Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Carving Process: The Pattern

The first step in the carving process is creating a pattern of the carving design.  The photo below shows the design adapted from the original stone carving in the first Carving Process post.  I used a photograph that I took of the pelican carving from the SPS cemetery as a reference and drew the design to fit the size of the piece of mahogany I selected for the carving.  The pattern is first roughly sketched and then a finished drawing is done on graph paper at full size.

A photocopy of the pattern, shown at the very bottom of the photo, is used to transfer the design onto the wood. I trace the outline of the pattern onto the wood and then use graphite paper to add the interior details.  I re-draw the design on the wood with a soft dark pencil.  This lovely piece of mahogany is ready to be cut out using a scroll saw.

The photo below shows the piece after carefully cutting the outline shape using the scroll saw.   Here I am using a hand-held router to rough out the background area surrounding the pelican’s head.  This will clear the wood out from that background area and leave it the same depth, which simplifies the roughing out process greatly.

The wonderful thing about working with mahogany is the smell – cutting, sanding and carving the wood gives off a rich spicy aroma.  After the routing is finished the edges of the carving are smoothed using rasps and wood files.  Then the piece is ready for the next step in the carving process: roughing out.

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