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July 5th – Bob Hope – wood carving

8 July, 2010

Bob confessed to being a wood anorak – he is fascinated by anything to do with wood and that includes carving.

He started with a historical introduction to traditional carving illustrated by pictures of work from churches and museums. There are many types including relief panel carving (where the background is cut back to leave the subject proud), incised carving (the subject being cut into the panel; this method used for most lettering), and in the round (3 dimensional representations. Also many subjects both realistic and imaginary: human and animal figures, flowers and foliage, cloth with folds etc. The example pictures are an 18th century German painted & gilded cherub in the V&A and a panel by the English master Grindling Gibbons.

He then went on to show some of his own work starting with his initial whittling of walking stick handles to fend off boredom sitting on a beach. From there he has tried many subjects. He showed how to make a bird starting with a solid rectangular blank from which the side profile is cut on a band saw, the waste side cheeks fixed back on to make the orthogonal profile cut. The squarish shape is then carved with the grain with a craft knife with a curved blade. (See series of pictures).

Bob also showed how to carve a plaited effect on the rim of a turned bowl, introducing the idea of a “stop cut” made with a chisel and mallet. This is made at right angles at the end of the features to be carved to prevent the carving tool over-running.

Bob stressed that woodcarvers had to be patient people prepared to put in a lot of time. Not for clock watchers or anyone concerned about selling things at a decent hourly rate.

For me this was a most interesting subject well presented by someone who obviously loves the subject.

At the tea break there was a spinning top contest for the 5 who had taken up Paul Nesbitt’s challenge from his demo last month and had made spinning tops. This reduced to 4 as Bill Willits couldn’t find his string in time and the longest spinner was Bob MacFarland who was awarded a bottle of wine for his efforts.

There was a fine entry for the Members’ gallery and another batch of donated items for PCaSO.

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