Saturday, October 23, 2010

Holiday Season - Noah's Ark's

Here's half of the Noah's Ark's that I have finished for the 2010 Holiday season. Each Ark averages 12 pairs of animals. The larger Ark's have more, small less. But all and all it means that I have to whittle over 600 animals to fill the Ark's. Maybe next year I'll scale back. Several of these Ark's are already spoken for (buyers). The smallest Ark has my pocket knife placed in front of it for a size comparison.
I am doing some Quilting too, along with co-teaching a weekly quilting class. I am presently providing one on one assistance for brand new quilters, along with keeping the older machines running properly.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Civil War Soldier Bust

In an effort to escape from carving and painting animals for Noah's Arks I tried a bust of a Civil War soldier. The soldier is whittled from basswood and is just a tiny bit over 1 3/4 inches tall. I mounted him on a 1 inch wooden toy wheel.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Exercise For Quilters

A member of the quilting class I co-teach passed this "Quilter's Exercise Block" out to all of the class. (You'll have to click on the image to read the info). The first photo shows the bag, with the block in it, and the second photo shows the block with the instructions.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

How Long Does It Take?

I have been whittling and carving for right at 5 years. I remember my very first attempts at using a carving knife, and asking "how long does it take to learn to carve"? Silly question! But the answer has stuck with me. An experienced carver told me, "carve 1000 faces and you'll begin to get there".

Now this brings me to where I am now. In my marriage contract it states that my wife does not do breakfast. I love breakfast! So, I drive a bit down the road and eat my breakfast in a local diner. I do this five days each week. While having my coffee I carve two Santa or Gnome heads for pins or tree ornaments. It has occurred to me that I've carved a lot of Santa and Gnome heads, during these past five years.

(5 days per week) X (2 Santa/Gnome heads) = 10 carved heads per week
(52 weeks per year) X (10 Santa/Gnome heads) = 520 carved heads per year
(520 Santa/Gnome heads per year) X (5 years) = 2600 carved heads.

But lets say I sluffed off and missed a few days. Lets round the final number to 2000 carved Santa and Gnome heads done in the past 5 years.

Hum! I'm not there yet. But then again he said, "carve 1000 heads and you'll BEGIN to get there.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Whittling & Carving Fast!

Those who have followed this blog know that I like to whittle and carve as a demonstration to kids, and other interested folks. When ever I am participating in a carving show I like to whittle and carve small items and give them to interested kids. Part of my reason is to hopefully get some kids interested in wood carving. Plus it's just fun. One of the considerations in doing this is to have something that can be whittled or carved quickly. There's the 5 minute owl, the 5 minute wizard, and the Santa ornament. The Santa takes more time than the owl and the wizard. But I am refining the knife cuts to a point where I can complete a small Santa ornament in a very short time. The only reason to speed the whittling up is to have more Santa's to get out. Plus it's a challenge. Kids attention span is quite short, so I try to be fast, while maintaining safety.
The above small Santa can be done in 6 minutes. That's 6 minutes after some practice. But remember, each practice session results in a Santa. I carve these small Santa's in the round, on a 3/8" x 6" piece of Basswood. I can get 6 Santa's from the 6" piece (3 from one end then 3 from the other end). But since I give them to the kids who are watching, I cut them off as I go, and this means I only get 4 per 6" piece. I need to keep a "handle" to hold when carving.