Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stick Flowers. for the Gypsy in all of us

Sean Hellman, a better woodworker than I will ever be, posted a video a few days ago on making wooden flowers.  Big surprise, that was all it took for me to be off and running.  To be fair, I had watched a few videos in the past on the subject, but Sean's video inspired me to give it a try.

I think sometimes we all get caught up in the idea that to be a wood worker of any sort, we need the latest and the greatest tools.  Sean demonstrated that, to get started at least, often the the tools that you have at your home right now are good enough.  As with all things, as your skill progresses you will want to improve the quality of your tools, but it is important to just give it a try and see what happens.

In any case, after watching Sean's video, and then watching it again, I was headed outside to look for sticks.  I didn't have to go far, I had a few random limbs laying around (hey, its winter time, don't judge) and before long, I was back inside with a few carefully selected pieces.  Okay, lets be fair, a few random sticks that I picked up in the yard.

I attempted to make these flowers with a knife as was shown in the video, but I just wasn't able to make it work.  I kept cutting off petals!  All I could really make was a pointed stick.  Even though pointed sticks are pretty neat, they don't look like flowers.  Just when I was getting frustrated with the whole project, I switched to my Flexcut drawknife and my shave horse.

Stock photo
Now, why do I have a Flexcut drawknife?  You can thank Mr. Hellman for that too!  No wonder my wife gets a look of panic in her eyes when I say "Honey!  Guess what I just read about?!"  Wait, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, flowers!  I switched to my drawknife and shave horse, and I was off and running.

Here are the first few that I made.  I think they look like flowers.  I ended up making 14 in total, well 14 that I kept, even with the draw knife I made a few mistakes.  Usually the problems that I encountered were not keeping the cuts even and I ended up spiraling as I went around.  The good thing about using the draw knife was that I could bend down over the work and make sure the cuts were nice and even.

I added "stems" to the flowers by drilling a hole in the bottom of each one with a 1/16th inch drill bit and then gluing in some 18 gauge florist wire.  It came in a pack of 24 for about $3.00.  I wanted to add some color, but also really liked the natural look.  I ended up putting some water based paint into a spray bottle and thinning it down with some more water and spraying a few of the flowers lightly.  The water made the petals curl a bit, I was happy with the effect.

It was a fun project to do and my wife appreciated the time and effort that was spent making them.  I learned a few things during the whole process.  I need to shape the bottom of the flowers before I make them, as you can see in those last two pictures, the bottoms are still round.  I should have taken a few seconds to taper the bottoms.  Also, sticks matter.  They have to be dry.  This actually works out well, no cutting of live trees is required.

Making these flowers made me think of spring, I can't wait for it to get here.  It can't come too soon though!  I've got projects on the bench that need finishing, believe it or not, that quaich isn't dry yet.  It's close though, really close.  Happy carving everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, great to see some wonderful flowers. The more you make the better they become, looking forward to seeing more.