Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects


A local knife maker, Pappy O’Machearley, commissioned the WOOD BEE CARVER to carve a caricature likeness of him posing in front of a blacksmith’s anvil shaping a red-hot steel blade.



The first step in the process was to take several photographs of the pose along with close up photos of his face with front, profiled and back of head views.  These photos became the guide for formulating a mental image to duplicate the imagined image. While this mental incubation continued to come into focus an appropriate block of basswood was chosen that measured twelve inches tall, four inches wide and three inches deep. Using the incubating imagined image to plan the pose it became apparent that the figure would be nine inches tall and the anvil on the stump in front of the figure would be three inches tall. In other words, there would be two blocks of wood, one nine inches tall and the other block three inches tall requiring the original twelve inch tall basswood block to be sawed in two in order to have the nine inch and three inch blocks to begin the carving process.

The Wood Bee Carver uses the “carve by design” process of removing wood using knives to carve in slicing actions to create the basic form.  The first step is to carve the basic form of the head by slicing away the corners of the block of wood. Once the basic form of the head is established, and the base is established, the area between the head and the base are divided into three equal proportions. The Rule of Three for Body Proportions are divided ~ Shoulder to Waist – Waist to Mid Knees – Mid Knees to Bottom of Feet. Within these proportions, guidelines are drawn of the basic body parts of arms, hands holding objects, legs, feet and clothing outlines.  These lines will guide where to remove wood allowing the basic form to take shape.  Carving to basic form is ninety percent of the carving process with detail carving of ten percent coming at the final stage of the carving process.  It is while the shaping of the basic from that “design by carving” will guide the basic appearance of the project so that the design begins to take shape to mirror the mental image and meld into a design as the wood is being shaped. The photos below show the progressive stages being developed along with the knives being used during the shaping process.

As the carving continues to be refined in the shaping process some areas begin to receive detail shaping. The first photo below shows the front of the bib overalls receiving details. And the hammer detail is shaped. The second photo shows the block where the anvil and stump will be carved is in front of the figure.

The stump and anvil are carved to basic form as in the first photo below.  The second and third photos show the anvil, stump and base are lined up in front of the figure and reveal that the stump and anvil portion will need to be closer so that the tongs holding the steel knife blade will sit on top of the anvil. This is accomplished by whittling away a portion of the base under the bottom of the stump enough so that the stump will slide in-between the shoes and the tongs and steel blade will rest on top of the anvil as in the fourth photo.

The two separate parts are secured together with a thin strip of basswood glued to the bottom of the two parts of the carving. The name “O’MACHEARLEY” was carved into the front base.  The tongs and steel blade were carved as a separate insertion so that the grain of wood would run in the direction of the length of the tongs for strength.

Painting of the finished carving included using acrylic black paint on the hammer head and tongs and green on the top of base.  The rest of the painting was accomplished with artist oil paint thinned with boiled linseed oil.  The base coat was the color Raw Sienna and boiled linseed oil and was applied to the entire carving.  Next the head band, shirt, banana hanging out the back pocket, anvil and shoes were painted with artist oil paint Black thinned with boiled linseed oil.  The stump and hammer handle were painted with Burnt Umber. The buttons and clasps were painted with Indian Yellow oil paint. The red-hot steel was painted with a mixture of Indian Yellow and Red.  Finally, an application of Deft completed the finished surface.

Pappy O’Machearley poses with the caricature likeness of the knife maker and he will display the carving when he displays his works of art of knife making and leather work on knife sheaths at knife shows. Visit his web site at ~ https://sites.google.com/site/omachearleycustomknives/home

The second photo below shows some of his knife and leather art.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 22nd, 2019 at 12:51 pm 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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