My niece Katie – she also happens to be my Goddaughter – is having her Confirmation into the Catholic Church this upcoming weekend. This is a big event in her life, and I know that if Rhonda and I were going to give her a gift to commemorate this event, it was going to have to be special.
Hmmm… how about my first carved project? Yeah, that sounds about right. After all, it will take a true leap of faith to believe I can do this.. in time to have it ready to go for this weekend.
So, I took out a poplar board (figuring that hey, poplar is pretty good for practice) and laid out a kind of cross design in pencil. I used a ruler and a quarter to draw straight lines and curves so there wouldn’t be any right angles… I wanted this design to swoop. Once I marked everything out, I used a carving knife to score the outline to ensure there wouldn’t be any splintering when I got to the edges.
Once I got everything laid and cut out, I secured it in my vise to get ready for the excavation. I used the built-in dog on the vise and a bench dog from the folks at Time Warp Tools to pinch the board where it had to stay. My initial plans were to do everything by hand, but, you know what? I have this brand new DeWalt trim router that hasn’t yet seen any true shop time. It was time for that baby to come out and play.
I was using a down spiral 1/8″ carbide bit, and I took my time to carefully excavate the areas on the design. It took a very steady hand, but the tool was very well behaved, and in about half an hour I had hollowed out the four quadrants of this cross design. Boy, was I happy to see that I hadn’t messed things up too much. The next step? Break out some classic carving tools to put some embellishments on the project.
The knife came out again in cooperation with my bench chisel to clean up any issues with the edges. With a VERY sharp edge, these things cut like nobody’s business, and before you knew it, I was ready to have a little fun. I had gotten a set of Flexcut carving tools for Father’s Day two years ago, but other than playing with them, I have never really used them for a project. That was about to change.
I really love the v-tool that comes with the interchangeable handle. I was able to play a little bit with the layout lines and try to accentuate things. I dunno, for a first crack , I think it came out looking OK. Now, it’s time to finish the box the lid is going to fit into, and cut the real lid out of some flame birch I have lying around. I think I can have this done so it won’t stick to the inside of the wrapping.