Sunday, May 2, 2010

WIP: Carving A Two Foot Table Totem Pole- (Part 3 of 4)

WIP= "Work in Progress"

With the main body of the totem now complete, less the paint and finish, I now go on to the wings and the stand. As seen to the right I used a 9" X 3" X 1/2" piece of poplar for the wings.

As previously mentioned, this particular batch of poplar has been a pleasure to carve and I'd have to say that only basswood would have been a greater joy to work with. The poplar probably does have more potential to split or chip while carving but I still consider it a quality carve.

After sketching out the wing design that I wanted onto the wood, I then did a rough-out using the bandsaw. I also chose to cut out some v-notches on the lower side of the wings which gives it a more powerful and realistic look.

Next I used my jack knife to score the shields and the large eye with shallow stop cuts so I can got a raised relief look for the wings surface area. Raised relief is always a lot of fun to carve, removing just enough wood from each cut to shave out one layer at a time. Newer carvers tend to remove too much wood with one cut and sometimes chip their project unintentionally. To avoid this mishap I always remove just one thin layer of wood at a time, shave it away, then repeat until the desired depth is obtained. Take your time and enjoy the carving process.

With the wings completed I then used the bandsaw to cut out the notch into the eagle where I wanted to insert the wings. I just scored the notch area with the bandsaw the depth of the wings numerous times then used my jack knife to clean it up for a tight fit. Using a bit of wood glue and three 1/4" dowels I then made the wings a permanent part of the totem.

In my early days of carving small table totems I sometimes mounted the wings before carving the designs into them. That was a big mistake that I finally corrected because they are much easier to carve in my hands off the pole, then mounting them. Live and learn.

As seen in the pictures directly below I then milled out a 4" X 3-1/2" X 3-1/2" piece of western white cedar for the stand. I very carefully marked the center spot where the base of the pole would be inserted.

I then used a small fostner bit on the drill press to drill out most of the waste wood thus producing an obscure hole for the totem that was cleaned up with my chisels. I carved it out just a bit at a time until I achieved the nice tight fit that I wanted. Once again, a little wood glue made it a permanent part of the pole.

As seen in the pictures to the left I also used the belt/disk sander to taper the square stand from the bottom upwards with a smooth flow into the pole.

I will post the final installment of this project in a few days which will include the completed totem in full and finished living color.

1 comment:

  1. Dave
    great work.
    My sense of direction is off, the SF community helped Hmoung/Dega relocate in the NC mountains. Like most VN vets I admire their courage and committment. I didnt get a chance to learn alot about their carving except fopr the grief and smiling pins.
    have you any suggestions?
    have you tried?
    Lew Poorman