At first glance, this rhododendron bird bowl seems typical of other bird bowls I’ve carved, but this one was an experiment in working with crotch wood. As usual, I learned from it.
There’s the huge rhododendron Y above. The area in the center of the Y has a very different grain situation from a crook. At the confluence of grain between the two branches, there is all sorts of crazy tensions and toughness,. Still, seeing that nice curve, I had to try it.
I split the crooks off of the outside. Some spoons from those will be appearing soon. Then I cut the central “stem” off beneath the crotch.
After planing the bottom flat, I was ready to find the bird in there.
There’s the finished little bird, and my hand for scale, oriented to match the blank in the previous photo.
So, while it worked out in the end, it was tough going! Even green, that crotch grain area was hard as nails. And as the piece dried it moved and twisted all over the place. A narrow crack opened up along one side. It didn’t extend to the inside and I Iet some CA glue wick into it. After drying, I went back and carved the whole thing back into shape. You can see the remnant of the crack running from foot to wing, right along the center of the crotch. All of the movement took place during the drying process. It’s solid and stable now.
Another finished experiment is the bird above. An exploration in working white pine. I showed some progress shots in this post. As expected, the biggest challenge was getting clean polished cuts in this soft wood that just crushes if the tool is not ultra sharp. It worked out, but I don’t plan on making a habit of it. It was better, I think, to carve it green when the cells were more supported by water. Maybe.
I painted the inside with thinned artist oil paint.
A shot from above.
Not a bird, but almost as big. Chip and I came outside one morning last week and found the largest moth I (we) had ever seen on the door frame. Five inch wing span. As I learned, it’s an Imperial Moth. Chip was curious but cautious. No harm came to the moth.
One last flyer, a bumblebee reveling in Rose of Sharon pollen in the side yard last week. There’s always more to learn and notice.