood, art work, art work intention pieces that you hold on to for a long time? This piece of driftwood was carried around the U.S. for many years. Many plans were made for it but they never materialized, were discarded, or died in the thought process. One plan for this wood was to make it the base, a rocky shore, for a light house. Another involved a fishing village, stairways, boats, and a wharf.

Finally the piece’s beauty and an idea came together. The idea was to keep things simple so that the beauty of the water-worried wood could stand out.

The base is a heavy pine spray painted black. The muted color of the wood and the rich, but somber black, called for something. Thus the polished brass peg on which the driftwood is mounted giving a glint of color or shine.

Also delaying the piece was deciding how to mount the wood, which took several hours to think through and experiment with.

Vertical mounting, to give the work height, was the first option. Which end to place down also needed to be answered. One reason this became a challenge was the internal weakness of the driftwood in the places where the peg would be inserted.

Horizontal mounting was explored next. This idea had merit since the piece would make a fine fireplace mantel display. However, the over all length then became challenging. Two pegs? Too plain and boring?

As you have seen, a tilted mounting was chosen for a variety of reasons. One reason, the angle gives the piece motion and tension. A second was that it provided a more secure place to place the brass peg allowing the piece to survive use and display. Yet another consideration was how the angle gave the best possible viewing of the many pleasing facets in the driftwood.

And pleasing it is. The texture, holes or negative spaces, the coloration, and mounting all add to the overall pleasure of the piece. Which is most interesting to you?

Thanks again for checking in. This piece and many more can be found on my Pinterest account – John Klompmaker. Also, Beach Bones 3 is still available. (I neglected to mention in BB2 that all three of the driftwood ships have been sold.)

Grace and peace to each of you. (John 20:31)

Carving in cottonwood.


A different slant on things 1a



A different slant on things 1b


Another carving.  Three  photos to go with our article.  Amazing what one can learn.  Of course, we aren’t saying how long it took.


Cottonwood is one of my favorite materials to use.  As you can see, the bark of the cottonwood can be very thick.  The exterior layer is usually gray and dark.  The fun begins when the exterior is open and the grain of the bark is displayed.


A different slant on things 1c


Rich, deep reds, browns and yellows interplay in pleasing and exciting patterns.  Before finish coats are added the exposed bark is a soft brown, often unremarkable. When a coat of sealer or wax is added cottonwood bark really stands out.

Cottonwood is a pleasing wood to carve.  It is softer than most carving material.  It holds detail nicely.  One drawback is its fragility.  When carving, you always need to be aware of the pressure being put on the various parts of the carving.  Flexibility in design is a must when carving with cottonwood.

This piece is for sale today at a 10% discount on the Gift shop price.  Contact me if you are interested.

Trying something new

Man, the trials and tribulations of trying something new.  I have worked for a long time to just get one picture from an external hard drive on to this blog.  I have deleted, reloaded, rewritten, reentered until I am sick of it.  And you only get to see one picture of one carving.  There are 500 more to see.  Perhaps the Gallery and Gift site will one day have many more.

Have you tried carving yet?  It will be the same.  Trial and error.  Get excited after seeing something interesting.  Try.  Struggle and frustration.  Put it away.  And then, try again.  Something!  A carving someone recognizes.  A carving someone wants.  A carving you like. (By the way, those will be the ones you won’t want to let go.)   Keep at it.  Would love to hear anyone’s “first time” story.  It could be a carving story, but any one will be great to hear.

And if anyone has some advice for a carver trying to use tech to share a passion in his life give me a comment.  Trying something new is always more fun when you share the trouble and the triumphs with others.

Carving Tip #1: Hold on to some of the first carvings you do.  Resist the temptation to throw them into the fire Put them into a box labeled “Early Work.”  On occasion take them out. You will be amazed at your progress.

#10 Want to know more about wood carving?

Does wood carving interest you? Are you fascinated by carve objects in the store or at the museum? Do you like wood, the feel, smell, look of good wood? Then you might want to check out the web site of Wood Carving Illustrated. It is one of the great resources available to the world’s wood carvers. I have placed the URL below.
This site has something for everyone. The galleries are filled with wonderful carvings by artists from around the world. Visitors can view the carvings, comment on them and even contact the artist via the site.
The chat threads provide all sorts of interesting and useful information. Beginners (newbies) can “listen in” on old hands discussing techniques and treatments. Long time carvers can share ideas and asked more detailed questions about the craft of carving.
One neat feature provided is the ability for carvers to take pictures of their work and to down load them on to the site for all to see. Artists can store albums of pictures which can be searched by all who visit the site.
One other feature anyone interested in carving might enjoy is are the teaching/training videos. These are great resources for the endless questions new and old carvers alike always have.
The Wood Carvers Illustrated web site is a social club on line. Many of the regulars have been chatting with each other for years. They meet each other on line and at shows around the country and the world. This site displays some of what makes the hobby of wood carving one of the best in the world, good people, eager to help, willing to share, a craft, an art,  anyone can enjoy.  Hope you enjoy the site as much as we do. Shalom.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath.” Proverbs 15:1