re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “carvings

98 Whale ho!

Stylized blue whale

Stylized blue whale

Do any of you remember a childhood book entitled, “Burt Dow, Deep Water Man”?  Author Robert McCloskey ( wrote about an east coast deep sea fisherman named Burt who ends up inside a whale in a gale.  The story begins with Burt hooking a whooper, a whale.  His tiny boat can’t hold the whale, so Burt removes his hook and patches the whales tail with colorful bandage.  The story ends with Burt placing a colorful band-aid on the tails an entire pod of whales.  You will have to read it to find out about the gale and the whale.

Acrylic wash over cedar finished with boiled linseed oil.

Acrylic wash over cedar finished with boiled linseed oil.

Of course, these photos are not part of Burt Dow’s story, but the whale here reminds me of McCloskey’s whales.  And certainly this whale, with the notch out of one side and a knot in the other side of his tail might be able to use one of Burt’s bandages, or two or three.


Cedar wood grain comes through in interesting ways.

But of course, this whale could be as friendly and helpful as any of the whales in McCloskey’s story.



I think the smile on this guy comes across really well.  Of course, whales don’t smile, but if they did, this is what they would look like.

Cedar wood whale on lake driftwood.

Cedar wood whale on lake driftwood.

So, another whale.  This one came out beautifully.  While cedar is not the easiest wood to work with, an acrylic wash has allowed the cedar wood grain to pour through adding another dimension of texture to the piece.  The whale is a stylized blue whale.  The piece about 12 x x 4 without the base.

The base is a piece of lake drift wood.  Some color has been added to give the feel of ocean floor.  The colors seem a bit intense in these photos, but when the piece is sitting on a counter or mantel the colors come through more subtly.  The mounting, at angle, gives the piece a little more movement.  I really like the last picture.  The shadow and light make for a happy face.

This whale is now part of the collection of Mr. Rick Buteyn.


“It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice.”  Proverbs 18:5


#54 Wood Carving: Father Christmas, Santa, holiday carvings

Father Christmas completed as promised.

A “gaggle” of carvings


As you can tell there are a passel of carvings completed here. To follow up on the story line you will need to go back to posts #21 and #25. In post #21 we introduced the process from blocks of wood to blanks to roughing out the shape.  The blocks of wood were remains of other carvings varying in size from 1.5 x 1.5 x 4 to 3 x 3 x 8.  Larger ones are in the works.

Short and wide

Tall and slender

Petit, inset face.

In post #25 we worked on details.  Hair, mustache, eyebrows and robe fur were added with various size gouges.  The eyes were set in place after a spot for them had been created.  The eyes are elongated deep chip cuts.  Also, one of the carvings has a coat of oil stain, a first attempt for me.  I did not use oil on the other carvings.

Each size with its own challenges


So, here we have the last step. I have painted the carvings with a wash of acrylic paints. I used Folk Art Bright Red, Pure White and Metal Gold. The red was diluted with water at a ratio of about 15 drops water to one drop paint. The white had much less water, just enough so that the paint would run into the cracks and not gob up or clump up.  The metal gold was painted on straight from the bottle. The final step was to dip each carving into boiled linseed oil which has a dab of burnt sienna oil pigment in it.

1.5 x 1.5 x 6.5 inches


I decided, after I had finished them of course, that a touch of green somewhere would have looked nice. Perhaps standing them on a green doily would make it work or surrounding them in a bunch of greens at Christmas time would give the color accent I am thinking of.

Two largest carvings at 3 x 3 x 8 inches

The pictures were taken outside in the sunshine – in December no less.  I used a Canon Digital Elph – PowerShot, SD 1200 IS.  I put up a card table and covered it with a white sheet.  The natural light really makes the shadows work well.  After loading the pictures on my computer I copied them into a new folder and then re-sized them for quick export into the blog or to friends on line.


They are cute.  Five of them have been given away already as Christmas presents.   If you have an interest in them, let me know.

The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.  Proverbs 15:2