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Friday, January 21, 2011

There's More than One Way...

To skin a cat. In Whittling, there are as many paths to a finished project as there are whittlers. I've filled this blog with my own steps on my path; one of the most important steps was learning to cut away enough material so my whittlings stopped looking like the block of wood they started out as I actually have two entrees on the subject, Apr 09 2010, Edgar Poe and the El Dorado of Whittling and Sept 21 2010, Evolution.

I found another with a different approach I'd like to share. Eric Oswandel of Michigan is a member of the forum (Midnight Carver there).
He was part of the Ornament Exchange 2010, he made the standing Santa here.
Eric used nice deep cuts to separate different parts of his Santa- arms from body, head and shoulders, etc. Blank was a 1" x 1" x 4.5" block. More than one part of the piece fills the 1' square- shoulders, cheeks, belly, toes- but he does not look like a block. Its the transitions from part to part- deep cuts where the beard meets the belly, where the arms meet the body, hair meets upper back give a added depth and degree of detail

There are some other features worth mentioning. Making eyes that appear to be smiling is not an easy thing, especially on an unpainted piece. Eric's eyes are simple rectangular chips- the smile comes from the cheekbones and the upturned mustache. Its a magnificent mustache, don't you think?
Mittens are a great alternative to trying to carve hands (something I've avoided so far- I stick em in pockets)

(I just noticed the date feature on my camera is a little off, Oops.)

Here is Eric's description of his method:
For my finish:
1. I rubbed the carving down thoroughly with a brown paper bag
2. I painted the whole piece with several thin washes of burnt umber, keeping it wet, until I got the color I wanted. Keep in mind, the color will change when dunked in oil.
3. Right away, I lightly rolled it back and forth in a brown paper bag, which took some of the paint off the high spots
4. When it was dry, I dunked it in Watco Danish oil - natural color. I waited 30 min, then dunked it again
5. After waiting at least 3 days, for the oil to fully cure, I gave it 3 coats of Deft clear wood finish - Satin

Have a great day!

Thank you Eric, both for the ornament and for sharing with us.
Keep whittling-