Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

Archive for the tag “Religious Figures”

Today’s Activities

Unfortunately, it’s a rainy January day in Kingston today.  The weather is becoming more and more peculiar.  The next few days are well above freezing and the following few days are expected to be way, way below freezing.  So, Rosie and I did our daily walk through puddles this morning.  I’d much prefer walking through snow at this time of year.

I did spend a bit of time on my latest panel for the chalice box.  I’m enjoying using the plunge-base for the Dremel tool.  I used it to cut a 5/8″ channel all around the figure and then used it again to cut a lesser channel around the halo and around the arms and book.  It’s actually quite handy in that you can set the depth that you want to carve down to and then just chisel later into that channel.  The Dremel tool isn’t all that powerful, so you have to take a few passes to get to the 5/8″ depth.

I’m working on the face right now and will turn to some Foredom tool work for the finer detail very shortly.

Here’s how it’s looking at this point.



Last But Not Least!

You guessed it…it’s Saint Mark.


Third Panel Completed

The panel of Jesus is pretty much complete.  I’ll do a few minor touch ups and final sanding on each of the panels before putting a urethane finish on them, but this figure of Jesus is about where I wanted to go with it.


The next, and final, panel is that of Saint Mark.  Mark is known for a number of reasons including the writing of the Gospel, but one of the noteworthy historical facts is that it was Mark who brought the Gospels to Egypt.  For this reason, Mark is often depicted holding  or carrying the bible.  I’m planning to depict him similar to this figure of Jesus but with his hands holding an open bible.

I also plan on making some channels with a router around the edge of these panels and I’m not sure whether I’ll do that or start on the panel of Mark…

Today’s Progress

I’m still getting reacquainted with relief carving so it’s taking me a bit of time.  Actually, with practice, I know that I’ll be more willing to take big chunks away at a time…but, for now, I’m working pretty slowly and making sure that I don’t take too much away in the wrong spots!  As a result, I had to do Jesus’ face twice today as my first effort was nice but too pronounced for the rest of the figure’s body…so, I re-carved the entire face an 1/8″ lower!

But, it’s a rainy, grey winter day so my little Sheltie, Rosie, and I just sat downstairs for a few hours and carved away.  I carved and Rosie curled up on the floor amongst the wood chips which she later deposited around the house.

Here’s what things are looking like at this point.  Still a lot to do and a few things to correct, I think.


A New Tool For Christmas!

Here’s the semi-finished version of Michael with some fine sanding completed.  I can see that I’m going to want to do a few touch ups before I call this panel figure complete, but I’m pretty happy with the way that it’s turning out.  As you know, I don’t typically sand my carvings but I’ll be finishing this particular carving in a fashion that’s more traditionally seen in churches.



And here’s the start to the next panel where I was able to use the tool that I found under the Christmas tree!  Actually, I already had the Dremel tool…but, when I was at the last carving show, I spoke with a friend who did a lot of incredible relief carvings and he mentioned how he uses a router base made for the Dremel.

After doing a bit of research, I decided that the best base for my needs would be the one manufactured by Lee Valley.  It’s definitely pricier than some, but the higher quality of the base is obvious.  What this does is allow me to set the depth of the 1/4″ bit and plunge down to trace along the lines of the drawing that I’ve glued in place on the face of the wood.  It saves a bit of time and makes very accurate cuts.

Tomorrow, I’m going to use it to outline the hands, loaf and chalice to gets some depth around those figures as they will be the highest figures carved into the relief.

I wish each of you all of the best in 2017!


Just Prior to Final Sanding

Here’s what Michael looks like prior to some final sanding.  I added my version of the feathers on the underside of the wings with some chisel work followed up by ruby cutters on a Foredom tool.  Ruby cutters are fine stones that provide some cutting along with a satin finish to the wood.  I used these tear-drop shaped cutters so that I wouldn’t have to cut each in by hand and likely leave some knife and chisel marks.

I’m still working a bit on Michael’s face, as well.  I’m looking for a not too kindly but not too frightening expression!

I haven’t really been doing too much carving over the Christmas holiday.  Instead, I’ve been enjoying Emily’s company during her visit home.  Tomorrow, she’ll be heading back which will send me back into the workshop to finish some fine sanding.   Following that, I’ll set this panel aside and begin the third panel of the chalice box with the image of Jesus holding a chalice and loaf.



Some Carving, Some Wrapping

Yes, I did manage to do a bit of Christmas wrapping between carving.  I’m not saying that I’m a great carver, but I can safely say that I’m a better carver than I am a wrapper ( not to be confused with rapping, which I couldn’t…I wouldn’t… do if my life depended on it ).

Here’s Michael moving along…


Archangel Michael

It’s time to start carving Michael into the second panel of the chalice box.  This one will be a bit more interesting as, of course, there are wings to carve!

I started, again, by using a router with a 1/4″ dado bit to carefully route completely around the outline of the carving to a depth of 5/8″.  The router that I have is variable speed and I used a very slow setting on the router and took a few passes rather than a single plunge of 5/8″ to avoid burning the wood.  From there it was just a matter of using gouges to chisel away the wood to meet the routed channel that I had created.

I then picked the two highest spots…the left hand and the nose…and made sure that all of the other features sloped away from those two spots while checking the clay model that I had done earlier.

But…I have a bit more Christmas shopping to do tomorrow so I’ll have to put Michael away for a short while.



Some Final Sanding

Here’s the sanded version of Mary with Child.  After carving, I used progressively finer grades of paper from 180 to 320 grit to get to this point.  Before I put a final urethane finish on this, I’ll do some final finishing with finer grades of sandpaper.

I’m pleased so far!


More Detail

Here’s another quick update on how this project is going.  A little bit more detailing left and some final sanding and I’ll be on to Archangel Michael as another panel on my chalice box project.  I should mention that all of the blue masking tape is just to protect the wood from dings while I do the carving.

The carving has been very enjoyable and I’m really only using a few chisels for the work.  The only “special” chisel that I’ve used is a bent style ( much like a spoon ) to be able to scoop out along the archway on the top and bottom where access is limited.  A nice project and certainly being done at the right time of year!


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