Yesterday afternoon, I was seriously wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into. My arms aren't strong, I have RSI in both wrists, how did I seriously think I could get away with carving wood!!!!
Trying to sleep was hell. Even two panadiene Forte could not keep the pain in my right arm at bay. I kept dreaming of hammers and chisels, of knots in wood, which was was the grain going, until eventually my harp broke in half because I had chiseled too deep and too fast. Finally around 2am I managed to fall into a dreamless sleep, which was rudely interrupted by the alarm at 6:30am.
None the less I was determined to see this through. It was not only a battle with wood but a battle of my mind. My mind was telling me that I could not do this, the wood was going to beat me. I was determined to work through any pain and beat this hunk of wood.
Luckily for me the pain down my entire arm was gone, my fingers were still tender but workable. Before I started, I had a really good look at what I did yesterday and realised that I had done a good job. I also stopped looking at it as an enemy out to get me and thought of it as more of a friend that needed a little nurturing. Believe it or not, this actually worked.
I continued on where I left off which was using the chisel to shape and smooth. About half an hour into the morning (sweat already pouring off me from the humidity) I finally found the grain. All day yesterday I never quite found the proper direction of the grain. When I found it today, I was really excited, it really was as easy as carving butter. I could even do some areas one handed (IE only using the chisel and no hammer). The knot still proved a battle and even now it is not that neat but there really isn't much I can do about it.
This photo was taken when I found the grain. The main area has ripple marks like sand, which are staying. You will notice rough areas in the bottom left that still need work
When I no longer required the use of the hammer, Nis helped me drill the holes for the metal bits the strings go on (yeah I know they have a name but I have no idea what). After that, he did some work with different sanders to shape the area for the string bits as well as curve the edges.
This is Nis doing the shaping. He himself is not in bad shape either. Doing well for a 63 year old.
This is what it looked like when he finished.
I went back to my work bench and continued to shape the leaves and smooth out the lower level more. Once I finished with the chisels, I then hand sanded the leaves (but not my water ripples, they are staying). In order to shape I would push a chisel along the square edge the design. Sounds simple, but you aren't using a hammer so you use your weight, and on top of that, the grain may change direction and you needed to come at it from a different angle. I was thoroughly enjoying it.
Towards the end of the day, I got to use one of the electric sanders, with fine sand paper, to run over the edges and get rid of any marks from the original grinder. I did a pretty good job, but there is still a lot of hand sanding that needs to be done in order to get rid of the fine lines. I managed to get a lot of it done before I left and will do the rest tomorrow morning. As you can see in the below photo, the edges are a lot smoother.
Now here is something interesting that I noticed when I downloaded my photos tonight. Nis has a wonderful garden full of interesting shapes. I loved the sun flowers so I just had to get a photo. Take a look at the left of the flower where the petals start fanning out from the centre. Can you see the XII there? I thought, "gee that is weird, the flower has the roman numeral for 12 on it." The I realised what it was. If you follow it from the X across to the right, you will see that there is a bright streak that also goes across the seed area. My camera is a Lumix. On the top of the camera, Lumix is stuck on with a reflective sticker. If you look at it with mirror image in mind, you will see that you have the XI and part of the M of LUMIX reflecting onto the flower. I love the photo, but the branding kinda ruins it. :)