I was approached about creating a dozen Tiki idols for a large get together. They ranges in height from 3 to 12 feet, and had a variety of faces. The ones pictured here were all of the taller variety.
In 2007 I was cutting wood, and came upon a large downed Oak. It was really in bad shape near the top, and the bottom got wetter as I neared the root ball. The cut right above the head of the five foot ram yielded a gusher of water, and the same at the base. Something told me to leave this intact, at a little over five feet. It was late in the day, and this chunk weighed as much as an oil barrel, so I opted to come back the next day with a come along. I had never worked wet wood before, never heard of anyone working something like this, but when I got home I went straight to work on the Ram. Even though the Oak was wet, it was like carving stone, and took three days to finish. For a week after that I dowsed it nightly in a concoction of mineral spirits and Watco Danish Oil. Five Years later, it looks the same, and the only cracks are the ones it had originally.
The Eagle and the Rattlesnake had a home before it was made, it stands in a corporate office of a large American Company. Oddly enough the Eagles sibling from the same log is Aslan the Lion.
This Eagle stands over five feet high holding a Rattlesnake three inches in diameter, and six feet long. The wood is Western Red Cedar that has been finished with multiple coats of Watco Danish Oil. Danish Oil is mostly known for interior use however companies such as Bell Canoes recommend it for the Ash wood on their boats. I find it to be a great oil for coating for one of a kind pieces, providing a sealing effect without being too heavy.
The Eagle was sculpted in the summer of 2008 using a Husquavarna 375, echo 302, Stihl MS192 T, and various other wood shaping tools. All surfaces were finally hand sanded prior to finish oil application.
After watching a television special on the Great Gray Owl, I decided to knock one out of a five foot tall Western Red Cedar log I had. As usual, I started with deep cuts to relieve the excess material from the shape I had in my mind to bring out that had been fostered from an Internet image of one of these amazing creatures.
The main focus for me, above all else, was to really bring out the area around the eyes. The Great Gray Owl uses this dual parabolic dish shaped, anatomical feature in one of natures amazing feats. It seems the dish acts as a sound amplifier, directed towards an already keen ear. The show I watched had one of these birds hear a mouse moving one foot under the snow while it sat it a tree waiting to make the strike.
Five hours later, this work was done, and had its first coat of Watco oil soaking in.
This ornamental wood sculpture began from a piece of forest debris from logging operations performed decades earlier, and is one of the primary roots from a very old Incense Cedar tree. I found it partly exposed, but mostly buried in the duff on the forest floor, after a few deep cuts with my hatchet I knew it needed to come home with me because there were purple hues were in the wood. Unfortunately, once finished, the purple fades to a brown, and I have never found a way to hold the color.
I knew from the moment I started working on this piece it would be a natural sculpture, only bringing out what was in the wood would be the course of action. Starting out with an axe, I chopped all of the outer layer of rot off of the roots, and then hit it with the chainsaw to just open the preserved wood inside. Once there it was onto different types of sanding operations, and finally six coats of hand rubbed Polyurethane.
Fire got its name naturally, it looks like wood on fire. In the light, Fire has beautiful hues of amber to deep reddish brown, and its shape is that of a rolling fire. Fire is proof that something doesn’t have to be more than it is to be beautiful.
I created the Eagle Shelf for a client years ago. It was made to hang above a window, in a vaulted ceiling area, extending from between bookshelves on either side of the window.
The Eagle Shelf is a chainsaw carving where no other tools were used in its making. It is made from laminated dimensional lumber. The wings are 2” x 12” x 8’ #1 Douglas Fir, and the Body is a 6” x 12” x 30” #1 Douglas Fir header scrap. I purchased the 2” by material to do something with the scrap.
In under two hours with a chainsaw, the carving was done, and it was on to the finish. I didn’t want to mess with painting, or multi color staining, so the old can of Minwax Walnut Stain I had was applied. Two coats of stain were applied with 24 hours between them, and then a couple of finish coats with Watco Danish Oil in a Natural color.