Purple dyed wood carving

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Project by Von posted 08-25-2012 11:40 AM 1328 views 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been playing with RIT fabric dye to stain the figures. I do not use any sort of saw or chisel or blade of any kind to make these. I mean, aside from lopping off the appropriate length of log that they are made from. (and that’s done with a handsaw anyway. hah) I use a small tabletop belt sander to rough out the body. a wood rasp to shape the head, and this is gunna be hard to believe: the arms, even the finger/hand details—are all 100% done on the belt sander. I use the very edge of the belt to carve the fingers and palms, and to shape the arms. I then take a chunk of sand paper and work out the final shape & finnish. yes, sandpaper. why? becuase I am my own worst enemy with a knife—ask my wife and friends/family. they have plenty of horror stories. those, and hammers= my arch enemies. final prep work includes several applications of dye, light sanding, and so many applications of clearcoat that I lose count. once it looks and shines nice, I use a furniture polish and buff them to mirror shine.

the head on this one is fixed, and was carved along with the rest of the body. I did not have to glue or add it on after the body was done. the arms however were done as separate pieces and glued in place. they came from the same log as the body however.

check out that diamond patterning! good muggly did that take a huge amount of work and prep to get right. I left plenty of “tooling” marks on the skirt to give it a unique look, while I took the blouse/upper torso down to satin-smooth. if you look close at the arms & head you can see the remains of the guide-coat & skin tint dye. I was going to leave the color intact, but it clashed soo bad with the purple. while sanding it off though, I found that the small traces accented the shadows in just the right way. rather than sand it all away, I left it.

Rit fabric dye (specialy mixed to make a near-black purple)

stands over 12” tall, about 3 inches in diameter at the hips/bust

there was a knot in the wood blank when I first started out with this one. I made that knot the center point of the figure-as in a belly button, and worked from there. Once stained however, the knot wasn’t visible. I decided to sand the waist and back of the body to clear wood again. (sanding out 10 layers of dye is a LOT of work, lemme tell ya) then I masked off both sections & hit it with dye several more times. it is a bit more pronounced now! haha

you really have to see this piece in person and under good light to see the wood grain pattern and the finer details

2 comments so far

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3382 days

#1 posted 08-25-2012 12:49 PM

Great project. Once again it proves, the tools don’t make anything, the person making the project does. You may only have a sander now, but you have skill and the ability to bring out the best with what you are given. Thanks for sharing!

-- Hal, Tennessee

View NormG's profile


6252 posts in 3149 days

#2 posted 08-25-2012 06:29 PM

Just wonderful, they look great, the colors look fantastic

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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