Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘wood sculpting

Tool Marks

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I’ve reached the phase of my latest wood sculpting project where I’m happy with the shape and am ready to sand it smooth, but that goal is hampered by the straggling tool marks that remain. Each time I move to a finer grit of sandpaper, the next level of imperfections become apparent.

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I used a grinder to rough out the shape and then some rasping with a metal file to refine it before switching to hand sanding. Inevitably, there ends up being one bothersome spot where the previous tools went a hair deeper than anywhere else. That spot pretty much ends up defining the point of completion.

At least, in that spot with that grit of sandpaper.

Usually, as I move to the next finer grit, several new scuffs appear. Rinse, repeat.

It’s very meditative for my brain, despite becoming a bit of a burden on my aging arthritic grip.

If I don’t have a bright sunny day to illuminate the finest detail, I resort to a headlamp. Otherwise, it looks just fine the way it is to my old eyes.

The prefectionist in me would never settle for that.

While working to clear snow off the roof a few weeks ago, I resorted to repeatedly telling myself that perfect is the enemy of good enough. Any snow removed was better than none at all.

When it comes to a polished wood sculpture, my feelings are just the opposite. I can’t quit until tool marks are gone. At least, on the primary features, anyway. I grant myself some leeway where my design transitions from the rough unfinished bark to the smoothly shaped and polished wood grains.

I have the advantage of not being faced with time constraints in my sculpting projects. That makes all the difference, allowing me to work as fast or slow as I choose to reach the end result I seek, infusing love into the piece all the while.

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Written by johnwhays

February 16, 2021 at 7:00 am

Project Endorphins

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During the winter, I like to assemble jigsaw puzzles. With the pandemic forcing us to stay home, I have more opportunities to puzzle. Now that Cyndie has developed a new interest in puzzling, I am all the more enticed to feed the passion.

But I am torn. I have another project that is competing for my attention at the same time. I’ve started another wood sculpture out of a section of one of our ash trees that was cut down last year.

Last night, it occurred to me that working on shaping the wood gives me the same mental rewards as putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It’s tactile. It involves transforming something into a visually appealing end result.

If you have seen the Pixar/Disney computer-animated comedy-drama film, “Soul,” you will understand the euphoric trance of being “in the zone” of our passions.

Working to shape the wood with rough grit sandpaper, I felt the familiar euphoria of pleasing progress that was just like the reward I get from puzzling.

It’s also a lot like devouring a good book. You don’t want to put it down. You are willing to sacrifice sleep to continue progress. When you are away from [the book/puzzle/sculpting], all you want is to get back to it as soon as possible.

You want more of those project endorphins.

I want more of those project endorphins. Who has time to eat? How am I supposed to go to work?

I want more time to be in that euphoric zone.

For both projects.

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Written by johnwhays

February 2, 2021 at 7:00 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 evenĀ 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