Thursday, April 15, 2010

WIP: Carving A Two Foot Table Totem Pole- (Part 1)

WIP= "Work in Progress"

OK, just to set the record straight before this project gets started, this totem  actually stands 23" high despite the title that says it's 2 feet. Today is April 15th which is also tax day so I'm just stuck on rounding my numbers out to the nearest whole.

A table totem pole with about a 2 foot height was recently requested as a retirement gift due on April 23rd so I rousted out a nice piece of rough cut tulip poplar that originated from a local sawmill. (See poplar leaf to right>>>) It is approximately 1-5/8" square and I also left plenty of extra wood at the bottom where I will eventually attach a stand. Normally I would use basswood for a project like this but I came across this batch of poplar about 15 years ago and it carves unusually nice.

As seen in the pictures on top I first measured out center lines on all four sides of the pole which will help me to keep the characters in proper perspective as I carve. I then went on to do a rough sketch of all the characters starting on top with an eagle then followed by a raven, frog, beaver, and a bear on the bottom. Coincidentally, this table totem pole is very similar to the one that I personally presented to the governor of North Carolina in 1996.

As seen in the pictures to the left I then put the pole in a table vise then used my larger carving knives and mallet to rough out all the characters.

To the right you see a couple of pictures of the eagle which sits proudly atop the pole. After roughing out all the characters in the table vice I've now taken it out and will carve the remaining detail holding the pole in my hands and using my smaller carving tools.

Starting with the eagle you can see that I've rounded the breast area and gouged out a rough textured feathering effect which makes it a bit more interesting. I've also begun carving the feet and the eyes and the beak are sketched in. As you can see in the picture to the far right, I like to leave as much of my center lines on the wood as long as I can so that I can keep everything in the best possible perspective until the very last minute.
Looking at the pictures to the right, I've completed the carving of the eagle. I used my small palm v-parting tool to make the three claw notches on each foot. The beak and mouth are now completed along with the two eyes.

I also spent some time just going back and cleaning up all of the cuts while continuing to get the bird in proper perspective.

OK, in the next installment I will continue carving down the pole with the raven and frog so please come back and join me for the carving of this little two foot table totem.

1 comment:

  1. Dave, do you have plans available for your 24" totem pole?