Hand Carved Cherub

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Project by Justin Gordon posted 11-18-2013 08:44 PM 1850 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m a self employed sculptor. I work in many medium. I got this idea one day while sitting in church that I should be using my talents as is frequently preached. I belong to this church where there were many kids every week. So this idea hit me one Sunday. I asked the trustees if they would like this carving and they said they would.

This piece is a hand carved cherub I did for my church. It’s about 18 inches high overall and 10 inches wide and made to sit on a beam with 7 inches clearance in the back. It’s made from basswood – a nice carving wood. I had to laminate 5 pieces of wood together to get my starting blank. It took me about 5 weeks over a period of 9 months to complete. Since it was a feebee, I had to work on it in between paying jobs.

In the last three pictures you can see the two jigs I made to hold the figure while I worked on it. The reclined angle jig was used the most since it gave me access to all the front side while holding it securely. Screwing the fixture to my bench and holding the carving secure in the fixture with bungee chords did just fine.

To rough out the blank and remove most of the excess wood, I started with a chainsaw. Doing tree carvings also, I’m pretty proficient with the saw so it was a great time saver. Next I used the Arbortech Minigrinder. It functions like a small chainsaw so I was able to get close to the details with that tool. The only hard part here was clamping the odd shaped block of wood to a working stool that I could ding with the chainsaw and grinder without hurting the blades.

The rest of the carving was done with hand chisels and a mallet. The wings were the most difficult part of the hand carving steps as their shape presented many difficult places to reach with the chisels while my hand was holding them. Plus, there are many places there where I had to go against the grain to make the cuts.

The finish is a gold leaf water base paint over two coats of primer. I also put an antiquing over the gold to make it look old. It was hard for me to dirty up this painted carving with antiquing since it looked so nice and clean when it was a shiny gold color.

Wouldn’t you know, after I was ready to install this piece in church, the trustees rescind their acceptance of this carving because I have a conservative leaning sign on the back of my truck. Anyone know of a church needing a cherub?

Thanks to all for the comments. Sorry I can’t respond, but something’s wierd with my page where the link to the ‘comments’ doesn’t work. I’m not being antisocial. It’s a broken link. Not sure how to fix it….Justin


5 comments so far

View jim65's profile


1004 posts in 2079 days

#1 posted 11-18-2013 09:45 PM

Very nice work, great detail and expression! Thanks

-- Jim, Marostica Italy

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2319 days

#2 posted 11-18-2013 09:48 PM

The executed is perfect and wonderful. That’s a serious wood carving job. Excellent.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29876 posts in 2484 days

#3 posted 11-18-2013 10:03 PM

Very nice work.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Texcaster's profile


1287 posts in 1819 days

#4 posted 11-18-2013 11:07 PM

Very skilled modeling.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View facecarver's profile


154 posts in 1821 days

#5 posted 12-07-2013 07:59 PM

Well done ,looks like a lot of work..Hope you at least got a deposit….

-- Dennis Stallings; I am what I am,And that's all what I am...

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