Friday, January 19, 2018

Welcome To Woodland Carvings

  I have been carving and sculpting in wood for over 30 years.  My father taught me how to carve when I was a kid and I have been working on my skills ever since.  I never worry about planning out the steps to get to the end, I just begin and keep going until I find what I want in the wood and then I'm done.  I have been in carving competitions both local and international and have demonstrated carving in many places but the best experience is when I give a carving to someone and see them smile.  Please look around and leave a comment if you like.

Walking Sticks

I do a lot of hiking and one thing I always bring with me is a good walking stick.  I decided to carve some faces into the walking sticks as a good luck charm to keep the trails safe!  Years a go I joined a Cane Making Guild in England and although I never went to any meetings, I was able to talk to other cane makers and learn some of their techniques.  I learned how to season  the wood sticks so that they hold up to a good amount of use including being used for support.  The sticks are strong and flexible making them a good friend on a long hike.


Carving A Moonshiner

After cutting out the blanks on a band saw I begin chipping and cutting away at the figure until I find a moonshiner.  Here are a few pics of the beginning steps. 


As you saw above I am currently carving a series of small characters called Moonshiners.  I plan to arrange some of the characters into small scenes.  Here is a sample of a carving I did on a slightly larger scale.   This caricature is larger than the moonshiner figures above.  I created this carving for a good friend of mine who owns a whiskey distillery in our area.  If you look closely at the jug you may get a clue as to where this whiskey distillery is located. 

Song Birds

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cane Making

If you need a cane why not use one with a strong and majestic feel to it?
This Lion Head cane has noble look to it.

Cane making is fun and it gives you a good feeling knowing that it will be used to help someone in need. If you scroll down the page you will see how I make the canes from the finished cane you see above to the begining of the process.
Here it is:
I usually sand it and recoat it with minwax clear acrylic finish. I let it dry overnight then resand it and recoat it in the finishing process, at least three times.

This is a handle I am working on that is more of a stylized piece. I didn't carve any animal faces into it.

I use this draw knife to shave the bark and cambium layer off the stick. Then I make sure it is tapered down to a narrow tip, small enough at the bottom to fit into a rubber cap. This is an old draw knife i picked up at a garage sale for 3.00. My dad helped me sharpen it on a grinder, and now it is razor sharp! Good old carbon steel.

I rough cut the handle shape on a band saw before attaching it to the cane shaft. Then I draw an animal on the front and carve it into the handle.

After an hour the cane and handle are set up pretty good. The joint is very strong and still the same diameter as the cane. I can begin carving the handle now.

Now that the rod is set up good, I glue it to the handle making sure there is epoxy on all the inside edges of the joint. I twist the stick into the handle so that the aluminum tube is completely hidden inside the joint. This is all done before gluing to make sure everything fits snug. Sometimes I have to do some sanding to get a good, tight joint.

The steel rod has been glued into place. I will let it set up for an hour to make sure it is good and secure.

I drilled out the center and will add a steel, 1/4" rod for extra strength in the joint.

I have inserted the shaft of aluminum into the handle and am ready to glue it to the cane with some 30 min epoxy. I used an old tent pole for the reinforcing shaft. It is 5 inches in length and the diameter is 1". This creates a really strong joint.

Thi is the handle with the hole cut into it. I used black walnut for the handle. It carves nice and clean and leaves a beautiful finish.

This is the hole after using the hole cutter. The outside edge will be this but remains strong after assembling the cand, aluminum shaft and handle with another hole cut.

I use a craftsman 1" hole cutter to make a cut into the cane shaft. This cutter makes a nice clean space for the aluminum reinforcement tube that I will add later on. The cane needs to light weight yet strong, especially where a force will be pressed on the handle.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Feather Patterns and Flow Lines

In this picture you can see where I have penciled in the feather flow lines. This helps give the carving a more natual look when the feathers are carved in.

The Snow Owl Before Painting

This is where the fun begins. Every time I add paint to a piece it really begins to come alive. I have to be careful not to add too much paint, it is a series of many light washes. I will go into more detail on my painting post.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Pics of the Snow Owl

Sanding down the shaft before painting with clear varnish.
Adding in details on the feather edges with a mix of raw umber and burnt sienna acrylics.

I used resin here to simulate ice dripping from a branch. The snow is made from rsin and cotton fibers. The trick is to get it where you want before the resin sets up.

I found the branch that the owl is mounted on while I was trout fishing in Owego, NY. I often find some really interesting pieces of wood along the stream.

Black Duck On Indian Lake

I took this shot while Kayaking. The day was hot, in the 80's and the ducks were in the shade of the reeds.

Kayaking in the Adirondack Mountains

I was able to take some great pics of Black Ducks and Loons while kayaking with my son.

European Museum Of Art

My sister Mary and John Zavrel, (right) are the co directors of the Buffalo NY European Museum of Art. They invited me to display my snow owl at the museum.