Thursday, April 10, 2014

Carving a Leaf from Wood - My "How to..."

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So the question of the day was, "So, how do you carve a Leaf? How do you get it so thin? Is it pressed when it is wet?" Sorry - not A question, but rather three. 

The answer is I start with a piece of wood that is thick enough to capture the way the leaf has naturally curved - when it dries out. I draw the shape of the leaf on to a piece of plastic from my recycling bin ( a piece of old transparency works very well too) This new pattern is then placed on the piece of wood. With the help of my scroll saw I cut the leaf out. Then using the original leaf I begin to carve the top surface of the leaf... rough out first then with smaller cuts that are closer together with each cut. The finished surface still has the chisel marks on it.

NEXT - I turn the carved leaf over. I then match the bottom with the top by more and more chisel cuts... using my fingers as the caliper to judge the thickness I want.

As I approach the final thickness I will stop soon enough to allow the sanding of the surface until it is perfectly smooth. By adding "Duct Tape" to the back of sand paper it will keep the sand paper from tearing and also make it soft like cloth getting into the twists and turns of carving.

By holding the completed leaf up to the light source such as a desk lamp you will be able to see light coming through the wood - if it is thin enough. You will also know it is thin enough if you feel the sand paper pressure coming through the wood piece... but if that happens it may be too late - or a new design.

It you try this method - please send me a photo of your carving.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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