re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “gifts

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


209 Egghead. Father Christmas, of course.

What do you do with a wooden egg, basswood? Make an egghead, of course. A bald egghead. A Father Christmas, bald, basswood, egghead. Green shirt with a hint of red on the chubby checks and a snow-white beard and hair. He has to be smiling, naturally. Squinty eyes are best. That way you can imagine the hohoho better. More eggheads in the following posts.


“Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” Prov 16:19

208 Christmas is coming. Father Christmas.

It is possible that you, in this season of Thanksgiving, are already making plans for family gatherings, both the Thanksgiving meal and for the Christmas holiday. Are your carving or crafting preparations coming along well, too?

Here are a couple of older pieces held in private collections in Illinois and Michigan. Father Christmas or Saint Nicolas done in spokes from recycled kitchen chairs. The spokes are maple, a hard wood, a challenge to carve by hand. They would be good for dremel tools or other power tools.

The first step was to skin the varnish and stain layer from each piece. The hardness of the wood meant the stain had not penetrated too deeply. Next step was to decide where on the spoke to place the face and how large the face should be. Once the face was roughed in, the next decision was texturing. What texture would the hair and the beard have?

A further step was shaping the hat and its decoration. You will notice that the piece on the right retains more of the original spoke shape, while on the left the hat has modified the spoke more. A final step was color choices and painting. These pieces are designed to hang in a Christmas tree, adding color and attracting attention to the tree.

What are you working on this season? Anything to share?


“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” Prov 16:16

197 To market, to market. Variety needed.

One of the things I like about a hobby is that you can choose what you want to do or make. Creativity is a key word.

Here is another picture of carved pieces which have gone into a sale. House – some painted some not, lighthouses – some painted and some not, and faces make up part of the variety. But within each group these is even greater choice and variety when one considers size, shape, background, coloration, substructure. All must be decided, created. That is part of the reason I love carving.

What draws you to your hobby?


“A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.” Prov 15:5

193 Carving in the Round. Basswood Golfer.

We ran out of time in the U.S. All our bags and boxes had to be packed. That included unfinished carvings, carvings knives, bases, brushes and paints.

Here, another unfinished carving but cute anyway. One of the benefits of putting such pieces away is the opportunity of reflecting on what comes next. Among finishing details to consider – paint colors, golf club – bent or unbent, base.

What kind of base would he belong on? Shape of base – round like golf hole or shaped like a trap? Putting green or tee off? Water hazard or sand bunker? Ball on edge of hole? Tee and ball only inches away? Does the shirt have a monogram? Are the shorts plaid or plain? Saddle shoes? Hair color?

Is the golfer a loud mouth fool or just a loud mouth? Is he laughing or crying? Perhaps these decisions will get made next summer.


“A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.” Prov 14:3

190 Carving in the Round. Big Red

This project is seen here in photos of photos, thus the weak picture quality. It is one of the larger pieces I have done and is part of a private collection in Michigan.

It is a solid block of basswood approximately 15 x 12x 10. I give the dimensions because so much of the work was measuring, cross checking and re-measuring to get a close replica of Big Red. While I did enjoy creating this piece, the measuring and careful rechecking rank right there with sanding near the bottom of my carving tasks list of things to do.

Big Red? Yes, the Holland, Michigan lighthouse at the entrance where Lake Macatawa empties into Lake Michigan at Holland. The carving was done in a red wash while the real lighthouse is a deeper red. Compare the two photos of the l lighthouse in different weather and lighting.

Hope your projects are going well.


“An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.” Prov 14:5

189 To market, to market to sell…Carvings to sell.

Carvings shown here will be offered for sale by a friend of ours back in the States while we reside here in Beijing.

The first picture shows an array of bark pieces, houses, churches, and a light house/sailboat. It shows the kind of variety I try to have at a sale. For me, this is a combination of what I like and what kinds of pieces have sold in the past, always a marketing challenge.

The second shows event more variety. Here a larger lighthouse, a book carved out of white pine, a sparrow and a related verse from the Bible, and a basswood relief of a recognizable viking.

What would you consider a good variety for a sale? How many carvings would you bring? How do you go about pricing your pieces?


“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” Prov 14:8