By now I’ve cut in that notched part which is the “face” of the figure. Now I’ve every last design element in place. A surform tool to let me find the curve of the sprial planes and even them up, flatten the high spots  – I thought I’d be using a chisel for this, but it’s cut is too local, not evenly spread on a curving surface. Its changeing the texture of the wood, shiny-er, harder, and smoother. I’m advised by Q. not to remove all marks of the chisel or saw and to have a mix of marks. A. says that finishing is a step of its own. I’m inviting all advice on this matter, I am undecided.

2 thoughts on “Touches

  1. barracuda

    Okay, a few questions: Why did you choose a block that is checked through to the core? Was that a conscious decision, or was it just handy? I ask because it seems you’re putting a trmendous amont of time and effort in here, and I wonder why you wouldn’t have chosen a more solid piece to start out with. Also, what kind of wood is that?

    Regarding finish, I’d be tempted to polish to a sheen and then oil the sucker up. Until oil goes on, you don’t really get a nice view of the grain. I think the dry wood is just that, whereas an oiled final product will have all kinds of nice natural patterning to complement the simplicity here. Think Brancusi’s wood sculptures. The oil will also help to alleviate the progression of the checking, maybe.


    1. Bug Post author

      Thank you Bob, for your comment, which is often asked of me. I had always meant to use a whole log for this, because the growth-rings are what inspire the sprial flow which is the form of this piece. I want to see them flowing through and around the shape. They inform the design. Inedvitably, a log of wood like this will check badly. I didn’t really find the wood myself, or seek it out specifically. I had some friends who wanted to do me a favor and brought it over in a truck one day, having heard me talk about wanting to carve something. It was in good shape when I got it, several years drying outdoors, from a tree trimmer they knew. They also brought me an even larger log of Cottonwood, which is light as styrofoam compared to this Red Oak. I didn’t think much about it, it was handy. As I carved into it, I exposed more of the inner, wetter core of the log. Now the checking increased as the wetter core wood began to dry out. Overall the big crack you see went from about 10mm to 22mm over several months. The rest mostly stayed the same. Regarding the finish, definitly on the Brancusi wood sculpture, I am so pleased that you see that. (anything about NW Pacific Totem Poles?) I’m leaning strongly to a wiping varnish or oil\varnish, appied in a few thin coats, since I can’t sand between coats. This will all come up in a post of it’s own, before too long I hope.


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