Compound Carving Execution

The drawings for this sort of work are more difficult to do than is the case where the carving is to be more or less in one plane. Each of the parts will have to be drawn to full scale before they are put together in your layout drawing. I make these full-sized drawings on the same paper as that which I use for the layout, using layout or guide lines in the same manner as I do those in the final layout so that the various parts can be traced over in their proper positions. This enables me to vary the position of the head at will. I may want to increase or decrease the angle of the head. In some positions the head will seem to be more alert than in other positions, or perhaps more aggressive, or even less so.

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Each part of a compound carving such as this must be made separately. Keep in mind how the grain of the wood is to run in each piece; what the mechanical difficulties are going to be in the preparation of each piece; how the various pieces are going to be joined; how they are going to be finished carved with the detail shown on the drawing. I point out all these things for the reason that it is easier to think the problem out on paper than it is to get the parts out wrong. I have in my shop a couple of carvings I have never finished, as reminders that I undertook a piece of work that I had not thought out thoroughly on paper at the beginning. They are lugubrious reminders that I can be optimistic about my capacity.

The working drawing-that is, the one you take to the carving bench with you-can be either the layout drawing or a series of tracings from this drawing. It should be of such character that it can be placed on the carving block and transferred thereto by tracing off the outlines. Backing up the working drawing with carbon paper-the carbon side face down on the block-go over the entire outline and the places where stopcuts are to be made. Here is where you see why it is advantageous to have your carving stock planed by the mill before-hand. Any obvious blemishes on the stock will show through the tracing paper and the drawing can be shifted to avoid them.

"Some people want angels." This illustrates a carving in the round about which I had some doubts until I committed it to the carving block. (Courtesy Rev. G. Ernest Lynch, Rector, Trinity Church, Indianapolis, Indiana) Bull's-eye mirror frame and eagle. This compound carving is made up of 3 parts for the eagle and 6 parts for the frame. (Courtesy W. D. Thompson, Jr., Concord, New Hampshire)

Caduceus carved in alto-relievo, polychromed staff, gilded serpent, oiled and waxed background. {Courtesy Drs. Roland and Mary Price, Armour, South Dakota) "Some people want tables." A pair of candlestands-pine tops, maple columns and feet. (Courtesy Mrs. Carl R. Frye, Columbus, Ohio)

When you have a compound carving drawn up that you want to do, have all the tracings for the various parts at hand. Lay out each part on the carving blank. Arrange the several drawings in such manner that they are separated from an adjacent drawing by at least an inch. Be sure that the drawings are laid out so that the run of the grain of the wood is similar in all pieces. Do not try to crowd the drawings together. Be sure that a separating cut on one part does not intersect another part. Keep in mind that you will have to saw out these various parts on the band saw or with the scroll saw. Be sure this can be done. The only reason for doing this, laying out the components, is to be sure that the same characteristics of the wood will be similar in all pieces. This makes it easier to proceed with the carving.







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