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What is on your work bench this summer or autumn?


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The spring seems to have matured into summer in the northern hemisphere, and I wonder how wintery it is in the southern hemisphere. Is it a good time for work on our benches around the world?


The piece which I was planning, and had begun test carving on various materials, and actually purchased some spendy gabon ebony for it, has been pushed off until another time at the client's request.


Now the bench has an exercise awaiting, as I commence the Collection 3. Doing the collection pieces is a fun exercise as I get to use woods that are perhaps not candidates for the sorts of carvings I do of frogs and insects. Pieces with figure, like burled wood, or interesting grain that would not support ukibori, materials that suggest the subject or oppose thought about the subject... It is a fun group of explorations. I have completed a leaf, long and narrow, from a splinter of gabon ebony, which might have been someone else's kindling. The next piece is a very long tray (for me), 16.5 inches, (42 cm), from Blond Bolivian Rosewood, to hold the collection to yet be discovered, which includes the first leaf. No photos yet.


I found myself using the vise, mallet and 1.5 inch carpenter's chisel I used in the '80s to build a post and beam building. A flood of memories, and a desire for a better set up for using mallet and chisel sort of work! Then on to the belt sander, another useful but not exactly the right tool for the job or the wood. The really hard wood was not happy with the chisel or rasp, and I do not have a band saw or other better power tools for gross shaping of hard woods. (wish list growing? but no space or budget for!)


The fun is ahead! I enjoy the movement involved with carving a variety of smaller, relatively quicker pieces (compared to doing a frog with all of its toes, eyes and textures set on it's background of complexity). It also is a way to include items which on their own may not, hmmm how to say it without dissing the piece, may not be substantial enough to find a new home without its company in the collection.


The collections also are part of a habit gained in childhood as mom's "rock puppies", she being the "rock hound". We each had a cloth bag to carry, and would explore gravel pits on the weekends while dad was working at the hospital, or on summer days when we did not have school. We also went to parks, walked in the woods, turned rocks over and looked for bugs and frogs. We kids returned home with bags full of interesting things, collections in other words. It is so easy now to pick up and carry home items of interest, and lay them near the carving bench for enjoyment. The translation by carving is an additional joy. This could also be a topic in The Way!


So, that is what is now on my bench. How about any of you? Did you complete the last season's work and have you begun other new work?

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