re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “hand crafts

228. Cottonwood bark and Caricature carving. Progress.

Cottonwood bark and caricatures fit together. The second and third pieces have appeared in earlier posts. They are here for comparison. The first picture below was done early in my bark carving. It is in a piece of cottonwood bark found on the lake shore. Pieces two and three were scrounged years later.

Comparisons tell a story of progress. The first piece is rather thin, found at a time when I didn’t have much wood and anything might do. Also, in trying to avoid the weak crack in the piece, the face is placed far too low in the overall piece. Placing it higher or moving hair or hat higher on the wood, may have helped. Another point of progress is seen when comparing is the depth and quality of the cuts made. The first piece lacks shadows and movement which you see in the other carvings.

What else can you find when you compare these carvings? What about comparing your early and later work? Where have you improved?


“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12


223. Practice what you preach. Questions not to ask, and other things not to say to crafters.

Have you heard that before? I have. And I have said it to many of my students and friends. That makes it all the harder to visit craftsmen and crafts women and not do the same silly or careless thing. Ask those questions all craftspeople always need to answer – what kind of wood (material) is that? Is that as easy to do as it looks? How long did that take. Is it your own idea or did you copy that? Below is another kind of list, things not to say.

But now comes the “judgment of charity.” I always need to remember the visitor is trying to reach out, trying to gain some kind of understanding or to initiate conversation in a world they don’t really understand. Be prepared for the silly(I can do that) to the mundane(What kind of…). Embrace the opening gambit. Play the “game” with joy and pleasure. Perhaps your kindness and acceptance will spark greater things.


“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Prov 22:6

191 Note to visitors. Greetings

I have always been intrigued by the location of all you who visit this blog. It would be an added pleasure to chat with some of you. It is a wonder of our world that we have the privilege of sharing with each other even over such great distances.

I have many questions for you all. What draws you to this blog? Are you wood carvers? Do you have other creative hobbies? Were you looking for something in particular in this blog? What in these posts benefits you? What else would you like to see, read, know? What do you know that you could share with me? And many more such questions.

A special greeting to visitors from Hong Kong. Nice to have you on board.


“The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.” Prov 14:15

140. Woodwork from other places 13, China. A spool by any other shape?

Review woodwork from other places in posts 115, 128, 131, 137. Here, too, we have hand carved objects given beauty as well as function. These three objects are thread spools. All are between 6 and 8 inches long. Each has its own unique beauty.

The first, and simplest one, is pierced in a ladder effect. But even that effect is embellished by making the piercings more complex as one goes from the outside to the inside, central one.

The right hand piece, shaped like a seed pod or a plant looks the simplest. However, as you see in the second picture, it has a hidden needle compartment which can be pushed out either direction.

The three spool is the most colorful and complex. The painting emphasizes the tassel effect of the carving. What makes this one special is the “ball in a cage” carving at the center. You can this best in the second picture.

All in all, functional and aesthetically pleasing everyday objects. Where do you see this best in your everyday world? Certainly not in thread spools. Mass production has driven out much of the personal creativity in such objects.


“Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.” Prov 25:12

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)

#31 A harmonica in Carnegie Hall. [VIDEO]

I know it is not wood carving, but it is “by hand.”  You will not regret the five minutes it takes to listen.

I have an unused harmonica in my dresser drawer. It is one of the “hobbies” I have always desired to try. Been to scared to really get into it – no real musical talent. Tried the violin for a few years – they excused me from the orchestra for faking it.

But I do enjoy a good harmonica. And, man, is this guy good.

Again, while it is not wood carving – there are carvings in the plaster work at Carnegie Hall – it is just a blast to listen to. Enjoy. And the next time you see a good wood carver, give them a standing ovation too.


A harmonica in Carnegie Hall. [VIDEO].