I've always liked wood...

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Ok, this isn't really canoe related. I've seen the lovely wood burning Murat does and I can relate to that. I have a really nice 2 station wood burner that I never use anymore. I did use it to burn a pair of cougars into a deck on Christine's old canoe, but we sold it so that is gone. I mostly used it to enhance the wood carving I used to do. I did that until 2006, long before I got into repairing old canoes.

I did maybe 20 carvings and they are out there somewhere still I hope, but I only have photo's of a few still. It was something I did that made me feel good about myself because every single one was done without the eventual recipient being aware of it and then I gave it away to them. I think of those as my good karma moments, it always made me feel really good to see the look on their faces when I did that.

It is what is called relief carving. I would buy the wood and glue it up into the block size I intended to start with, then remove material to achieve the finished piece. Minimal machining, I tried a dremel for routing out excess background material but gouges always just seemed faster. Around text I would use a xacto knife and trace the lettering then carefully remove the material around it.

Since I got into canoe work I haven't done any carving and I have never finished anything I started for myself.

This is what I refer to as shameless self promotion.





 
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I'm in awe, and near speechless. It's been said that sculptors "see" their creation waiting to be freed from a block of stone or wood. I'd suspect you have the artistic vision of a sculptor. A gift of talent and creative vision.
 
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Brad, it is kind of like I have a mental picture of what I want to do and how I should go about doing it, not that it always works out that way. I think I stopped doing it before I got really good, in the sense I could have been quicker and finer detail. This seems to work with canoes too.

~

Funny thing is, talent or skills of this kind no longer have a place in modern society. I do have a need to keep this part of our history alive though, not everything has to be crap made in China or where ever. There was a fella last year who wandered across the street when I was cutting some stock for a canoe, he asked what I was doing, I explained about the canoes and he looked at me and asked why? He had a really bewildered look when I 'splained about keeping history alive with the old boats and he could not understand why anyone would want one. It isn't something that can be explained always, he has a 30 foot travel trailer, a I/O boat, two jet ski's, a quad and snowmobiles. He seems lost in the world of motors and toys so there ain't no way he could grasp the why and he is my age as well. Two entirely different world views from the same birth era.

When I poured myself into a carving then gave it away, again, people scratched their heads. But I did it for me, just me. It made me feel good about myself and that euphoria could last a few months. Most of them I've never seen again. The Nighthawk one I could see anytime I wanted since they did my tattoo's and I visited often before I moved out here.

The canoes are the same way now, kind of a therapy to keep the slow pace I like, but I'm improving enough that despite being slow I get more done. Old stuff is still way better than new stuff for me but some new stuff is just more practical so necessary.
 
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Stunning work Mihun! Please continue to self promote and post more of your creations. With all your talented carving and canoe building skills, maybe one day you could combine the two. I'm visualizing a huge basswood tree carved into a dugout with a giant wolf's head forming the bow..
 
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I'm glad you brought up a connection between wooden canoe restoration/construction and artistry Mihun. It describes the term artisan perfectly.
From Wikipedia: "Artisans practise a craft and may through experience and aptitude reach the expressive levels of an artist." Many names on this site come to mind who fit into this category. This is something to be explored and celebrated. You're right. Some people just don't get it. But I refuse to accept that there's no longer a place for these skills in our modern fast food now society. I think more and more people are searching for more meaningful experiences in their lives. Everything from artisanal bread and craft beer to ecotourism and spiritual pilgrimages. Some folks are tired and unfulfilled with the McD's drive throughs of this world, and seek to reconnect with a less commercial - more personal experience.
Today I was on a home construction job, and a young stonemason was excitedly showing the homeowners (and us other tradesmen) his vision for a soaring stone fireplace. He saws, chips and fits pieces painstakingly into place to achieve just the right look. He had a sample of fitted stones in a "mock up" layout on the floor. We all had smiles on our faces, but none as big as the smile all over the face of this young stonemason. He gets it, and we all did too.
 
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We have a friend, she lives in Washington State and her artistry is Blacksmithing. In the past few years she can become adept at making just about any tool or item from days gone by with the forge and hammer. Last year after she left here she went home and made us a couple of custom clinching irons for boat building. They are heavy and so far neither of us can afford to have them shipped here, lol.

We are mostly middle aged who create and recreate in this day and age, if they could ever create an app for boat restoration it may become more interesting for the younger generation. There just doesn't seem to be much interest from youth today to get into any of the trades or actually do much with their hands.

I'd like to meet that stonemason, I'm sure we could brainstorm some fabulous wood and stone creations.
 
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Beautiful work Mihun. You are very gifted.

Most people don't get it or appreciate hand crafted items. Or appreciate the workmanship and skills of days gone by. Most would rather be at the mall then in a wilderness area. Dave
 
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Sticks and Stones

Ok, this isn't really canoe related.

This isn’t canoe related either, but I’ve always liked working with wood as well. Years ago, through a process of trial and error, I discovered how to make what I call “Stick and Stone” creations.



The stones are semi precious round or oval cabochons, set in wood.



OK, not just set, but grown into a living tree, a process that takes several years. After a few early efforts I perfected the technique for allowing a small tree to grow a natural bezel around the stone.

Insetting round cabochon stones is easy; to make a starter/seat hole for the stone just drill a spade bit hole the same diameter about ¼” deep into the bark and cambria. Oval stones require drilling a hole and then chiseling out the rest of the oval shape.

Until the tree has grown a natural wood bezel around the edges of the stone sufficient to hold it in place some mechanical assistance is needed to keep the stone from falling out.

I tighten a hose clamp around the tree, and stick a stubby piece of cork or rubber between the surface of the stone and the hose clamp, so the clamp isn’t pressed against the edges where I want to bezel to form and the “spacer” has some flexibility, so the growth forces against the hose clamp don’t crack the stone.

After a year of two (or three), once the stone if firmly held in new growth bezel, I remove the hose clamp.

And wait a few more years for additional bezel to grow before digging up the sapling, roots and all. I implant the stones, usually two or three per tree, near ground level, and the root structures are really interesting to work with.

Once the stones are firmly set in a natural wood bezel I dig it up, roots and all, and store it in a dark closet to dry for several years.

This is not a project for the impatient. The egg-shaped object is the gear shift knob from one of my old trucks, Holly inset with Picture Jasper. It was 6 years in the ground and 3 drying. 9 years later I was driving a different truck, but it was still a pleasure to grab that polished piece while shifting.

I did maybe 20 carvings and they are out there somewhere still I hope, but I only have photo's of a few still. It was something I did that made me feel good about myself because every single one was done without the eventual recipient being aware of it and then I gave it away to them. I think of those as my good karma moments, it always made me feel really good to see the look on their faces when I did that.

I know exactly what you mean. I kept records of each Stick and Stone tree. What type of stones were inset, yearly growth checks, field notes on growth progress and what they eventually became - mostly walking sticks, but also everything from candlestick holders to sculptures to strange object d’art (sometimes depending on what the root structure suggested) - and to whom I gave each piece.

In total about 70 trees, which produced 100 or so objects.

BTW – If weight is not a factor (think walking stick) American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) is the fastest growing/best bezel healing over. Maples split while growing and check badly while drying. And Holly takes a long damn time.
 
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