Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects

WHITTLE FOLK CLASSICS - Front ViewWHITTLE FOLK CLASSICS - Side ViewWHITTLE FOLK CLASSICS - Rear ViewWHITTLE FOLK CLASSICS - Side ViewWHITTLE FOLK CLASSICS are whittle-carved out of one and a half square by six inch tall  block of basswood.  Each subject in this series has been carved several times before only in smaller versions from a one inch square by four and a half inch tall block of basswood.  Each has been highlighted in a previous posting and are grouped together here in four photographs showing the front, back and both sides of the six carvings. 

The WOOD BEE CARVER is primarily a knife carver so any of his carvings that have “Whittle” as part of their name have been carved with knives.  Each carving takes between eight to twelve hours to complete with an additional hour to paint each figure.  Carving out of a square block of wood presents a certain challenge to try to get as much expression, action and detail into a limited space as each carving is from one piece of wood without any add on’s.

Weak areas are strengthen by  planning ahead to keep weak areas attached to the larger section of the carving and is some cases the weak area may receive a soaking of super glue to strengthen the wood.  The base is carved as part of the carving to provide a solid platform, otherwise without a base the feet may break off because  the cross grain section of the wood is weak.  There is a conscious effort in the planning and execution of the carving process to create flowing lines of a lazy “S” and an elongated “C” along with intentional bends at the knees and elbows in a relaxed and normal pose.

In like manner the head to turned slightly and the body twisted to give movement as much as possible within the constraints of the size of the block of wood.  Little extras are also carved with undercutting, creating soft wrinkles as well as sharp bends in the clothing.  Carvings are first carved to the basic form and then each area is refined with detail carving using a lot of slicing cuts throughout the process.

To aid in the detail phase there are some areas that are carved in such a way to create hard lines in order to cast a shadow creating the appearance of being more detailed than it actually is.  Carving hair, beard and mustache are done with two cuts of the tip of the knife blade.  The first cut is a perpendicular cut, much like drawing a pencil line in a flowing lazy “S” fashion.  The second cut is an angled cut putting the tip of the knife blade in the beginning of the preceding cut and following it to its end taking out a thin sliver of wood.  Those cuts are repeated as close to one another all over the area receiving the hair texture, carving one strand of hair at a time.

What these cuts do is create a hard line which cast a shadow down across the channel created by the two cuts.  In comparison the “V” tool creates a “V” channel that is smooth at the two top edges and smooth at the bottom of the channel.  Light dies in a “V” tool channel so whenever I do carve larger carvings where I am using a “V” tool or a small “U” I will randomly make a few of my “whittle hair cuts” in some of those channels to  create a hard line that cast shadows.  It is these shadows that also give movement and depth to a flat surface.

Even though I have carved these figures many times before, yet each one is a new carving, a new journey of learning by doing and a challenge to create life in a block of wood as each takes on a personality of their own.  Perhaps that is what makes these  “Whittle Folks” into CLASSICS.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008 at 11:40 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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