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My first carving, Celtic Weave

I got some really nice Australian Red Cedar from a guy who reclaims it from old furniture, and decided that I would make some boxes - then I got ambitious and thought I might try carving a box top.

But I’ve never really carved anything before, but as I do a bit of woodwork, and am pretty good at paring down wood - So I bought some cheap ‘hobby’ chisels, and on the least knotty face of a piece of scrap pine 2x4, I laid out what I thought was a reasonably simple design.

I spent the next couple of days making almost every mistake possible - I ended up using mainly the chisel, as it was the only tool I knew how to sharpen. I learned a lot in the process, and enjoyed getting to know this piece of wood intimately - how to handle the hard ribs of the growth rings especially!

YouTube must have heard a rumour that I was in trouble, because it started serving me suggestions for Mary May’s videos. I watched a few and I started to see the error of my ways, and I was able to cosmetically correct a lot of the errors. The final piece is really overworked, but I have promoted it from ‘just a practice piece’ to something I might actually use. Once I’ve sawed it off the chunk of pine I may use it as the slide-on lid for a traditional pencil box.

I’m not very unhappy with my handiwork, I now have ambitions for more complex designs for my cedar boxes. And I will gradually gather some real chisels as my budget allows.

Anyway I am very glad and grateful to have found your videos and your website - I’m working through the basic lessons methodically, and will take on some of the other lessons and classes once I’ve developed and consolidated my skills a bit more.


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Nice Job Joe! Way to persevere!

Sorry for the delay in responding to this, as I have been up to my eyeballs in other work, and the forum has sort of been left...

I hope your carving journey is exciting and adventurous. If you start with a cedar board, it can only get better from there 🙂