re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “Christmas

162 More Christmas tree options. Evergreens, a symbol of hope.

Always looking for creative new ideas. Here are two ways to use scrap or small stock to create holiday gifts. While winter and Christmas are months away, now is a good time to think about projects, materials to gather, scheduling of carving, painting, and deliver of pieces completed.

Posts 127 has two of my creations, one in basswood with bark on it and a second stylized trees in cedar scraps. Post 130 has a mass production version for ideas. Have you any other Christmas tree ideas?


“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” Prov 10:17


136. Carving a Christmas tree stump.

Are you one of the shrinking group of Americans who still buy a real Christmas tree.  My wife and I are.  We love the smell of pine, the color of the tree, the decorating and the beauty.  Now I have to ask, what do you do with your Christmas tree once January rolls around?

You might be saying, but this is June, this is way too early.  We having gotten past Thanksgiving or even summer.  And that is the usual response.  But when you are carving you have to think ahead.  You have to prepare to have wood available to carve when it is time to carve.  You have to think about sources of wood.

One source is the trunk of the family or neighbor’s Christmas tree.  After Christmas, usually right after New Years, when all the decorations come down, take the tree into the back yard or into the garage.  Cut off the branches and the top third of the tree trunk.  Put this trunk into the rafters of the garage where it will remain until August or October.  Then take down the dried out trunk, cut it into pieces and begin working.

On these carvings I use power tools to cut more than blanks and rough outs.  The pine tree is plenty hard, knotty, stringy so power helps the project along.  Rough out the shapes desired. Finish with knives and gouges. Pine trees do take thinned acrylic paints rather well.


Snowman on a stump

The nicest carvings I have been making from tree trunks are snowmen.  I have also made Father Christmas faces.

#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

#38 Other interesting places

I like working with my hands, as you might have noticed.  I also enjoy creativity.  This does not have to be my own work, the creativity of others is attractive.  I know many very creative people who do wonderful work.  Their work is in wood, fiber, with pen or a computer.  Here are four sites you might check out sometime.  If you have others, please let me know and I will post them as well.

The first artist is Aaron Viles.  His turned bowls and pens are elegant.

The second “artist” is Mel Jongsma.  She did not do the drawings, she writes and the drawings go along with her stories.

The third artist is Jane Compeau.  Jane displays  a lot of interesting fabric, fiber work in addition to her own.

The forth artist is Rick Klompmaker, my older brother, who makes some truly eye catching boxes and canoe paddles.  Only the boxes are sampled here.

I hope you will find the time to check out the work which I am only able to sample here., 2, 3

Lifelines, Christmas story retold, Christmas story

Lifelines, Christmas story in black and white 1

worldembroideries 2 box 2 box 2 box 3

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  Colossians 3:23

# 16 Carving “found wood”

Snowman on a stump 0610

One of the joys of wood carving is working with found wood. I will say much more on the subject in a later post but I wanted to introduce the topic here. “Found wood” is material for carving which you the carver go out and find. The carving presented here is such a piece. This snowman was carved from a white pine branch which was picked up after a severe Michigan wind storm. The branch was cut to four foot length and

Snowman on a stump 0610b

stored in my garage for several years. After curing/drying it

became useful for carving.

A part of the pleasure in carving found wood is the satisfaction which comes from making something beautiful out of a piece of wood many would

Snowman on stump 06 108c

burn or just throw into the trash heap. This snowman, with its remaining bark, reminds the viewer of its origin in the forest. And that reminder makes using “found wood” all the more enjoyable.

See the Gift Shop for pricing.

Psalm 95:1
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

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.