I finished two relief woodcarvings over the last month or so – a Nickel coin and two Palomino horses making a heart. I gifted the horse one to my aunt and I still have the nickel. I think they look really good. I’m getting better and better at this as I go along, and as I gain more inspiration. There are still quirks in my crafting process to be worked out of course, but it’s definitely rolling. Can’t wait to keep it going and do some other ideas.
Both are hand-carved with knives and chisels, using my homemade hammer (I love that hammer, I’ll be making some more of those soon, as well). And, I used various grains of sandpaper to smooth it all out. At the end, I used a Dremel tool to sand the inside of the smaller crevices. I think I could have gone deeper and made the edges smoother with my chisels, but I will need to form new techniques, and perhaps use more precise tools – or just make the medium bigger. Keeping the tools sharp was a constant challenge as well, but I kept the stones and oil on hand and sharpened them every day. The wood is Basswood – usually pretty soft, but these were actually pretty tough cuts – I have had an easier time carving in Cedar and Mahogany. And, the areas near the pith were really hard to keep smooth. But, I adapted.
// P A L O M I N O _ H O R S E S
The horses came out of a Thanksgiving conversation with my aunt. She collects horse-related artwork of different kinds. I was chatting with her and some people around the dinner table about what I had been doing lately, about my recent carvings (the old man, the lion, the other faces), and she mentioned she liked Palomino horses, and I said that I’d love to try to do some Palomino horses in wood, with that long hair, one of these days. I thought it would go great on wood. That night, I sketched something up, got excited about it and decided to do the challenge! The carving itself took me about 50 hours or so altogether over the holidays. I gave it to her for Christmas.
// N I C K E L
I was sitting at my desk at work one day and was about to buy a soda from the machine around the corner. I noticed an especially shiny nickel from my pocket and was drawn in by the relief of the Monticello. I had just bought a few wood rounds to experiment with, and right then [pow], I decided to map that nickel out onto the wood round and carve a huge nickel cuz it seemed like a fun idea.
I got a little caliper and measured the fine detail on the nickel coin, and with a little algebra, mapped it onto the wood. I started with the Monticello, got it placed right, and then filled in the lettering and borders. After I carved the letters and windows, I burned them in to be dark. I did some more rounding, detailing, and cut deeper, over 10 or so sessions a few days apart. I’d guess the whole thing took me about 75 hours of work. It was a great experience – just ridin’ in the zone and implementing ideas over and over, havin’ fun.
I plan to do more relief carving in those Basswood rounds. Lots of fun, but also pretty painstaking, so I want to do the “right” ideas – ones that I feel excited about. I want to do faces, like a dog or a lion, but I’m having a good time with coins and seals. I’ll be starting on another soon.