This post is the follow up to the one I wrote a few months ago on the early stages of carving this walnut bowl. After the bowl dried, I did some reshaping and refining of all of the surfaces inside and out. There is a contrast of textures, the smoothest being the wide exterior band below the rim. For that surface, I progressed from spokeshave, to card scraper, to a little final smoothing with very fine sandpaper (400 and 600 grit). The other surfaces are straight from the edge tools, as usual.
The requested inscription, AMOR VINCIT OMNIA, was a factor in the overall design. I considered the length of the inscription and the circumference of the bowl: a short phrase on a long line. A bit like a little kid hugging Santa Claus. In this case, larger/taller letters would fit the given length better in general, so I made room for them, generally.
I wanted to work out the spacing and the design of the letters on paper. The top of the band is narrower than the bottom, like a section of a cone. I took a direct approach to figuring how that band would translate to a flat surface by taping pieces of paper in a sort of ring tightly around the surface. Then I ran a finger around the top and bottom edge, leaving an imprint in the paper. After unwrapping it, I laid my train of papers on the bench and traced the arcs onto tracing paper then started sketching letters until I had a design and spacing that I liked.
This time, I set up my drawing board on the low bench. I wrote about this convenient break-down drawing board in another post.
There’s what I came up with.
I cut out that band, rubbed the back side of the letters with a soft pencil, then wrapped it around the bowl to transfer the letters. Ultimately, the pencil lines are reasonably firm suggestions; it’s where the cutting edge stops that counts.
The cutting edge in this shot belongs to a v-tool. On larger letters like this, I often remove much of the bulk from the letter with a mallet and v-tool before moving to knives, chisels and/or gouges to varying degrees depending on the circumstances. Carving the large letters on this bowl required constant adaptation to the changing grain orientation around the bowl. I carved another round bowl with lettering in this same orientation a few years ago, but that lettering was on a much smaller scale, which made a big difference.
In the above shot, the O was cut into “normal” side grain, but the transition toward end grain begins right around the bend.
This shot is looking directly into the end grain. The grain orientation can be completely different in adjacent walls of a single letter. I was pulling my hair out at times, but the lessons learned will be more useful than the hair.