Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘wood grain

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

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

Wood Speaks

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Sometimes, wood speaks to me, but I don’t always know what it says. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard words from a piece of wood. It’s more of a mysterious attraction to the visual. This piece has me wondering what it would look like smoothed.

DSCN4470eI have envisioned it both completely flat or smoothed with contours. I think contours is going to win, because there’s already too much material missing to sand it flat and still have much of the branch left. The branch is really the key element that makes this special.

Imagine how complicated it can be to stack firewood when every other piece seems to grab my attention for its potential to be beautiful in some form other than burning flames.

Luckily, I receive great pleasure from the visual presentation of stacked firewood, too, so it makes it a little easier for me to leave the split logs on the pile where they belong. That just leaves a chosen few that occasionally get pulled for more permanent duty.

I decided to take a picture of this one for reference, and now having posted here, I guess as incentive. I make no secret of my difficulty with finishing art projects that I start. It’s rather curious that my inspiration to become engaged with this new piece would occur so soon after discovering a handful of others in a box that had sat unopened since we moved here 3 years ago.

Why haven’t I become fixated on finishing the others, instead?

I don’t know. It’s something ripe for analysis, I suppose. I wouldn’t have to dig too deep to discover an issue with perfectionism and a fear of failure, I’m sure. Being unfinished, their imperfections are judged differently. Being unfinished, they still hold the potential to become even more beautiful than they already are.

Or it could simply be that I am wanting to improve my techniques and tooling, and hone my finishing skills to a point I will feel more prepared to take those unfinished pieces the rest of the way to completion, in both aesthetics and function.

Yeah. That’s why I’m starting another new project. It’s for practice. That’s it.

I’ll chronicle the progress for you here, so I have added incentive to actually make progress.

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Written by johnwhays

February 21, 2016 at 9:03 am