Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cherry is so very...

What single word can I use to describe cherry wood?  Beautiful doesn't quite do it justice I think.  It is that and so much more.  For example, when you first split it open, green from the tree, you can smell that it is cherry, it smells wonderful.  Sort of like, well, cherries. 

The grain seems sort of long and stringy at first site, but when you get into it, it is really nice, and not really that stringy at all to work with.  It splits nice as well, I split out the pith with my froe and it came out without any issues.

These two logs were taken from the bottom of the tree, right above the ground.  It is wet.  It is amazing how much water has been coming out of it as I let it rest between carving sessions.  It doesn't seem to be too hard, but then again, it isn't soft either.  I've had to rest my hands a few times while carving, not to mention run my knife across the strop a few times to put the edge back on it.  No matter!  I've got stuff to make, and fresh green wood to make it with!  I can tell you, it seems that my wood supply is somewhat hit or miss these days, so you have to make hay when the sun shines!

All this splitting and smelling and wiping way of water for what purpose?  I'm working on a new quaich if you must know.  I sat down at the table the other night and put some thoughts and sizes on paper. 

I wanted something to start from, often times I just go out to the garage and start carving away and what comes out at the end is more luck than planning.  So with this quaich, I put some pencil to paper and made a pattern.  After taking some additional measurements, I transferred the pattern to my cherry log.

Then came the axe work.  Let me tell you now, I am not very proficient with the axe.  I have trouble with consistent strokes, I need to improve my accuracy, and frankly, I have trouble knowing how far I can go with the axe before switching to a knife.  I definitely could go further than I do, but I get all nervous and think that I have already gone too far.  It is a work in progress.  I know that axing as much as you can certainly makes carvng much easier.  In any case, here is what I had after 10 or 15 minutes of axe work.

Not great, I know, but you can start to see the hazy outlines of the quaich coming into view.  I did a bit more than this and then broke out the carving knives and got started.  I'll post the rest of this project in the next day or so, I am carefully drying it now before putting the finishing touches on my little quaich.  I am liking it so far.

In the mean time, I am about to enter slingshot mode again.  I've went and bought a 2 foot square piece of 3/4" Lauan plywood and am about to put in an order for some band material.  More on those in the future too.  So many projects so little time!  Happy carving everyone.

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