Saturday, October 9, 2010
I’m sure that many of you are getting kind of tired with me droning on and on about my escapades in knife making, so let’s get into something more interesting, carving. I thought that I would take you through the process that I use to attach heads and arms to a carving. There are many carvers out there that use a solid block of wood for their pieces, and I have tried it that way, but I have come to find that there are many benefits to attaching the different parts of a carving instead of carving everything from the same block. Let’s talk briefly about these benefits and then we will take a look at the nuts and bolts of how to do attachments.
The first benefit of attaching parts instead of carving from a block is the ability to change that parts position. For example, when I attach a head to a body I have the ability to turn the head from side to side and even forward and backward until I get the right head position for the body posture that I am shooting for. When it comes to attaching arms, I have the same ability to move them around until I get the angles just right. Another benefit of attaching parts is grain direction. If you carve from a solid block you will run into cross-grain situations that can leave a week point in the carving that could be easily broken. When you carve a part separately, you can orient the grain in the right direction which makes for a much stronger finished piece.
Tip from the Stump: always keep the grain direction in mind when you are designing a carving. Try to avoid cross-grain situations by orienting the grain with the narrowest part of the carving thus avoiding week spots that could potentially break.
The last benefit to add-ons is ease of carving. Carving parts separately lets you establish many details that would be difficult to accomplish if the piece were of one block before it is attached to the main figure. This allows one to use fewer specialty tools to produce some terrific carvings.
Now before we get started I need to give credit for this technique to Lynn Doughty of Out West Woodcarving for sharing this process with the world. Alright, let’s see how this whole thing is done. Here is a picture of the head for the carving that I am currently working on and the body that it will be attached to.