Friday, November 16, 2018

Oak Park Craft Fair 2018

This will be our second year at this event. Come on out and get an early start on your Christmas shopping. Over 150 booths, this is a big one!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Merlin the Wizard

I carved this one from Missouri cottonwood bark. I started with a quick sketch and then cleaned the carving surface. As I was carving this one the nose broke off, often a problem with bark carving. But no worries, there was another nose behind that one. I just re-carved the face and it turned out better than the first. I finished the carving with Deft Satin Lacquer.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Cutting Ornament Blanks

I carve a lot of Christmas ornaments, mostly using the 'carving on the corner' technique. I am always asked how I cut the blanks. I use a jig I made out of scrap wood I had around the shop. I started by cutting a piece of 3/8" plywood to the length of my saw table, and screwing a cleat to one end. I then made a cut in the center of the plywood until the cleat met the saw table. I cross cut a 2" x 4" at 45 degrees on my miter saw and glued them to the plywood, this will be the cradle that holds the board while sawing. After the glue has dried, I attach the jig to the table by clamping the cleat to the table. I am cutting a 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" square board, but it will work on any size that will fit through your saw. Feed the board across the jig to cut the board diagonally. I have a fence set up and cut each blank to the desired length of the blank. This technique is accurate, fast and easy. Now on to carving ornaments.....

Monday, September 10, 2018

Big Shoal Country Fair

On Saturday, September 8, Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum hosted the Big Shoal Country Fair. It was a cool, rainy and windy day. But fellow woodcarver Kerby Vincent and I stuck it out along with other local artists and crafters. Pickin' on the porch, was local band Knobtown Skiffle Band. They entertained everyone with "old-timey" music. The trio consisted of an upright bass, washboard, guitar and dueling kazoos. Met some new friends and sold a few carvings. All in all it was a good day!


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Shoal Creek September 2018

Step back in time this Saturday. This is the Comedy Event.

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Thunder Storm August 2018

Tuesday night's storm left a limb from the tulip poplar tree on my shed. Thanks to my wife, we were able to get it off the roof without any damage. Good news is I have some more carving wood. Stripped the bark and sealed the ends with Anchorseal 2, now to let it dry. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade or carving wood! 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Shoal Creek First Saturday August 2018

Another good time at Saturdays event. The year was 1872 the weather was hot, but at least there was a breeze. The re-enactors are great and the skits are a always a 'blast' to watch. I took a few photos in the morning on the walk to the cabin. I get so wrapped up in my carving and talking with visitors that I don't get a chance to take a lot of photos. I'll try to get some good ones next month. September is the last 'free' event this year. I worked on a half log of cedar, cleaning off the sap wood and looking for the spirit inside. Stay tuned to see what I find. You can find more info on the museum here  Shoal Creek Living History Museum


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Shoal Creek August 2018

Come on out this Saturday....................

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Rockwell Jawhorse RK9003

This is the best tool I have bought in a long time. I have had my eyes on one for a long time, just didn't want to spend the $130 - $140. They finally went on sale at Lowe's for $99. Now I wish I had bought it long ago. This vise is amazing, easy to clamp your project down and sturdy. It's rated for a maximum load of 600 lbs. It holds round and irregular items tight. I generally carve from logs, some of which I split or saw in half with a chainsaw. In the past I would smooth the back of cut area with chisels. With the Jawhorse I can clamp the split log and use my hand planer to smooth the back to a clean look. I finished three cedar logs and one mahogany in no time. I will be using this for a lot of different applications. It's light enough, 43 lbs., to take to carving demonstrations. If you're thinking of buying one, I highly recommend it!