Rod's Green Man: Part 7

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One Man's Woodcraft: Carving.

The Green Man: Part 7

Rod's Green Man, part 7.

This time we'll have a little look at surfaces.

Convex surfaces are more awkward than concave (for me, anyway) so here, it's concave and anyway, that's the way I approach it - convex surfaces as a series of (slightly concave) facets at somewhere not too far from appropriate angles.

In the picture, the recess around the lower face had been cut using the same basic method as discussed below, with some parts being cut across or at an angle, depending on what seemed like a good idea at the time, and how the grain accepted cuts. Here, we're looking at the top of the picture, from about His eye level and upwards.

For demonstration purposes – not usually done this way: with a relatively deeply curved tool (remember, my toolkit is limited and was bought for work rather smaller than this), I cut a series of grooves, aiming for regularity of both width and depth, by using a scooping cut: in/scoop/out and following it with more scoops either forward from edge to end or back from end to edge. The grain of the wood wasn't satisfactory for a single long cut – it wanted to take the tool deeper and resulted in uneven surfaces, but would have been good if cutting in the other direction (upwards) except for escaping at the edge. That phase finished, it looked like the few inches on the top right (His top left...) of the photo.

So, leaving those few inches as they are, then using the same tool, I took off the ridges of the remainder, aiming for a bit shallower grooves than those first ones.
After that, with the same tool and starting nearly halfway across, took off the ridges from those cuts. Next, move over a bit, removing those ridges using a shallower tool and paying attention to depth variations over all the remaining surface. Then move again and with my widest, shallowest, tool removing (most?) bumps and hollows as well as ridges, having crept down to about the depth of the first cuts.

Once more, refining further, then sandpaper using 100 grit (p100) - p80 would have been quicker but there wasn't a piece to hand...

The patch over his eyes and nose used the same technique but refining the ridges as work progressed – the usual way. As we've said, the lower part, around the face, was cut using this method – but with progressively deeper scooping cuts.
As far as I can tell, depth seems to be perceived by the eye, largely by a sort of average of the tops of ridges and their shadows, so normally it's a case of taking off those major ridges and some lesser ones as work progresses – with occasional depth checking.

How deep to cut? Make a guess – and cut off less.

When taking off the ridges, cuts will go rather easier because there's less wood to remove. Don't necessarily aim for the same depth as the first cut – removing those and succeeding ridges will allow you to refine depth – leave room for more depth while making the first cut - there's time yet.

When setting up for a session, arrange work piece and lighting appropriately, so that you get shadows from cuts, wherever you can. If possible, arrange to be able to turn the work piece and/or move a light around in order to be at a convenient angle and get reasonable shadows.

Arranging the work piece involves a bit more than what we've mentioned above – it really should be at a convenient height – don't stoop or stretch or eventually you'll regret it.

For flat work like this, you will probably find that the top surface is about right when at an inch or two below elbow height – upper arm to your side, bend your elbow at right-angles and go as if to rest your arm on the work piece – if your elbow is low, that probably won't be comfortable after a while – but if you're a little high (an inch or two, maybe as much as three) that should be about OK for holding tools and pushing down on handles.

Articles by Rod


09.12.13 Front Page

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