As readers of this blog will remember, someone stacked a pile of junk lumber in front of my shop. In case you missed it, you can see it here. All of it is destined for the fireplace or, in the case of the plywood, fiberboard, chipboard etc., the garbage. That is, all of it except one board, which knew a former life as a frame for a waterbed. It was pretty thick, crack-less and with only two knots. So, I decided to do something with it.
I wanted a unique header for my refurbished gardening blog: “West Texas Gardener” and, since I am a woodcarver, I decided a hand-carved sign might be nice. So, I set to work cutting the blank, sanding, routing, applying polyurethane, masking, applying the pattern, carving, staining the incised letters and, finally, outlining the letters to make them stand out.
As I carved, I remembered why I hate carving regular pine (as opposed to sugarpine which carves quite nicely). It is an unpredictable wood, often brittle, and will sometimes “shred” under the sharpest of tools. The knots are almost impossible to carve without them crumbling like a cookie. But, I eventually finished the process, photographed it for my garden site, and I hope you like the result.
Another photo taken in the shop on the easel
The Scene of the Crime
This genuine, un-retouched, un-photo-shopped photo tells the sordid truth: someone dumped their junk wood in front of my shop. And, it’s not even good wood. Most of it would not even be good firewood (which just burns me up)! You would think that whoever went to the trouble to gather up this stuff and dump it on me could have just dumped it in the alley for the city to pick up instead. Now, I have to lug it out to the alley myself.
No one has come forward to take responsibility for this heinous crime. At first, I thought it might have been someone with good intentions. Since I am a woodcarver (you can see my work at http://whitcarv.wordpress.com), I thought someone was making an anonymous donation of raw materials. Upon closer examination, however, it became apparent this was not the case. Some I can burn but most will end up in the alley of broken wood. I may be barking up the wrong tree, but no use pining, it goes against my grain.
I have a usual suspect in mind but, of course, can’t prove it. Anyway, several previous confrontations have not kept him off my property and I doubt another would be any more effective. For years I have wanted to fence in the area around my shop and garden. A nice, chain-link fence might not stop trespassers but it would certainly make it more difficult. The area, however, is large and my finances are small. Still, I can dream can’t I?
If you have read the “about” section on this blog, you know that woodcarving is another thing I do. Recently I have begun to carve in earnest in the hopes that I can bring in a few extra bucks. As soon as I finish a carving I plan to post pictures on the “Whitticisms” blog and my other (less serious) blog, “In the Charamon Garden.” If you like what you see, I am accepting commissions (that’s artist-speak for “job”) for carvings of all kinds.
The sign pictured below is carved from walnut. The letters are not routed, but incised with chisels and gouges, given three coats of high-quality paint and gold leafed with 23 karat gold. The critters were also carved into the wood, painted and shaded. It was made for a family that collects elephants and frogs among other artifacts and antiques.
You can contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are in the sign business, I will be happy to take your hand-carved sign subcontract work.