UMPIRE ~ A Commission Carving

   Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects, Knives



A carving of an Ohio High School Athletic Association umpire was commissioned to be given as a birthday gift to the umpire as a surprise.  The only personal reference was a photograph of the person that was enhanced by further search of umpire images on the internet.  All through the carving stages the one photograph was a central part of the creative balance between a two-dimensional reference and the carving of a three-dimensional representation of the photographic image.

The Umpire began as a basswood block measuring nine inches tall, three inches wide and two and a quarter inch deep. Knives were used to first shape the basic form of the empire’s figure holding a face mask in the left hand.  Ninety percent of any carving project is carving the project to its basic form and then with the good foundation of a basic form established the last ten percent of the carving becomes the carving in of the precise details.  The umpire is wearing a baseball style hat with the logo of the “OHSAA” with the outline of the state of Ohio, a torch and a capital “O” and a logo on the chest protector.


The first stage is to shape the area for the hat and head by removing wood above the shoulder area. Then wood is removed in the chest area being careful to save wood for where the face mask will be carved in the left hand.  The long scimitar blade of the DRAGON BEE knife was used to slice away the wood with its long reach as well as its scooping ability to shape the top of the hat and the outline of the ears.




With the head and shoulders established, an outline of the major landmarks of the figure are drawn on the block using the reference of the Rule of Three for the body with three proportional area.  The shoulder to the waist in one third, the waist to mid-knees is one third and mid-knees to bottom of feet is one third as the proportional divisions of the body.



The SIDE KICK knife was used for some of the shaping and removal of wood for the various areas of the body of the umpire.  The photos above show the various positions of that knife being used in this shaping stage. The SIDE KICK has three cutting area, a straight cutting edge, the front end of the blade is a second cutting edge and the curved portion of the bade between the two cutting edges is another cutting edge.  In the two photographs below, the curved scimitar blade of the VIPER knife is being used in areas where a curved cutting edge is useful.


The next series of photographs show the shaping of the legs and shoe area in carving the basic form stage. The first photo shows three knives that are being used for this stage of the carving process.  On the left are the VIPER and the SUPER BEE knives and on the right is the VIPER II knife. The second photo show the STINGER BEE knife.  Even though these knives are similar with their curved cutting edges, yet the different lengths and individual shape design lend themselves for versatility in the stages of the shaping of the legs. The three photos of the legs highlight the progressive development of thinning the legs to the desired size.



As the basic form stage of the carving process continues to refine the major area of the figure, the next stage is to choose one of those major areas the carve in the detail.  The Three photos below highlight the carving of the face mask which is a tedious process with the piercing between the openings of the mask in tight areas being careful not to break any of the areas which are weak due to being cross grained of the wood fibers.  Once to mask has been carefully carved the delicate areas of the mask receive a soaking of liquid super glue to strengthen that area.  The two LITTLE STINKER Detail Knives # 4 and # 5 were used to do this phase of delicate detail carving. The third photo is of the face mask after it has been painted.


The next area to receive detail carving steps is the face which up to now has had a narrowed dowel shape with a hat on top.  The first photo below is looking up from the bottom of chin to see the horse shoe shape of the dowel shape in which the face will be carved.  The second and third photos show the eye socket area scooped out with a slice and roll cut of the GREEN HORNET 2 knife blade on either side of the nose area. The fourth photo shows guidelines drawn indicating the major landmarks of the face to be opened with notch cuts under the eye brows, under the nose nostrils, smile lines and the lips of the mouth.


The next series of photographs below show the face carved in detail, the logo on hat and chest protector carved, a profile of the face and the painted figures showing the logos.




The first photograph below shows a close up of the detail of the right hand.  The second photograph shows how the lettering on the hat and the chest protector were painted.  The logo lettering on the hat were made using a tip of a pointed square tooth pick to dip into white acrylic paint for a small drop of paint to print out each letter with a light touch. This lettering was done on top of the lightly carved and painted state of Ohio, “O”,  and a torch.  The logo on the chest protector was first carved into the wood with a “V” ditch outlining the letters.  After the paint had dried, then the “V” ditch receive white acrylic paint using a needle like tool or awl to receive a drop of paint on its tip to apply a drop of paint over and over again into the “V” ditch to fill up the ditch.


Note of Interest: the knives used for this project are designed by this author and are made by HELVIE KNIVES as the WOOD BEE CARVER Signature Series knives. A listing of knives available for purchase can be viewed at HELVIE KNIVES.





This entry was posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2018 at 2:42 pm and is filed under Carving Projects, Knives. 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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