Monthly Archives: April 2013

1993 Plaque Progress: Carving Complete


Above is a photo of the completed carving for the 1993 Form plaque.  The photos below show details of the finished carving:

This photo of the upper left corner shows the open book with initials DVH to represent the beginning of the Rectorship of David Hicks.

The upper right corner features the outline of the Tien Track which was dedicated in October of 1992.


The bottom left and right corners are carved with comedy and tragedy masks to represent the dedication of the Tracy Memorial Theater which happened during graduation weekend of 1993.

The The blizzard of 1993 represented by the large snowflake design in the background of the plaque.

The carving is now ready to be sealed with a linseed oil finish.  After that dried it will be stained to match the color of the oak frame. The plaques that hang in the Lower Dining Hall are not being done with a painted finish so as to match the existing plaques already hanging in that space. Check back soon for a sneak peek photo of the finished carving.

Categories: Carving Process, Form of 1993 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Choir Room Carving: The Triumphant Rooster

Over the March break I had the opportunity to finish up a small project that was very special to me – restoring one of the carvings in the choir room of the New Chapel.  There are a number of fanciful carvings adorning the tops of the bench ends in the choir practice room, all carved in 1930 by J. Gregory Wiggins, master carver, originator of the Form plaques, and former faculty member of SPS.

One of these carvings, a rooster located on the right side of the room on the back bench, had been damaged at the point where it was originally attached to the bench end.  I found the rooster stored away among other School artifacts while looking for photographs  for the archives, and discovered that the split piece had gone missing.  I had remembered seeing it damaged in the choir room back in 2010 when I was researching Wiggins, and went back and looked at the photographs I took of his carvings, including this one below that shows the damaged section:


The photo below is of the carving, showing the damaged section of the base near the rooster’s back leg.  In this picture I have cleaned up the rough edges of the break so that I can fit a new piece of wood to the base.


The restoration involved carving a small replacement piece – similar to creating the missing piece to a puzzle.  I used a scrap of oak wood to match the original carving, and carefully carved the shape to fit into the break and match the profile of the carving.  I used a number of carving tools, files, and special clamps to create this small carved piece.

Because this broken section originated at one of the original mounting holes I had to find an alternate way to re-attach the carving to the bench-end.  On the bottom of the carving I cleaned out a recessed area and attached a small flush-mounted piece of hardware that allows for a screw head to slide into place, securing the carving flush to the top of the bench end.


Once I had carved the missing piece to fit the broken section I glued it in place.  I made small adjustments to the fit and then stained and finished the replacement piece to match the surrounding wood.  I cleaned up the carving and re-attached it to the bench end in the choir room, as shown in the photographs below:



One of the reasons this restoration project was special to me is that I felt it gave me the opportunity to give something back to J. Gregory Wiggins by repairing one of his carvings. I am much indebted to his work in originating the Form plaque tradition at SPS.  It was also a pleasure to work so closely with one of his carvings and observe the details of his carving process as evidenced in his work. His carvings have taught me a lot about this project, and whenever I feel stuck or uncertain on how to proceed I ask myself – “what would Wiggins do?” – and I am able to find a solution in the legacy of his work.

A final note:

I came across a letter in the archives written to J. Gregory Wiggins from Samuel Smith Drury (Fourth Rector of SPS), dated May 15, 1930, in which Drury had this to say about the completion of the choir room carvings:

A special fund put at my disposal has enabled me to carry through the embellishment of the choir-room, and I am confidently happy in the thought that generations of young choristers will sing all the more lustily, when they look at the triumphant rooster . . .

And happily, now they can continue to do so.

Read the update to this article by clicking HERE.

Categories: Other Carvings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2008 Plaque Progress: Plaque Complete


The Form of 2008 plaque is now complete.  The above photograph shows a sample of the color finish on the plaque, the top center element featuring the very grumpy looking stock market bear.

The completed framed plaque will be revealed on Anniversary Weekend on Saturday June 1st – at which time photographs of the finished plaque will be published online.  Thank you to the representative from the Form of 2008 for your help with this project –  I am looking forward to seeing members of the Form of 2008 at the SPS Anniversary event to celebrate your new Form plaque!

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