I made good progress on my scrolled version of the "Nevermore" plaque although it did not come without its challenges. It was nothing that I couldn't overcome, but it took some real thought to sort some of the process out in my mind and make it work how I intended. But after spending the day laying things out and finally getting the chance to cut the pieces at the scroll saw, I am fairly happy with the results. Below is a photograph of where it sits as I write this morning:
So far, so good.
Originally I had intended to do the wood piece using all hard wood except the backing piece, which is 1/8" Baltic birch plywood. However, in creating the branches, I realized that in order to have the grain in the proper direction, the wood to cut them would need to be over 10" wide. At the 1/8" thickness that was required, it would have been hard (if not impossible) to find pieces that would be thin enough and not twist and warp. If they weren't warped initially, then certainly they would do so over time, and while it shouldn't seem to matter whether tree branches are slightly twisted or not, it would in all likelihood ruin the plaque once glued together. I thought better of it and decided to go with the plywood.
I did however use hard wood for the lettering, the moon and the raven itself. I chose some pretty maple for the header and footer pieces as well, and I plan on leaving them their natural color. So the only things that will require some acrylic stain would be the back board (which I intend to stain a soft, orange(ish) color and the branches, which will (of course!) be dark brown. No harm in that at all.
Cutting the pieces was not difficult, but certainly took a little bit of concentration. The lettering itself was cut from a thin piece of walnut that I had on hand:
I decided to join the letters on the bottom, as cutting them separately would be not only tedious to cut, but also make it difficult to glue them in place easily. The challenge here was to keep the letters looking 'creepy', and while I had to thicken them up quite a bit, I think that overall they still look pointed and somewhat menacing. I used some birch behind the letters when cutting to help stabilize them during the process, and this worked wonderfully.
My next challenge was the raven itself. I was fortunate to have some beautiful black ebony on hand that was just about 1/8" thick. Ebony is quite expensive here in Canada, and my original board was about a foot long by 4 inches wide and about 3/4" thick and cost me about $38. I realize that everyone may not be able to acquire ebony, and when I write the instructions for the pattern, I will include instructions to stain the raven as well. I am sure that I could have also used walnut for the piece, but with the ebony sitting there looking at me, I just couldn't resist. It's alluring beauty just called to me.
While it may only look like a silhouette in the larger photo, you can see in the photo below that I used a 'veining' technique to cut in the details using the scroll saw. (I purposely over-brightened the photo so you could see the actual cutting.)
I don't know if the veining lines will show up when it is finished with spray lacquer, but when looking at the real piece, I believe it will be noticeable. I am considering applying a single red crystal rhinestone for his eye, but I haven't decided yet. We will have to see how it works out.
The moon is cut from yellow heart. While it looks very light now, once lacquered, it will look much more yellow and have a 'shimmery' effect. Once again – I thought this would be perfect.
One of the biggest challenges that I found was the placement sequence of the branches. When painting the original piece, I had intended the branches to be haphazardly twisted together. But that would be impossible to do in a wood picture. Simple physics allows us to only work with one level at a time, and thinking things through and deciding which level the branches would reside took some major thinking on my part. But in the end, it all worked out well and so far it promises to be a nice piece.
Today will be a fun day. Now that the pieces are all cut, I will be doing the final sanding and finishing and assembly of the plaque. Watching it come to life this way is always a big thrill, and I hope to have it ready to ship out by tomorrow or Tuesday.
I really enjoy this process. While it is not the easiest project that I created, it is not the most difficult either. Part of the fun for me is to make something that appears to be a difficult project be something that is not so much so. As with most things – breaking things into small steps makes them much easier.
I hope you are enjoying seeing this project come to life. It is fun for me to share it with you. I also hope it makes you look at other things a bit differently and takes the fear out of trying a new or different process. For that is how we learn.
I wish you all a wonderful Sunday.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"