Box Elder

This batch of wood comes from a friend of mine, who had a tree die a few years back.  Upon cutting it up for disposal, he saw it had neat colors, and asked if I would like any.  Yes please!

Box Elder is in the maple family, but is an oddity in having compound leaves; so instead of one leaf per stem, it has between 3 and 7.  The wood is very soft (Janka 720), and lightweight – I see now why so many places “harden” or try and stabilize the wood before sale.  Streaks of pink or red is common in the heartwood; this stems from the tree’s natural defense to injury.  Stems… get it?

A Mammoth Undertaking

Well, maybe not THAT huge.  Working on some small ornaments to fit our museum setting.  Up first we have a mammoth!  I’m using bocote to mimic rough, woolly hair, fine-grained mahogany for ruddy face and legs, and light birch for the tusk.  Expect to see the completed pieces soon!

Dance Collaboration

Stay tuned – I will be working on a collaboration piece with a dance choreographer.  This is, again, outside my normal comfort zone – so we’ll see how it goes!  I’ve got plenty of time to finish the project (February) – now we just need to see what the inspiration is…

Challenge: accepted!

Sometimes you just need to go out of your comfort zone.  I’ve been working with intarsia, but do enjoy pyrography as well.  A few years back I ended up personalizing our mattock’s for work – mine with 10cm windows containing a dragon (that way I always had a measuring tool on hand), Jeff’s with a bunch of Star Wars emblems, and John’s with a twisted mosasaur skeleton, wrapping around the handle (probably my favorite of the 3).

pick1

Anyways – I received a request for custom tap handles.  Ok, I’m intrigued… Part intarsia, part pyrography.  Woo!  I get to break out my wood-burning tools again.  Once they’re completed, don’t worry – they’ll be posted here and on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram as well.  The suspense!

The Wood Wyrm sign almost done!

signwip

Woods used are too many to list right now, but include olivewood, burls, ebony, kingwood & camatillo, pink ivory – all kinds of happy woods that I’ve squirreled away.

After many sketches, edits, and tossed out doodles… after hoarding dozens of oh-so-pretty burls and boards… scrounging around for reclaimed ivory… dusting off the abalone… the sign is almost done!  Sneak peek with nearly everything in place.  Still have an ammonite to inlay (hole at top right).  This just makes me happy.  The black-and-white version was pretty to look at, but I’m in love with all the colors and textures on the wood version.  Happy sigh.

Shark & spiral WIP

sharkwip2First look at the bamboo shark, spiral, and a couple of Om with their first layer of clear coat.  The speckles on the shark… I just want to pet it!  I’m very happy with the contrast on the spiral.  For the Om I couldn’t decide if I wanted dark back and light symbol, or reverse, so I opted for both.

Longest cut yet…

spiralwip

Black walnut (left) and European beech to give good contrast on the finished piece.

Sometimes cuts are really easy.  A line here, a line there… Other times, it’s ONE GIANT line!  This spiral design has 8 pieces total (not many), but each piece (minus 4 easy ones) are suuuuper time consuming.  Knotwork would have been much simpler – over and under = start and stop lines for each piece.  Spiral-work?  Ufda.