Day 18: The blackboard knows

Gaynor Dowling’s under the weather with something she caught traveling, so Malcolm Martin is working alone in the UArts shop today, Thursday June 20, 2013. Well not alone, besides me Ben Carpenter is wailing away with his chain saw in the big, sunlight turning room across the hall, and Neil Turner is quietly grinding away with his high-speed carving hand piece, embellishing turned bottle shapes and vases.  It strikes me that although they are working at different scales, Ben and Neil are both in constant dialog with the wood, responding to its grain, figure, hardness, and softness. Meanwhile I’m trying to get a new four-bar gizmo to behave, making key parts over and over again in my own woody dialog. While Malcolm patiently carves a texture onto a rather large piece of bending plywood, one chip at a time. As I process the pix I realized that there are no shots of my own work, I’ll try to remedy that tomorrow. Anyway here’s the day’s photos.

Ben's caliper indicates he has made the wood too thin in the belly of the boat shape he's been chain-saw carving all day.

Ben’s caliper indicates he has made the wood too thin in the belly of the boat shape he’s been chain-saw carving all day.

Ben decides to cut through the thin spot, and to remove two large wedges from the form.

Ben decides to cut through the thin spot, and to remove two large wedges from the form.

Ben wonders whether there's anything left to keep of this sycamore log. Maybe it will become an outdoor sculpture.

Ben wonders whether there’s anything left to keep of this sycamore log. Maybe it will become an outdoor sculpture.

Neil Turner carves a labyrinth design onto a pearwood vase. He made the deep vee cut to manage a check in the fruit wood.

Neil Turner carves a labyrinth design onto a pearwood vase. He made the deep vee cut to manage a check in the fruit wood.

After a while Neil turns to the bottle form he and Ben are building together. He carves deep openings in its sides.

After a while Neil turns to the bottle form he and Ben are building together. He carves deep openings in its sides.

Neil ponders whether he will need to hollow the bottle to get the effect he wants. It will be a lot of work. I suggest he follow Gaynor's example and  paint the bottoms of the openings.

Neil ponders whether he will need to hollow the bottle to get the effect he wants. It will be a lot of work. I suggest he follow Gaynor’s example and paint the bottoms of the openings.

The blackboard sketch shows where Neil and Ben plan to go: a spine of spikes along the carved bottle.

The blackboard sketch shows where Neil and Ben plan to go: a spine of spikes along the carved bottle.

Malcolm patiently textures the bending plywood, one chip at a time.

Malcolm patiently textures the bending plywood, one chip at a time.

A closeup of the Malcolm's hand-carving action. Where Neil whirs mechanically when he carves, Malcolm goes tap-tap, scritch-scritch.

A closeup of  Malcolm’s hand-carving action. Whilst Neil whirs mechanically when he carves, Malcolm goes tap-tap, scritch-scritch, chip-chip.

It's not all fun with wood -- the tools have to be sharp. Malcolm has resuscitated the ITE's wet grinder.

It’s not all fun with wood — the tools have to be sharp. Malcolm has resuscitated the ITE’s wet grinder.

The shot you've been waiting for: Malcolm's bending-plywood bottle form tacked together, waiting to be sewn. He says the texturing didn't affect how it bends. I'm surprised the texture is on the inside. Not to worry, he replies, there's another one on the way with carving on the outside.

The shot you’ve been waiting for: Malcolm’s bending-plywood bottle form tacked together, waiting to be sewn. He says the texturing didn’t affect how it bends. I’m surprised the texture is on the inside. Not to worry, he replies, there’s another one on the way with carving on the outside.

3 thoughts on “Day 18: The blackboard knows

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