Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Carver's Rambling

Carving is as vital to my well being as breathing. It has been nearly a month since I sat down and carved. I injured a hand and an old wrist is acting up. I just got back from a 10 day stay at my sisters house to care for Mom so her husband and her could take a break from caretaking. I don't know if this format will work, but I will try this post to see if it does.

Carving can take a toll on your body like anything else. make sure you stretch, walk around and don't try for one more cut when tired. LOL. Now to make me hear that advice.

I am waiting for a referral to a hand surgeon to see just what this alien creature really is.   I thought it was a wart at first but then it began turning blueish.  My doctor thinks it might be a herniated tendon caused by overuse carving so long and hard.

I am working on a commission of an Ark for a clients young grandson. I want it to be touchable so the young man can move the animals and perhaps even play with them. I am starting with larger sturdier ones and will move onto the more fragile ones. I hope he will pass this on to his own children and Grandchildren.

Everyone asks how I know what to carve. Well, I don't. I look for the answers in the wood. I wondered which animal would be first. The lion won out being that he is the King of the beast. Here are some photos of the lion and lioness as I work on them. At the North Arkansas Wood Carving Show I picked up "more tools".   "Hi, my name is Wanda and I am addicted to tools!"   Maybe it is because I wasn't supposed to touch any of Daddy's.  I just knew tools were the measure of a person because he didn't want to share his.  I got another set of Dockyard tools from Larry Yurdis at THE WOODCRAFT SHOP in Bettendorf Iowa.   These are what are called dogleg in varying sizes.  They are great for getting in tight places like under beards, chins and legs of animals.
You can also see my homemade cushion for my finger to protect me from constantly hitting it.  I also picked up a couple of different handles for the knife blade, that Connie Hardt loves.  The curve makes it easy to get into minute spaces while carving.  I was using the shorter blade and then switched to the longer one. Bad idea. I also slipped off my kevlar glove and forgot to put it back on.  Does anyone have a bandage?
I didn't even think of taking photos until heavily into the carving of the lion.  I promise to try to take more photos of the carving of the lioness.
You can see the flat blank of the lioness and the lion as he begins to take shape. I search the internet, photo books (which I like cause I am old school).
I thought I had his mane carved the way I wanted it but after burning the hair lines, I realized it was too square.   I can tell I haven't carved in a while. My carving eye is slightly blind by the experience of carving again.
This is a bit I got in an original package with a used Foredom motor carver.  I talked to a bird carver at the show and they use these to make feather lines as well as to make hair.  I love the way it shaped the wood. WARNING  It will cut thru almost anything, wood, tabletops, some metals, fingers, aprons and more.

I found it good to separate the upper thigh from the body of the big cat.  I did say I am a tool junkie didn't I? As a barber, I found that if you varied from scissors to razor to clippers, you minimize hand fatigue. The same goes for carving.
I think this shows what that tiny toothed wonder does to the wood.  The forehead was smooth  until I added the hair with the tool.  It did take a bit of learning to get it to look the way I wanted it. 
Then I had to add it to his body.  I also stabilized the legs with super glue and a product called Insta set to quickly set the glue.  Since a child may be handling it, I took that precaution on the legs, ears and tail. 

I use a plastic lid from margarine, whipped topping, oatmeal etc to catch any super glue drips.  You can sand any irregular stuff out of the super glue.  He is finished as far as carving goes. I am not going to start on the lioness and take more photos for you to see her progress and how I deal with problems of this kind of blank.  
I used a detail master to burn some of the hair, nose and pads on his feet.   He decided to pose with some of my girls since they sneak him tidbits of food!   

Please let me know what you think of this new format and rambling of a crazy carver woman.  Sign up by email and get an update when new posts are made.   I will wait for his lioness to paint them together. I think you can like my blog by clicking on the Facebook button here.  

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  1. Great to see the process and tools you use Wanda. Ouch to both the possible ruptured tendon and the cut! Just love the lion, it really is quite amazing.

    1. Thank you. Accidents and overuse are something that can happen while doing anything. I thought showing my mistakes might help others. I was tired when I cut my finger and not thinking about the added length of the blade. It is another do as I say and not as I did lesson.