After transferring my design to the basswood, I started carving by using a #11 veiner to outline the leaves and deer. I then remove the background using a #3 and use different knives to start shaping and undercutting. I use #9s and #11s to add some shape to the leaves. At this point, I am only leaving the central stem of the leaf and will either burn the other veins or possibly use a burnishing tool.
I use a blue stone and a ruby bit to sand out some of the areas in the leaves. I start the same process of carving on the deer, since it is a key element to the design and I want it to look good….no point in continuing until/unless I get it! I usually carve with a detail knife I made and then use the flex shaft to make smooth shapes and transistions. I’m trying to define the shapes and levels of the different parts of the deer…trying to give the illusion of depth. A lot of carving is about creating shadows, to fool the eye with what you see and what you imagine you see. It’s kinda cool the effects carvers can get in really shallow carvings….look at a coin and the details an engraver can get in such a flat area! The carvings so far on this cane are less than 1/4” in depth, but still create the illusion being deeper.
A tool that made a tremendous difference in the appearance of my carvings is the flex shaft tool and those bristle sanding disks! You can see the difference between the top carving and the others after I used the disk to soften the carved portions. These disks really seem to make wrinkles and folds more life-like by smoothing out some of carved areas. I really love the effect it gives.
I have the deer pretty much as I want it at this point, although I will probably refine it further after I have had a chance to stare at it for a few more days. I am starting the same process with the fish that will be on the rear of the cane.
I steamed and bent a piece of birch and glued it on the end of the handle as a butt plate. I didn’t like the look of the veins showing where I cut the antler off. I had considered using some copper sheeting, but the birch tied in better with what the customer was wanting.
Thanks for looking! More to come!
-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mikepounders.weebly.com