re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “wood carvings

103 Revisited: Post 83

2012-03-14 05.49.07

Of course, you are asking yourself what this photo is all about.  Well, if you haven’t skipped to the bottom and looked through the gallery yet, it is a mouth full of teeth.  Not my original idea, I found it in one of the myriad of carving magazines lying around my carving space.  This is a final post of a project shown earlier in 83 Big mouth 1 and 2.  This is Big mouth 2 painted.

2012-03-14 05.48.45

I didn’t want to make all the pictures large, but I thought at least these two would make a nice showing, giving the full effect of the piece.  I really like the strong white on the teeth.  It is acrylic white at full strength.  I do like the softer blue for a hint of a hat and the natural red or umber of the unpainted wood for the face.  Every piece teaches something for the next time.  On this piece I would paint the gums a stronger red. Without it, there is some confusion about where the gum is and where the lip begins.  Having said that, the piece is fun.  Anyone interested in buying it?  We can talk.


“Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way! ” Proverbs 18


101 So much wood, so little time: Sequoia National Park


I just have to share a few photos of the Sequoias of California.  It was a privilege and a blessing to walk among these great trees, grateful for their preservation and their beauty.  I am only half joking about carving them.  It would be grand to get some of this wood.  I do carve cotton wood bark, so I had gone to the park hoping to be able to find a piece of Sequoia bark.  After being there and touching one of the tree, I know better.  The bark of these giants is spongy, made up of many small scales or flakes.  I suspect it would not make a good base for a carving.

2012-06-23 14.39.07

It is difficult to imagine trees this large, and then to imagine how much wood is in one.  Not that I am in favor of cutting any of this beauties down, but, wow.  I must say that, while the pictures are stunning, being in their presences is even better.


“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”

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

97 carving ideas


I am always looking for carving ideas.  Now that I almost always have an iPad with me it is easier to capture some of them quickly.  This photo hangs in a hallway in my Uncle Georg’s house in western Germany.  What caught my attention was the roof lines and the texture the artist shows us.  Having done many roofs, what I note is shapes and shadows.  Also, on the building to the right, my eye is caught by the strong line near the top denoting the final layer of thatch.  The question is then, how can that be replicated in wood.  Which tool works best, what will be the most efficient way to make those cuts.  For anyone who has not carved, part of the issue is the direction ones cut, up from the bottom of the roof or down from the top.  Experimental cuts need to be made to determine what happens to grain wood, how the grain reacts.

Sorry about the quality of this photo.  However, for my purposes, this is good enough.  What is appealing to me is the roof lines of the buildings, how they sit together, the shadows, and how the artist has created texture.  While the photo is fuzzy, the relationship between the buildings is strong enough to be appealing.  Hope you have some ideas to share.  Or, if you use some ideas from these pictures I would love to see them.


Comfort, comfort my people says your God.  Isaiah 40:1

95 more carvings coming.

I had to relearn the WordPress process. It has been such a long time that I posted that WordPress has changed its process. The last post had only one picture because I kept adding pictures, paying no attention to the fact that I was merely replacing each previous picture with the new one. So, I have included in this post three more photos of the blue whale and a few others that were completed this summer. ImageImageImageNo, the whale is not dead. I took several pictures with my iPad with natural light streaming over my shoulder. I wanted to see what the light would do for the carving shadows. You tell me if there is a difference between the photo in post 94 and the one above.

20130905-182830.jpg A small bird carved from a piece of scrap wood. Texture created by running a small u-gouge over entire bird giving a feather effect.

20130905-183124.jpgAnother view. I like looking at pictures of completed carvings. They remind me of the decisions made while in the carving process. Notice the tail. Its location and thickness was an important part of what gives chunk of wood its bird-ness.

20130905-183544.jpgWhile there is much about this bird that I like, the beak on the next ones, three waiting to be painted, will be stronger. Shalom. Need a great verse from the Bible today? Try Genesis 3:15. The first great promise of the Word.

82 Other wood recyled: Wood-Chip Sculptures by Sergei Bobkov

Wood carvers create lots of dust and wood chips.  What do you do with it all?  One year in my Junior High carving classes a student asked if they could collect the chips after every class to take home for their hamster cages.  We were happy to oblige.  Another carver I know takes his chips and throws them in his garden to loosen up the clay soil.  Obviously he has to think about the kinds of wood being carved to avoid toxic reaction with young plants.

Sergei Bobkov of Russia has come up with another way to use wood chips.  In fact, he creates the chips just so he can use them.  After looking at Sergei’s work you may want to try your hand.  Please feel free to give me a call.  I will sack up all the ones created in my basement for you.  Enjoy.

Wood-Chip Sculptures by Sergei Bobkov | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities.

“By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.”  Proverbs 29:4

# 59 Wood Carving: M R DUCKS and things you discuss as you carve 2

Y I B,  M R DUCKS* (see translation at bottom of post)

Believe it or not, this little five-line scribble makes for a whole afternoon conversation in my Junior High carving classes.  We take it apart and explore what it could mean.  Mostly nonsense it seems.  I usually put it up when the first level carvers get to their second project.

Turned, not carved, wooden eggs


The first project is an egg.  They begin with a square block of wood.  We learn to draw on the lines without using a ruler.  That drives some students crazy.  They want to measure everything, worried they will get it wrong if the lines aren’t straight.  Don’t get me wrong, we do want straight lines, but we want to explore other ways to accomplish those lines.  They are taught how to hold a pencil with several fingers and how to let the rest of the fingers act as guide.

Template for ducks

Sample of duck begun

Detail of  hardest part

The second project is a DUCK.  The class receives a duck rough out or blank.  The difficulty level increases from egg to duck.  On the egg the class learns to deal with different types of cuts and end grain of the wood.  On the duck we learn how to deal with compound curves on a square hunk of wood and how to deal with wood grain.  The wood grain makes carving the ducks neck difficult.  Wood grain requires learning different types of cuts and watching how the wood comes off.  More on that later.

Detail of rock and tail

Cedar duck – fire rescue piece

Burn marks visible on head/back

Of course, the ditty at the front end of this post drives them crazy until they get it.  Then they have loads of fun with it.  And we get to try many other versions of it.  I borrowed this “alphabet” idea from William Steig and his books “C D B” (See the bee) and “C D C”(See the sea).  Lots of fun.  Try it.  C what U can do with M, O, I B impressed.

I found a site which gives you a taste of Steig’s creativity:

On page 8 a hen sits contentedly on a nest of eggs. The letters above her say “D N S 5 X.” which creatively translates into the words “The hen has five eggs.”

On page 13 a boy is pointing down at his pet dog with the admonishment “I M A U-M B-N. U R N N-M-L.” which translates into “I am a human being. You are an animal.”

Page 15 shows a deer standing in a bush of green foliage with the caption “D D-R S N D I-V.” which of course means “The deer is in the ivy.”

Source of the material above –

I C U later.

*Translation:  Them are ducks.  Them are not. Oh, yes they are, see the itty bitty wings. Why, I’ll be, them are ducks.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”  Proverbs 16:9