I’m very happy to say that these past few weeks have been very busy with commissions. Since my step-son, Caleb has been editing my videos for my online school, I have been enjoying a lot more time in the workshop. Here are some of the carvings I have been working on.
These are 4 carved corners for a reproduction of an 1830’s mirror. These were carved in basswood and are a very 3-dimensional fleur de lis. I filmed the process of carving one of these, and Caleb is currently in the process of editing this full lesson. It should be available on my online school next month. It’s over 2 hours, so it might end up being 3 episodes. It is carved in 2-1/4″ thick wood, so there is a LOT of shape to these.
This carving is one of 2 sunburst designs I made for the tops of pilasters on a door surround. This was made for a local woodworking company that installs custom interior woodwork – Southern Lumber. It is carved in sapele (sometimes referred to as mahogany or African mahogany). Sapele can often be very difficult to carve because the grain tends to switch on you about every 1/4″ to 1/2″. It definitely keeps it a challenge, but this particular wood did not cause too many frustrations.
I ended up filming this while I carved it – just because. But I already have a lesson that is very similar to this on my online school.
And then there is that wonderful flame finial. My customer started one finial and asked me to finish it and wanted me to carve 2 additional finials. Just the layout is a real challenge – and then to try and figure out how the flame shapes flow is a real brain tease. This is lightly based on a design for an 18th century period secretary or highboy from the Philadelphia area. I say “lightly” because any descriptions that I read in books about how to lay out these finials fried too many brain cells for me to get through the article.
However, since I had one that my customer started, I just had to base the others on his design. Simple, right? Well, it took me about 2 hours staring at his finial and turning it in all directions to figure out what the pattern was. I finally got it! The main thing to focus on with these finials is to keep “S” curves no matter what – whether they are the high corner peaks, or the deep, sharp inside corners. All lines should be continually flowing in “S” curves with no straight lines. With that in mind, there are many ways to lay these out – and many different designs and styles out there. I just designed a new one!
This process was also filmed, so probably within 2 months, this will be on my online school.
I have a great heater in my shop, so when it only gets up to 35 degrees outside, I’m toasty warm while I work. Yeah, I know, that’s NOTHING compared to what other parts of the country are experiencing right now. But this is South Carolina! And I admit it – I have become a wimp. My Minnesota blood has thinned out somewhat over the past 15 years.
A nice fire in our fireplace. Hmmm. Something is missing. Maybe a carving on the mantel? The fireplace has been like that for nearly 14 years – taunting me every time I look at it. This is truly the “cobbler’s shoes” dilemma. Maybe one day…