MT. RUSHMORE ~ A Commission of Love

   Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects


Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota is an iconic and historic stone sculpture that captures the patriotic imagination of the United States.  Four presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, are immortalized on the side of a mountain as a symbol of nationalistic pride.  Whether it is seen in person or as a photograph the Mt. Rushmore sculpture is a recognized mental image.

Carving a likeness interpretation of Mt. Rushmore in wood is a challenging project that came about by a request of an eight-year-old Granddaughter and Grandpa accepted the commission out of love.  This is the photographic diary of carving this interpretation of Mt. Rushmore out of a basswood block of wood measuring six inches wide, five inches tall and three and a half inches thick.  The WOOD BEE CARVER is primarily a knife carver who chose to carve this project using only knives of which many are of his own design and made by Helvie Knives.

The first photo shows the block of basswood with a BUZZARD 2 knife on top of the block and SIDE KICK AND SIDE KICK II in front of the block. These knives are designed to be used in the roughing out stage of the carving process as they contain a combination of cutting edges to be used is various positions.

The middle photo shows the progress being made in roughing out the basic form of the four heads using the three knives in front of the block.  Notice the photographs in the background that is used for study and guidance.

The third photo on the right shows two additional knives being used in the roughing out stage.  Knife on the left is an extreme scimitar blade made by Hugh Babcock and the knife on right is a prototype ZIG ZAG made by the WOOD BEE CARVER.

The next three photos show the in progress of the faces being carved with a good foundation in order to receive the details of facial features yet to be carved. Notice again the study photo in the background.

The two photos below show the completed details of the facial features.


The four photos below offer four views of the completed carving from various angles.

Knives used for the detail carving the facial features are pictured in the photo below.  These knives are prototypes of detail carving knives that are called LITTLE STINKERS.

Coloration of Mt. Rushmore carving was done using the PAINTING SOFTLY method of artist oil paint thinned with boiled linseed oil to create a stain that allows the grain of the wood to show through the finish.  Base Coat of raw sienna was first applied with a light gray oil finish applied on top of the base coat to create the subtle effect of limestone bathed with sunlight.  The six photos below offer several views.

The final photo show all of the LITTLE STINKER prototype knives that were used in carving the details of the facial features. These seven LITTLE STINKER detail knives will be available soon through HELVIE KNIVES. (To order, contact HELVIE KNIVES 765-675-8811.)

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2018 at 9:32 am and is filed under Carving Projects. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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