I had wanted to carve an alphabet board for a long time, and I finally got around to it. The process began long before I took a knife to the basswood board above.
I first put my thoughts onto paper with this page in my notebook back in June. Just a few thumbnail sketches.
Eventually, I focused those ideas into a larger sketch, still pretty loose, but it also allowed me to envision some possibilities with some quick colored pencil work.
With thoughts of making several examples using this same design, I developed the design further by drawing it full size on tracing paper. By laying a sheet on top of earlier drafts, I was able to adjust the spacing and redo certain things as the design developed. This space-saving drawing board has served me well for a few years now. I have plans for it in this post. An angled drawing surface is a lot easier on your neck.
After hand planing the basswood board, I brushed on blue artist oil paint, then wiped most of it off of the surface, allowing the grain of the wood to peak through a bit. That took a few days to dry completely. I transferred the pattern with graphite paper, carved with a knife, then painted the leaves and border carefully.
I decided to keep this first example and make a second, in butternut, to offer for sale.
For the darker butternut, I decided to do a wash of titanium white over the surface. The contrast between the paint and the wood is a little more subtle than it appears in the photograph above.
Care must be taken, when placing and carving the leaves, to avoid short grain situations between leaves that will split away under the pressure of the knife.
The border was created by planing a wide bevel after the carving was done. For the butternut version, I used a thicker board that allowed for a more substantial border. The overall dimensions are 14 1/4″ x 6 3/4″ x 13/16″. I inset a keyhole hanger into the back. If you’d like to hang it in your home, please send me an email at email@example.com or leave a comment below. $500 includes shipping. Thank You. Update: SOLD