I am working on one of three shell niches that I am carving for a historical home in Louisville, KY. These are quite a bit larger than the previous shell niches I did. These are 32″ wide x 16″ tall x 12″ deep. My husband figured out the measurements and band-sawed out much of the basswood before gluing the pieces up.
I’m getting a little wiser as I do more of these. I’m forgetting my purist carving attitude and actually taking advantage of some of the incredible technology out there.
I picked up a grinder from Woodcraft the last time I taught in Greenville, SC that really gets the wood away quickly and cleanly. Then I am taking an auto-mac chisel (sort of vibrates back and forth) so I don’t have to use a mallet to get the main hollows out when shaping the shell. I’m cleaning it up by hand, and doing the precision cuts with my gouges, but anything that is requiring brute force, I’m using machines! Sorry to all you that thought I was a die-hard traditionalist. My husband has been pushing me to take advantage of all the technology that hogs the wood away – well, I’m finally bending… my back is much happier for it.
My cat really wants to help…
Also, look to the right side of the blog and I have created a YouTube video as a little teaser of what type of instructional videos I will have on my on-line woodcarving school. I’m really getting excited about doing this. Any requests of topics would be greatly appreciated.
I’m practicing, practicing from last week’s class at Kelly Mehler’s school – was just at the point of shaping the Camellia leaves and behold – there’s your video sample! Your on-line school is going to be so fantastic!
Note re: power tools – I imagine that the old masters used the exact same logic on hogging out the waste wood, whatever was as quick and cost effective as possible. I guess you could call your hogging tools “power apprentices”!