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4 First Big Cuts

We can use out working drawing to get rid of some big lumps of wood, after which we can make a second projection of the model and remove even more...

Subscriber download: Merlin Tools & Drawing (PDF)


| 27 October 2016 11:24

Thank you. Basswood is plentiful in my area so I'll go that direction.

| 27 October 2016 10:59

Robert - Lacewood is what I had and, fortunately, the colour was right but many other woods will do. Mahogany will give you a reddish coloured bird. Basswood, a top quality of which you can get from Butler Adams Hardwoods ( - say I sent you!) will give you a light colour.

Laminating isn't a problem as such and is often a better use of material, but you do need to make any join as discrete as possible. Best option in this case: don't join side to side (with the seam bisecting the body from the front) but join across the bird (so the join is over the back). You can use several pieces of wood to get the overall block, looking to see where the join will be most hidden.

| 24 October 2016 18:56

How did Mr. Little's situation work out on this?
I'm struggling with similar issues and I doubt lace wood is an option in the US.
I have some Mahogany that I would like to laminate for this project, any advice would be appreciated.

| 23 December 2013 08:59

Chris - What a terrific reply!! This tells me all I need to know - and I do take the point that I should practise, meanwhile, on some smaller (perhaps less ambitious) projects. I do appreciate the swift reply, as we all hurtle towards Christmas. I'll start by carving my daughter's turkey!

| 22 December 2013 19:38

John - The lacewood that I used for the merlin was timber that I'd had for a long while and i don't know of a source. You might try tree surgeons as well. You could risk the carving from the 18 months seasoned wood. Cut the profile out and bost in straight away. Then - very important - keep the carving wrapped in polythene between sessions. Because you've drastically reduced the amount of timber, there is a lot less to dry out (season). I know several carvers who carve 'green' wood like this. When you have finished, seal with wax straight away and keep the carving away from hot, dry environment for a while. Yes you could join up, taking care to match the grain. Although the mottled effect is good, I really picked out the Lacewood because the dimensions of what I had suited. Alternative timbers that might be easier to find and a similar colour in that thickness would be Beech, Oak or Sweet Chestnut; Limewood is another option but you might need to stain it. Hope all that helps. While you are waiting on the wood, do try a few of the smaller projects to get some carving practice in. Stirred is good - best of luck!

| 22 December 2013 10:02

Hello Chris - I have spent much of the past year building my Carver's Bench (from keruing, with several home-made vices!); reading avidly your Books; studying the mine of information in your Workshop Videos and gradually acquiring some new- and second-hand tools that you have recommended with Merlin in mind. As a newcomer to woodcarving, I have found this entire process to be absolutely enthralling and, thanks to you, I'm raring to go on the carving of this wonderful bird in the New Year. It remains to be seen whether I can make a decent fist of it, (which I will do, if the bird doesn't work out!)

However, I am facing one stumbling block, (pun unintended)! I may very well not be alone in this respect... All the reasons for your recommending the use of London Plane Lacewood for the Merlin are well understood - including the quarter-sawn timber, for the desirable mottled effect. Bearing in mind that this is a national tree that graces many of our major Parks and City Streets, I am stunned to discover that Lacewood is so difficult to obtain, especially when seeking a solid block measuring 8.5 inches x 5 inches x some 36 inches in length. Are you aware of this scarcity and can you direct me to a source where such a seasoned piece can be obtained? At time of writing, I know of only one source of a hefty piece from among the primary sources in the U.K. - but, that piece has enjoyed seasoning for only 18 months. The very helpful M.D. of that Company has recommended that I should consult you as to its efficacy for carving say, in three months time. He further declared that, to seek a piece quarter-sawn to those dimensions would be beyond the capacity of any mill in the U.K., which is a bit dismaying. Otherwise, would it be undesirable/unsatisfactory to opt for my carefully laminating pieces of Lacewood board for Merlin-purposes?

My apologies for writing at length, but these do seem to be key questions and your advice would be very greatly appreciated.

Best wishes and thank you for the inspirations.

John Little,
(gnarled; long bent; shaken and now stirred - well-seasoned at 76 yrs of age).

| 18 January 2012 16:03

Douglas - I made the bench myself. Details in my book: 'Elements of Woodcarving'. I'm now preferring an 'end vice', as you see in the picture above, over the standard carpenter's vice. See the lessons here on holding in the techniques section.

| 17 January 2012 23:07

Hi Chris, Just subscribed and keen to learn more. What kind of bench are you using, and where can one buy one? Also, what sort of vices do you use to secure the carving wood onto the bench?

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