I’ve never come across a redwood tree in my neck of the woods, but now I’ve carved the wood for the first time. I’ve had this board (18″ x 9 1/2″ x 1″) kicking around since it was given to me at least twenty years ago. It was reportedly salvaged from a picnic table out west if I recall.
I love it when a good use finally comes to mind for a board that’s been gathering dust, and so this one would fit the bill for a simple welcome sign to hang on the wall outside our home. I had some fun with the design as I sketched the letters and the tree onto the board. Carving it was, well, a bit of a learning experience.
This redwood board, at least, was brittle and very soft. The tools had to be particularly sharp and have fine bevel angles to cut at all cleanly. There was some gouge work on the tightest parts of the curves, but I stuck with the knife as much as I could. The photo below shows a shot after getting rid of some excess material with a V-tool, then just starting in on the W with the knife. You can get some sense of the brittleness. I had to be particularly careful at the acute junctions between elements to assure that the short grain didn’t break away.
But, anyway, it’s redwood so it should hold up well outside. I’ll brush some oil on it and pop it onto the house.
Meanwhile, I welcome the news that Peter Follansbee’s book is now out in the real-deal print form. Hold it, smell it, hear the pages turn — and read it, of course. Bring your copy to Plymouth CRAFT’s Spoon Day next month and ask him to sign it; I’m going to.
David it is beautiful as always. Thanks for the inspiration. What kind of knife did you use?
Thanks Kent. That’s a mill knife from Hyde tools. I wrote about it a bit, including links, in this post: https://davidffisherblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/greenwoodworking-in-white-oak/
As usual, beautiful work, David! Keep ’em coming!
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Just perfect. I’ve tried carving house numbers, much less successfully, and can appreciate how difficult it is to get that level of crispness and finish, and without overshooting the cuts! Hats off to you Dave.
The design is outstanding too. Love the tree. How did you carve the leaves, they look great – V-tool?
BTW What is the unusual looking knife shown in the picture?
Thanks, Tony. The leaves were carved with a gouge. I ran the gouge from stem to leaf tip, carving each side separately with the corner of the gouge running along the middle of the leaf. I’ve got information about the knife now in my reply to Kent above.
What a sharp knife you have David! ( said Hansel )
What a beautiful design you have David! ( said Gretel )
Long ago, I “engraved” a piece of redwood with some sort of screeching rotating thing, long before I learned about gouges and carving knives. Even from that weak memory, I can admire the patience required when working that species of wood. Thus, the fairy tale verse. It’s a fairy tale to even imagine this sort of carving,
Ha! I appreciate your creativity, Bob! And thanks for sharing your experience with redwood.
Ahh…yes Redwood can be hard to work! I see that you overcame it with an excellent carving. High regards for your craftsmanship!!!!
Beautiful carving in challenging wood, Dave! Having worked with wood on boats over the years, (exposed to both sun and water), and since this fine piece will be outside, have you given any thought to finishing it with a marine varnish?
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