Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘wood carving

Sanding Along

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In a minor deviation from the original weekend plan, we returned to Wintervale in the early afternoon yesterday. We had a great time seeing friends and family, but after breakfast at the Original Pancake House with Ben and Althea, all we wanted was to be back at our paradise home.

That gave me a chance to spend a few more minutes sanding my relief carving project in the sunshine on the deck.

At this point, the changes are small, but I find them very satisfying. Worth the wait.

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See how the lines of the grain move?

I love to watch the change. It’s still a mystery where those lines will be when I finally reach the final shape. That is a good part of the adventure of sanding and shaping wood.

It was a perfect project for the end of our little weekend “staycation.”

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Written by johnwhays

September 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

Project Love

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There are some situations that provide me with enough incentive to complete a project in a fixed amount of time. It is apparent that I do better when given a firm deadline. The last couple of months have been a challenge for me to not write and share images of progress for a special carving I have done, because it was a secret.

The deadline has now passed and the secret is out. I carved a heart for George and Anneliese out of a chunk of the old ash tree we cut down last fall.

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Starting with a section where the trunk split into two branches, I trimmed the shape with a chain saw. The next shaping was done with an angle grinder.

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As I’m often prone to do, I wanted the end result to be a mix of unfinished and extremely polished surfaces. An added bonus was the incidental flat at the bottom, which allows the heart to appear to stand on the point seen from the front.

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One of the pleasures of this project was the number of opportunities when I was able to work out in the warm sunshine while refining the shape and honing the smoothness. I chose to apply a beeswax and orange oil wood polish and conditioner as a finish to bring out the grain.

Yesterday, we were finally able to present this literal heart-felt gift for the occasion of the wedding. What a joy!

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The culmination of a summer’s worth of creative design and loving contemplations.

A symbol of a love of many layers, great depth, multifaceted, both rough and polished, cracked, shaped, intricate, beautiful, balanced.

Simply, true love, in the symbol of the heart shape.

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Written by johnwhays

August 27, 2018 at 6:00 am

Different Project

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It rained with such ferocity yesterday that water found a way past shingles, and dripped over the toilet in our bathroom. I thought maybe Cyndie had unbelievably made a mess, until I got dripped on and discovered it was coming from overhead.

I drained 2-inches from the rain gauge in the afternoon and Cyndie reported 2-inches more collected by dusk. It hailed, and it thundered, and Delilah barked at the booming all day long.

Basically confined to staying under a roof all day, I puttered around in the shop. I finally got around to using power tools to cut and grind old shovels to give them a clean edge again. I cut off the broken metal tines of a rake that has been lying around for a couple of years because I couldn’t part with the perfectly good handle.

Then I spotted the wood sculpting project I started a couple of winters ago and decided to spend a little time with it again.

The idea for this came from a high school art class assignment I did over four decades ago. I figured, if I’m still thinking about that piece I did that long ago, the idea deserved revisiting.

The concept is to create the piece by removing the background wood around the shape. Relief carving.

“To create a sculpture in relief is to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane.”

I made the shape of a fish in high school. I remember that I wasn’t able to make the tail fins look real, so I morphed them into a small ‘cartoony’ version of a fish tail.

I think it worked, in the end. Gave the finished piece a kind of primitive-folksy look. What I remember most about the project was the surprise of how the grain looked after I sanded everything smooth.

The lines from the flat rise up with an accented grace over the shape that is carved.

I’m going with the tear drop shape this time. That way I won’t have to figure out how to make that tail.

Now I just need another day of monsoon rain to confine me to the shop for long enough to bring this project to fruition.

Don’t hold your breath. As much as I love working on projects like this, this gem could easily rest on the window sill for another couple of years, if history is a reliable reference.

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Written by johnwhays

August 25, 2018 at 9:12 am

An Idea

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I have been trying to picture what I might be able to do with the remaining trunk after cutting off all the dead branches on the large tree at the corner of our property by the road.

Here is a mockup of what one idea I have been pondering might look like…

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It would be a subtle, perpetual message to passing neighbors and travelers, and can serve as a compliment to our banner flag with the word LOVE across it when we put that out at the end of the driveway for events.

My main question for myself is whether, or not, I could even achieve this sculpting despite my lack of experience. I would certainly need to deal with an aversion to working in such a conspicuous space.

No hiding this project from curious passersby.

How bad do I want it?

The answer to that will determine whether this project is ultimately attempted, or just remains a computer image of an idea I once had.

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Written by johnwhays

November 29, 2017 at 7:00 am