Friday, June 29, 2012

Whittlin' a stable of horses

Just a quick photo update to show some of the horses I'm carving. This new batch will be like Nora's horse, with much more detail in the hair of the manes and tails.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A carved toy horse for Nora

I really like carving these toy horses, especially so when they're going to a friend's newborn baby. Like many others, this horse is carved from basswood using one of my Swedish Mora knives. There's more attention paid to the detail of the mane and tail than in previous horses, and I'm happy with how it came out. I took great care to soften all the edges, and gave it a good sanding. Salad bowl finish, acrylic paint, and spray shellac give the horse it's color, while also sealing it and protecting it. The small letter "n" woodburned onto the right hip stands for Nora.

Monday, June 25, 2012

"The unessential is detrimental."

The philosophy of Finnish knifemaker Heimo Roselli: Heimo Roselli refuses to build any non-functional or unnecessary attributes in his knives. The unessential is detrimental.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sharpness: A leather strop with a twist

Carving wood means having sharp knives. I use regular old sharpening stones, but also resort to sandpaper, ceramic rods, and leather strops with polishing compound. I'm confident that I can bring most blades to a nice edge, and many blades with good steel to armhair-shaving perfection. The strop I've put together here carries a small ceramic rod. The rod is great for touching up a blade just before a few swipes on the leather. The ceramic rod's handle has a flathead nail in it, which contacts a rare earth magnet in the strop board, holding the rod safe and secure. This a rough version, and I plan on making the next one a little smoother looking, but the idea has borne fruit. I think it's a neat little sharpening kit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Destroy it and start over!

I've always wanted a carving knife with a hand-carved handle. The idea here is to leave strong "whittle marks" and show an overall rustic appearance. I ordered a Mora knife blade from Ragweed Forge, and it got to me in two days time. Using some birch my dad gave me, I carved up a nice, comfortable grip in the Swedish tradition. I drilled a hole deep enough for the tang, then pounded the blade into the wood. Oops! Too much force, not enough measuring. I had failed to account for the flaring of the tang just before the blade starts, and split the wood. I knocked the failed handle off with my chisel-like CRKT Razel, and headed back to the drawing board.

Friday, June 1, 2012

An Old Textile Spool Carved into a Snowman

Old-fashioned textile spools are good platforms for carving. They sit up on their own, and come with a certain rustic look. This one was sent to me by a lady in Missouri, who asked me to carve it into a custom Snowman Christmas decoration.
To fill in the carving, I placed the snowman in front of a green pine tree. A light sanding left strong whittle marks, and after painting I gave it another pass with some high-grit sandpaper for an aged look.