I recently bought a very nice federal period mirror at an antique shop that was desperately in need of some repairs. Atop the mirror sits a hand carved urn and swag. It is a very fragile carving that has deteriorated and has been broken and poorly repaired. Here is a short photo essay showing the steps required to repair and conserve the carving. I have tried to maintain the aging and original patina. Continue reading "Repairing, Restoring, Conserving a Federal Mirror"
Continue reading "Another Carved Human Skull"
Last year I got the opportunity to repair three old carved eagles, all belonging to the same collector. Two of the eagles were genuine John Haley Bellamy eagles and one was an old copy. One of the genuine Bellamys was an example of his early work. It gave me a rare chance to study the originals up close, and take them apart. I've seen dozens of genuine Bellamy eagles up close, but this is the first time I got the chance to remove the head. It was interesting, and a great opportunity to closely examine the master's work and techniques. Following are photos of those eagles and their repairs. Continue reading "Original Bellamy Eagle Repair / Restoration / Conservation"
Some of my favorite projects are designs created by a customer. It gives me a chance to do something a little different. This one of those instances. Though the design incorporates one of my often carved eagles--a copy of a Boston Carving Company eagle--it is only part of the project. Building the frame was easy. Simple woodworking that I've done many times. The real challenge was the stars, 18 of them. Each one was cut from 3/8" pine. But then I had to carve each one. They are only 1.5" so holding them while during the carving was tough. I ended up using double-sided tape to hold them to my bench. It was time consuming, tedious work. It wouldn't bother me if I didn't have to make another one. Feel free to design come up with your own idea and let me create if for you.
I finally had the time to finish the project I've been working on for several months. It took about $300 in 23k gold leaf to finish it, but it was worth the expense--it looks great. I made a pyramid base using some 200 year old cherry wood I salvaged from an old desk I salvaged. Here if the finished project.
I've always wanted a Saber Tooth Lion skull. I don't know why, maybe I'm a little weird, but the first time I saw one in a museum (I think in the Natural History museum in DC) I've wanted one. Real skulls are rare and extremely expensive, but there are companies that make high quality casts from the originals. Trouble is these aren't cheap either. One of these skulls has been on my list of carving projects. Now I don't have to go to the trouble. During a recent trip to Mexico I happened across a very high quality reproduction at a Mayan ruin. Among the cheap crap being sold by the countless pests that follow you where ever you go in Mexico, with the annoying, "Senior, you buy. Cheaper than Walmart. Almost free. How much you pay?" was this beautiful reminder of the times when humans were not at the top of the food chain. After some haggling, I managed to talk the young Mayan entrepreneur into accepting $50--a great buy. Here is what it looked like when I bought it.
I've finally finished up with a bunch of customer work and had some time to work on my in-the-round eagle. I was planning on carving feathers on the back of the wings and body. But I visited an exhibition of John Bellamy's carvings in Massachusetts over the summer and liked what he did to the back of one of his large eagles. The photo below is my interpretation of his technique. It was quick and easy to do, but I like the effect. Continue reading "Carving an Eagle in the Round (part 5)"
After a busy summer carving for other people I was looking forward to taking a vacation and coming home to work on some of my own projects. My Mexican vacation was great. I left the cold Connecticut weather behind and bathed in the tropical sun and ocean. Unfortunately, while I was away, my father died. He had been sick in the hospital for about six months, so it wasn't a total surprise. Continue reading "Turning a Cremation Urn"