Let me make a few preliminary comments before
starting the tutorial. When you carve an object,
you're not trying to make a photographic
reproduction of it - you're trying to "represent"
the object, which means that you need to decide what
the important aspects of the object are and make
sure those are included in the carving.
People see objects in clouds. The shape of clouds is just
random, so why do people see objects in clouds? The human
mind is a wonderful shape matching device - so if the clouds
have a shape that is even close to some object that you've
seen before, the mind matches to that object and you see the
When we carve, we take advantage of that aspect of the human
mind - we don't try to carve every aspect of an object, but
only the "important" aspects of that object. If we select
well, other people will see the object in our carving.
So with our flower. The "flower" we're going to carve
probably doesn't exist in nature, but someone looking at it
will say that it's a flower.
The other point I'd like to make is that your carving can
vary quite a bit and it'll still look good. I'm going to
give you some tools and dimensions but you should feel free
to adapt my recommendations to your tools, needs, and taste.
Here's where we're going. This is a carving I did on a
wooden plane I made - the carving we'll do in this tutorial
will be a bit bigger, and it'll be done in basswood (this is
red birch) but otherwise it's the same.
You can use this flower in a lot of things. Here's a lid I
did that uses this simple flower in a repetitive pattern
around the lid. The ring is called a "guilloche" - a
repetition of a pattern with interwoven lines. A very nice
decorative touch around the top of a chest or on the apron
of a table. But made up of this very simple flower.
CLAMP YOUR WORK!!! I don't show the clamp in these pictures
but the work is always clamped, as yours should be. NEVER,
NEVER, NEVER, work on a loose piece of wood - you'll
eventually wind up in the ER with a gouge through your hand.
I'm going to use a piece of basswood. I have a piece here
that has some defects in it, so I'm going to use half of it
for this project. The piece is 12" by 5 1/2" so I'm going to
work with a 6" by 5 1/2" work area.