re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “recycled wood

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


210 Relief Carving. Sailor in bark 1.1.

Have I told you I like Rudyard Kipling’s story, “Captains Courageous. I think I have. But is such a good story, read it more than once. Actually maybe 10 times. This sailor is partly my imagination of what one of the sailors on the “We’re Here” would look like. No sword scar (if you recall the story), but a weathered, leathered look none the less.

Cottonwood bark. Shallow, or not much depth to the wood, so getting perspective can be tricky. The early stages he didn’t look so good. The final, painted version came out nicely. Here are six shots of the work in progress. Somewhere in the next posts I will show the finished work. Keep on crafting.


“The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.” Prov 16:21

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

194. Trees.

One of the reasons I love to carve is that I get to carve wood. Wood comes from trees. And trees, well, trees are something special in the creation around us.

Think of all the stories you know, written, filmed, put into poetry, even sung about. Look around you at all the things made from trees. Remember all the youthful activities done in and around trees. Recall all the beautiful objects made from trees. No wonder they are special.

Below is someone else’s collection of beautiful pictures of trees and a sample of those pictures. Worth taking a look.


“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Prov 15:1

160. Carving Recycled Wood. IKEA bed frames 4.

Did you notice the black hole? Not sure what it was intended purpose was. It added another level of decision making. Cut it off? Wastes wood. Carve it out? Wastes effort. Cut into it? Lose its mechanical roundness. Leave it? Let the viewer decide how it fits in. You see what was decided. What do you think?

Compare to pieces in Posts 145, 152, 156. I like the deeper, wider piercing under the cabin. Along with the black circle, it adds another layer of interest, inviting the viewer’s eye to travel around and through the piece.

One other feature to point out is the shape of this cabin. Several features give more motion to the piece, rather than a static, boring blah-ness to it. Waves in the roof give a sense of motion. The shape of the walls also. Note how the bottom of the house cuts in, the walls seem to bulge out and finally tuck back in under the eaves. A much more interesting shape then straight lines.

What else draws your attention?


“The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.” Prov 10:8

152 Carving Recycled Wood. IKEA bed frame 2 – rustic places.

I still love the idea of reusing objects, materials, ideas. As a professional teacher there is great satisfaction in developing a teaching point or idea and then finding as many contexts as possible where it can be used. I like the same for objects, whether it’s old tires to retread sandals or old boots to use a flower pots.

Wood isn’t any different. The pictures below are of another rustic carving recycled from an IKEA bed frame. (See Post 145 for the first one) It could be an old school house, an old church, or cabin. I like the movement in the piece, with the leaning top and uneven walls.

What do you think, paint or no paint? Post 145 got paint, this one no paint. It was sprayed with several coats of clear, gloss varnish.


To answer before listening—that is folly and shame. Prov 18:13.

143 Woodwork from other places 14, China. Sit on it!

Not much to say here other than I love the aged grain of this stool. Its owner guessed it was at least 100 years old. I have used it as a foot stool. Do you like the feel of wood? The surface on this one is worn smooth, even satiny in places. Pictures 2,4, and 6 show just a little of why the piece attracts. Hope you have beautiful pieces of creation created into beautiful objects around you too.


“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Prov 20:15.