of the important steps in carving is to line out the piece after
it has been bosted out and, if required, back-cut. The care
with which this step is done will determine the appearance of
the finished piece. This lining out process is really a matter
of laying down the guide lines for the finishing tools.
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process is not necessary if the carving is designed so that
it is a treatment of mass. That is, if the carver is more interested
in projecting his concept of the form as an harmonious relationship
of curved surfaces to the flat planes of the background of the
final pieceor, in the case of a three-dimensional form,
to the area or space in which the carving is to be placed. Two
of the illustrations show this idea much better than words can
describe it. One is the detail of a panel of a carved chest
and one is the formalized dolphin carved as a wall decoration.
In these you will note a paucity of detail (see Image below).
If, on the other hand, the design calls for detail carving to
emphasize the finished piece, it is necessary to pencil in all
the guide lines along which the finishing tools are to be run.
This is shown in one of the Imagegraphs of an eagle carving
in process. In this project, the guide lines show where the
parting tools are to be run so that the outline of the feathers
can be developed. Here, the mass is less important than the
detail. Were this not so, the wood from which the carving is
made would have been a highly figured piece of mahogany, for
the purpose of having contrasting light and dark areas of the
wood relieve the plane surfaces as well as to give the finished
piece a certain texture.
order to make the point clear, I suggest you compare the two
Imagegraphs of the carving illustrated: one, the Imagegraph
of the bosted carving; and the other, the one where the bosting
has been completed and where the guide lines are drawn in.
A carving in the round where the treatment of the mass is more
important than the detail of the carving. (Courtesy Mr. Joel
H. Squier, West Tisbury, Massachusetts)
Another case where the detail has been sublimated to the mass.
The carving is in alto-relievo. Property of the author.
undertaking the next step, assuming that you are going to detail
the surfaces of the carving, there are three things to consider:
the tools with which the detail will be developed; how the grain
of the wood runs; and how the cuts with these tools will be
in mind that any cut made on the bosted carving will have to
be included in the final work. Therefore, reasonable care will
have to be exercised to see that you do not overrun any of the
guide lines, that the cuts are lightly made at first, and that
where two cuts come together the one does not overrun the other.
Try several cuts on waste stock so that any errors in tool control
can be corrected without damage to the finished piece. It is
a sad moment when you have to discard a carving that has progressed
to the point of detail because you have spoiled it by too deep
cutting, by overrunning guide lines, or by having the tool slip
from the control of your hands and run at random across the
have shown an illustration of a partly finished carved piece
and of the tools that I use to develop the forms of the feathers.
Prior to detail carving, refer to the various drawings or detailed
parts of the drawings to be sure you have in mind just what
it is you want to do. The projection that you have made of a
typical cross section will call it to mind, that is, assuming
that you made one.
The tools and the partly completed detail of the feathering
on an eagle. The abrupt change in the planes of the feathers
when seen on the finished carving determine their outlines.
might say here, after you have worked on three or four carvings,
you will find that in the preparation of your working drawings
you will not find it necessary to make these projections, for
the reason that your visual picture of the carving you have
in mind is seen in all its dimensions. The best definition of
this would be to say that you have cultivated a third-dimensional
imagination. That is, you see the probable third dimension in
any mental image you have of what it is you would like to do.