In recent weeks deciding on what type of carving to attempt next has been quite challenging and during the interim I decided to go with a classic design to fill in the void. The carving that is now on eBay is a small Celtic design with a couple of main elements, namely a Celtic cross with hearts. The total dimensions are seven inches by two inches and carved from a nice cream to green colored timber called Poplar.
This timber is a hard wood but cuts extremely well with sharp tools. I normally use palm carving tools to maintain control of the cuts and a gouge for carving out the bowl of the spoon. It is always best to layout the design on paper first to ensure that the elements look balanced together. Once that has been achieved, trace it straight onto the timber or glue the paper right on top of the wooden blank.
For this design I imagined the cross in an ancient graveyard, having seen these type of headstones at cemeteries in England during my school days on various day trips. The presence that these ancient artifacts leave obviously last a life time as the image was easily put to paper.
To get the basic form removing the excess on a bandsaw gives it instant three dimensional shape leaving the fine tuning to hand tools. Carving the bowl with an half inch gouge proves very satisfying especially as you are trying to get the thickness between the front and the back of the spoon to an absolute minimum without breaking through. By keeping the tools sharp the amount of tear out is kept to a minimum and is easily sanded out at a latter stage.
I believe the more relief on the carving the more desirable it becomes. It doesn’t make it any easier but it does provide a bigger challenge and more satisfaction at the end of the day.