Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Good Weekend for a Woodcarver...and a Grampa

When my wife came back from a brief visit with our Daughter, Son-in-law and two grand children last weekend, she said that she thought 2-year old Clara -- who has an affinity for owls -- would *really like* to have a "Grampa-carved" owl for her bedroom wall.

The whole family was to be in town for the my birthday this past Saturday so the question became: "Could I find a suitable owl to use for a pattern and could I get it carved and painted in 5 days?"

If I had to decide what I thought was the Internet's most important use I would say, without a doubt, that it is finding images for carving.
I pulled up Google Images and within 5 minutes I found a picture of the perfect owl (just to the left here).   I don't know for certain but it sure looks like something that flew off  the Disney drawing boards.

I blew up the image to the desired size and printed it out.  Two minutes spent with carbon paper and about five more with the band saw and I was off to the races.

Since the wings exist almost in the same plane (even though one appears to be way in front of the other) and since my basswood was only about 3/4"thick, the entire piece had to be done in rather shallow relief. But the head, which is much smaller needed to be almost done "in the round" for everything to look right. This was the first time that I had ever tried anything like that.

I started carving Monday evening and took my tools and the blank with me on a business trip so I could carve in my hotel room Wednesday night. [Note to self: Remember to send a note of apology to the poor hotel maid that had to vacuum all of those little wood chips out of the rug the next day. I picked up most of them, but those little things really stick! :-)].
I got home Thursday evening but couldn't paint the little guy until Friday evening. I sprayed the owl with Polyurethane Saturday morning and presented it Saturday afternoon. A close call, time-wise, but I think that the results were worth it. Clara was having a snack -- away from her older brother -- so with her parent's permission, I chose that moment to present it.
Clara's reaction? First she cried, "An owl!!!" Then she reached out and hugged it...then me!

Grampa's reaction? Kinda warm all over.

"Til next time...keep makin' chips...Oh...and maybe an owl for your grand-daughter:-)

1 comment:

lovin' 60 said...

I'm sure the biggest reward for you was her smile! The grandkids are lucky to have a carvin' grampa!