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Spring Peeper - Cherry and Ebony


kwinn

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A few months back, there was a thread in the Techniques forum discussing how to do inlays for eyes. Tom Sterling even gave us some great pictures of how he does it.

 

Inspired by this discussion, I decided to have a go at it. I chose a simple subject -- a Frog -- with a simple inlay requirement -- a single-piece eye made from ebony. It's taken me a while (work, family, and other projects seem to make time evaporate), but I finally finished it. It's simple (no "action", squarish) but it was a good learning piece.

 

The eyes are made from ebony pegs that I carved & filed to fit the eye holes. This is a tedious but repeatable process. The pegs were then glued in using cyanoacrylate (super) glue and later cut off and shaped. The frog is carved from Cherry wood and finished with Danish Oil and wax.

 

post-41-1120496746.jpg

 

 

P.S. - I want to say thanks to those of you who run this forum (Janel et. al.). I don't post a lot, but I do visit frequently and have learned and enjoyed it. Also, thanks to Tom Sterling for sharing his techniques on eye inlays.

 

Kelly

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What a wonderful little frog, Kelly! Thanks for sharing it with us. The eye inlay is a very nice solution for the frog's eyes. Was the cherry nice for carving?

 

It is always fun for me to read what folks are doing as they post. The activity here is a great way to receive thanks from the members. I appreciate your words of gratitude.

 

Janel

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Janel,

 

Cherry is nice to carve with both hand and power tools, and it finishes to a beautiful translucence. However, I wouldn't want to try something that required a high degree of detail. It splits a little too easily, so you have to watch the grain direction with hand tools.

 

One other interesting note about Cherry -- the grain raises quite readily. Part of my finishing process involves sanding and then dunking the carving in (or painting with) water until the grain no longer raises up. (This makes it so when you apply an oil-based finish, the surface remains smooth.) It took at least four cycles of dunking and sanding for the grain to settle down, which is more than other woods I've used (Basswood, Butternut, Honduran Mahogany, etc.) For this reason, I wonder if Cherry would be an excellent wood for applying the Ukibori technique? (Hmm, may have to try this someday).

 

The Ebony was wonderful to carve. I used fluted carbide burrs for the main shaping, and a regular detail carving knife for the final shaping. It was kind of like carving plastic -- uniformly dense, well-behaved even when cutting againt the grain, and just plain solid.

 

I sanded the frog to 600 grit and the eyes to 1500 grit. I'm happy with how well the Ebony polished -- it gives the eyes that "alive" look (but they are still nothing like the eyes you do Janel!)

 

Kelly

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Thanks Kelly!

 

I also use the raise grain/sanding technique with boxwood. It does not have as much of a problem as cherry seems to have, but it does help release the unintentionally compressed areas in the wood.

 

What is next for you?

 

Janel

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What's next for me? It's funny you should ask. I was just thinking about the different emotional phases of the carving process, trying to figure out how to describe which one I'm in right now. Here's a shot...

 

Drifting:

You've been working on your last project for what seems like forever, and thinking about the next project, but you forced yourself to finish the last one before you allowed yourself to start the next. Now that it's done, your pace falters and you find yourself with nothing to work on. It's the emotional equivalent of getting stuck in an eddy in a river.

 

 

I've been battering a blob of clay, hoping that something recognizable might appear, but it hasn't yet. There are so many things I'd like to carve, and I have quite a few different kinds of wood waiting for me, so now its time to swirl around (on the web, in nature itself, in clay, in sketches) until something grabs me. I'm thinking either Boxwood or Pink Ivory, but certainly something small. Aside from that I have no plans.

 

Kelly

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