A Start to the Dock
I went down to my favourite lumber yard after work yesterday and picked up a nice piece of basswood with about a 6″x 2 1/2″ cross-section for the dock on which the three little hounds will lounge and do their thing.
After cutting it to the approximate length that I wanted the dock to end up, I marked the centre and cut it lengthwise along an edge to get two pieces about 1″ thick. When you do this, remember that you are working off of a much narrower base on the bandsaw and that you need to be extra cautious with the stability of the piece. Notice that the fence that I use has a black vertical centre section that the wood leans up against during cutting and that allows the wood to be “pivoted” against this vertical support such that you are able to track the centre line that you’ve drawn. By the way, I always wear eye protection, never have gloves or jewellery on that can get caught in the blade and always use a “push-stick” to feed the wood when near the blade. I’m extra careful and you should be too.
Finally, I planed the edges and laminated the two sections together in order to get the width that I needed…and, bingo!…the start of a dock. Those notches out of the two right hand corners are going to mark a single step up to the dock and I’m thinking that they’ll also be a good place to add some cypress knees for this Southern scene.
The little hounds sure look at home on it. By the way, I should mention that you might notice that a couple of the hounds are whiter…I always apply a very dilute coat of gesso to the carving prior to the acrylic paint. This has a dual purpose for me…it seals the wood initially and makes a great base for the acrylics to adhere to, and, it tends to highlight any imperfections that I can take care of before I start applying the colour. “Taking care of” is done with the knives and chisels that I’ve used up to this point and just a touch of sandpaper. If you use gesso ( which you can find in any art or crafts stores ), use it thinned down considerably and be sure to also just use a touch of sandpaper so that you don’t lose all of the detail of the carving that you’ve done.