Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Maine Lighthouse

The Maine Lighthouse
About the time I started the dolphin carving that I just posted, the woman who commissioned it e-mailed to say that the Dolphin carving would most likely be residing on one side the piano leaving the other side “a bit lacking.”  So could I do a another “beach themed” companion piece? 

We went through a number of ideas: seashells, sailboats and a few others but nothing really seemed to suit -- well, didn't suit me, anyway :-)  Then I suggested a lighthouse on a craggy, Maine-like shoreline?  What got me started down that path was that as I hacked away at the cherry log I uncovered another piece that, to me, bore a striking resemblance to a rocky shoreline.  She liked the idea.

I used a rather odd carving tool to refine the shape of the rocks.  I stuck a large Forstner bit in the drill press and by raising and lowering the bit and sliding the cherry around I sort of randomly “gnawed away “ bits and pieces of the log making it look even more “craggy”.  I went over the entire piece with a really aggressive wire brush to roughen up the surface.

I printed out a bunch of lighthouse pictures and set to work looking for a good candidate.  I didn’t find one picture that I liked or would fit.  So I took a little of this one and a little of that one and came up with the lighthouse you see.  I turned the basic shape on the lathe and then filled in the stones, door and windows. 

The general size of the lighthouse was influenced greatly by the size of the largest Forstner bit I had to drill the hole in the cherry for its base.  When I trial-fit the unfinished lighthouse into the cherry, I realized immediately that I needed to enhance its general shape by adding the little room off to the side. 

I made the roof of the little addition from strips of very fine sandpaper that I glued on into the sloped roof in a staggered fashion.  I don’t know what real lighthouse roofs are made from but I guessing from the pictures that a fair number of them must be of tile like the house roofs I saw in Germany, even though that strikes me a being very “southern Californian” and decidedly not German.

Dock and Rowboat
I attempted to carve an 1930s pickup truck and even tried to do a couple of Adirondack chairs but I couldn’t make any of them small enough to be in proper scale.  I did manage to do a small rowboat and dock however.  To give you a sense of the scale, I carved the two oars from the two halves of a single toothpick.  Talk about small!

I e-mailed the customer with a status report and indicated that my wife was growing “very fond” of the lighthouse.  I suggested that there might be some “Indian Wrestling” required to establish clear title to the piece:-). 
When I finished the two pieces, I sent pictures.  My customer said, “I can see why your wife might be reluctant to give it up."  That made me feel really good! 

Oh yes, my wife has relinquished all rights to the carving :-)

One for the Bench

In honor of a lighthouse carving:

"There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures."
       James Thurber

‘Til next time…Keep makin’ chips!

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