WIP= "Work in progress"
Thanksgiving was a little different this year as I have been engaged in a planned carving marathon to produce 4 premium sourwood woodspirit walking sticks. I chose the wood from my best drying stock and these four sticks were cut last March giving them an approximate drying time of about 8 months.
The pictures on the left show the sticks just after the initial roughing-out phase which is my method for starting all of my walking sticks. During this phase I first cut the stick to 58" long then lightly sand the bark then seal everything with as thin a layer of polyurethane that I can possibly rub on.
Next the stick goes in the vise where I use my larger carving tools and mallet to rough-out the basic face features and hair. As the photos to the left indicate this leaves nothing much more than eye wells, a square nose & forehead but you get the point.
The picture to the right is the progress made up to this point and the woodspirit faces are now ready for a finish. As you can see I am also putting on a strip of five animal tracks just below the faces which has become the norm for my spirit sticks during the last 5 or 6 years. At this point I only have them sketched out on a portion of the stick that I cleared of bark using the shaving horse, then sanding to a fine finish. The tracks on this series of sticks include bobcat, raccoon, opossum, skunk, mink, beaver, muskrat, coyote, red & grey fox, whitetail deer, and black bear. It takes a lot of focus to paint the tracks onto the stick with black acrylic paint but the end result after a polyurethane glossing is a stunning compliment to the woodspirit face.
I will post the completed sticks just as soon as they're finished. Meantime, have a great Thanksgiving.