Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chainsaw Carving Day IV

I couldn't be happier with the end result. I was able to finish the nude and begin the carving of a male head. I spent the morning refining and finalizing the details and just after lunch Michael put a disc sander in my hands and told me to go over the high points of the carving with the sander. He explained that it was good to leave some of the chainsaw marks in the hollows as this added interest to the carving and kept you from overworking the carving with sanding and wiping out details. The final cut was up the back of the carving with a chainsaw cut eminating from the center of the tree. Michael explained that this was a way to relieve some of the internal pressures of the tree as it dried and subsequently shrank. This was not a guarantee that the carving would not crack in the front but increased one's chances that the carving would not crack right up the middle. I took a look at some of the dry carvings that dot the landscape at the school and you could see clearly where this relief cut was made and what was once a chainsaw cut was now a much larger space. If the chainsaw cut does it job the wood can freely shrink from the back and preserve the details of the front. Michael also showed me some additional texturing techniques which were designed to give some contrast to the smoother carving.

I was very happy to finish the carving and get started on the next since there is only 1 1/2 days left before I must fly home. Tomorrow I will continue the male head I started today and am anxious to see how Michael has me set up and carve the details of the face. There are about a 1/2 dozen or so of these carvings on the property and it was always quite amazing to me that they could get this level of detail with just the chainsaw. No offense to the American carvers, but you don't generally see this level of detail on a chainsaw carving.

By the way. The new pavilion kept us high and dry while it rained cats and dogs today.

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