I have tools! My very own tools! Sure, there’s a hammer and some screwdrivers in the garage but it’s hard to get excited about those any more. I’d probably better explain that statement. I got my first tool – a hammer – in early high school. I’m not sure if it was actually mine – it might have been my brother’s – but I’d carry it around our 8 acres of bush looped through one of the belt-holes in my shorts. I also got an army belt for Christmas one year, so I ran around for days carrying a canteen of water, 2 multi-tools, and my Scout pouch with matches, a mirror, another small knife, a whistle and my woggle. I don’t know what I was preparing for, but I felt like Lara Croft, MacGyver and Inspector Gadget all rolled into one.
These days the tools stay at home. It appears that carrying knives and other potentially useful (albeit dangerous) implements is generally frowned upon. Anyway, on to the main event. Behold! My beautiful new Boxing Day Sale acquisitions:
A few months back I decided that I needed a hobby. Having a long-standing interest in wood, I organised to go along to a wood turning meeting at a local high school, but before I got there I happened across the Sydney Woodcarving Group‘s website and decided that I wanted to learn to carve first.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at the first meeting: I had called up, but I was basically turning up with no knowledge of woodworking and no real idea of what I wanted to make. Well, none I was ready to own up to anyway. Fortunately, everyone was quite helpful and I was sitting in front of a piece of off-cut wood with chisel in hand in no time. One lovely lady, Jan, even lent me half of her tools so that I could do some carving at home. I’m still not sure if she realises how very grateful I was (and still am) for her generosity, as it enabled me to dive head-first into my new hobby. For reasons I cannot disclose for around 6 months or so, I can’t upload a picture of my first work. I can, however, present my next work-in-progress:
At this point I’m not sure if I’m actually going to finish this, or leave it and move on to something else. On the one hand, I feel like I’ve made too many mistakes. On the other hand, trying to fix them will probably be a good exercise. Either way my second project has taught me some valuable lessons, such as:
- Which way the carbon paper goes
- When you want to trace a picture, take the thickness of the lines into account
- You really can’t just hold the wood with your hand to stop it from sliding around
- Error-induced carving rage inevitably leads to more errors
All in all I think it will be a good one to keep, even if it ends up looking like crap.
In addition to my error-based learning, I’ve also learned a lot from some of the other group members, like:
- How to determine the grain of the wood, and carve accordingly (OK, I’m still practising this one)
- 4 billion ways to start carving a project – or more philosophically: there is no right way to carve a project, so just do what works for you
Once I get a few more projects under my belt I’ll write up a Wood Carving 101 post for those interested in giving it a try themselves. But for now: off to make mistakes!