Friday, June 12, 2009

A quick black locust woodspirit

My latest carving project is a very simple and basic woodspirit. So basic it is that I put in squinting eyes. The challenge of this particular project was that the wood was a small 8" piece of very dry and rock hard black locust root wood AND that I carved the entire piece using only a Swiss Army knife. One of the most common statements that I hear from the kids in my carving classes each day is that, "If only I had the blade you're using" so I decided to tackle this little woodspirit project to show what could be achieved with only a basic pocket knife and no specialty tools. It ended up being a lesson that sunk in pretty good with my students teaching them to improve their skills at being more resourseful.

Black locust is a very common tree here in the southern Appalachians and the local farmers actually refer to it as "honey locust" becasue of the beautiful honey colored grain of the wood. Along with eastern red cedar the locals also use split black locust for their fence posts because it has such good weather resistance qualities. Personally I like to use it for firewood because it's so hard and can smolder in the wood heater so well on a cold winters night. I also built a sturdy shaving horse from black locust several years ago and I expect that it will last for my life time and probably a little more.

Carving the black locust was quite the challenge and I spent the last two days working on it here and there. The dry wood was so hard I had to be careful not to break my knife blade, patiently removing one thin sliver of wood at a time until I had a face. It ended up having a nice contrast against the weather ridden wood root which had been blackened from a past forest fire. To finish I only applied one light coat of polyurethane.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dave,
    I am very impressed carving black locust with a pocket knife wasn't easy. It looks real. good.