Making a start on our Pelican - but where?
The first thing to do is 'read' the block. What do we know? For example, a symmetrical carving like this has a centre line, which lies more or less on what will be the final surface. It's a 'high spot', one of several from which little or no wood will be removed. Get these sorts of things clear in your mind before picking up your big gouge and starting in at the head and shoulders.
| 25 March 2022 13:58
Adam - Sorry to hear about the wood problems. Jelutong is a pretty stable wood but it sounds as if your piece is not fully seasoned, and perhaps the ambient atmosphere is dry, thus pulling moisture out quickly as you remove material.
I don't know about the PVA wash. I can't see how it would be anything but superficial; not answering the deeper stresses in the wood that is causing it to crack.
The best thing I have found is to wrap the workpiece in plastic between sessions, clingfilm/clingwrap or the like. That way any residual moisture leaves slowly. I guess that's a little like sealing it with PVA, but a lot less messy!
| 25 March 2022 01:30
Hi Chris! I'm working on bosting in my pelican. It's a little smaller than your dimensions, but I was limited by the piece of jelutong I have. At any rate, I'm finding the wood to be kind of dry and splitting - more than just a matter of grain direction. I have heard that sometimes a wash of PVA glue can help hold things together a bit. Do you have any advice on this? Thank you in advance! Adam
| 14 January 2017 08:18
Karen - I'm afraid it's impossible now to add to the video, if only because we no longer have the pelican.
The point I am trying to make here is that, right at the start, you need to think about high spots and understand that these are where you are NOT going to take wood away. In a symmetrical carving, bandsawn out like this one, the entire centre line must lie along high spots - and thus is a wonderful reference from which to work.
| 13 January 2017 16:22
I agree, the role of high points is clearly important, it can make or break a carving. I was wondering, how difficult would it be to add a small enclosed shot high in the left hand corner of the screen to show the back of the finished carving. This would help me understand what you, Chris, are trying to achieve for example here with the neck.
| 04 October 2014 14:59
Me too, Ann. I wish I'd learned it sooner.
| 10 November 2013 09:40
Chris - strange that I'm the first to comment on this aspect but I definitely think one of the most important lessons I've learned to integrate in my wood-carving-thinking, reinforced clearly and often by you, is "high points"! It's become a guiding principle for me...