Friday, January 9, 2009

Follow My Carving - Gaia - Step 3

To celebrate Heartwood Art carvings being featured in upcoming issues of Woodcarving Illustrated and Scroll Saw magazines, the "Follow My Carving" series was created to give you a an insider’s view on how the art is made. This Gaia carving was requested by my dear friend who kindly took the pictures that will be featured in the magazines.

A very small gouge is used to cut a groove along the outside border of the moon and tree. This will act as a “stop cut” that will help prevent the interior of the tree and moon being cut into while the waste material is being removed.

A medium-sized gouge is used to remove the waste material in the more narrow passages, such as those between the limbs and branches. A larger gouge is used in the more open areas, such as those around the tree trunk.

Since the grain is parallel to most of the edges, the wood can easily be shaved away in the direction of the grain with very little cross-grain cutting.

This process requires a good deal of patience to slowly shave away the waste wood to achieve the desired depth. Doing so keeps all the surfaces fairly level, ensuring the depth remains balanced on all sides.

Once an even layer is removed, the small gouge is used to cut another groove around the outline and the shaving process starts again. You can see the gouges in the photo to the right. Of course, the entire process could be done faster with small power carving tools. But, holding the focus necessary to complete the task with hand tools is a meditative pleasure and one of the things I enjoy most about the hobby.

The next installment is coming soon.

To see more carvings, please visit the Heartwood Art site.



Noe said...

The expression "meditative pleasure" for working with hand tools is just the thought I was trying to express to my wife last night about working on my wood pieces. Only I was unable to make the point as well as "meditative pleasure". I work with a scroll saw so most of what I do is not so hands on as your work, but there is something about having the piece in your hands and working with it that you expressed so well.

MaAnna Stephenson said...

Hi Noe. Scrollsaw work is a meditative process for me too. It's so easy to get "in the zone" with it. While in that flow, the whole world goes away for a little while and all that matters is "now" and exactly what is in front of you. I'm told that sort of focus not only changes your brain waves, it changes your brain chemicals in the same way as doing a walking meditation.