History of wood carving
Wood carving is one of the oldest arts of humankind. Wooden spears from the Middle Paleolithic, such as the Clacton Spear, show that people have engaged in utilitarian woodwork for millennia. Indeed the beginnings of the craft go so far back that, at least where timber is present, the use of wood exists as a universal in human culture as both a means to create or enhance technology and as a medium for artistry; the North American Indian carves his wooden fish-hook or his pipe stem just as the Polynesian works patterns on his paddle. The native of Guyana decorates his cavassa grater with a well-conceived scheme of incised scrolls, while the native of Loango Bay distorts his spoon with a design of figures standing up in full relief carrying a hammock. Wood carving is present in architecture. Figure-work seems to have been universal. To carve a figure/design in wood may be not only more difficult but less satisfactory than sculpting with marble, owing to the tendency of wood to crack, to be damaged by insects, or to suffer from changes in the atmosphere.
The texture of the material, too proves challenging to the expression of features in the classic type of youthful face. On the other hand, magnificent examples exist of the more rugged features of age: the beetling brows, the furrows and lines neutralizing the defects of the grain of the wood. In ancient work the surface may not have been of such consequence, for figures as a rule being painted for protection and color, it is not always realized at the present day to what extent color has from the most ancient times been used to enhance the effect of wood-carving and sculpture. The modern colour prejudice against gold and other tints is because painted work has been vulgarized; the arrangement of a proper and harmonious scheme of colour is not the work of the house painter, but of the specially trained artist. In the early 20th century, the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, on which much of this entry is based, commented, "Of late years carving has gone out of fashion; the work is slow and requires substantial skill, making the works expensive.
Other and cheaper methods of decoration have driven carving from its former place. Machine work has much to answer for, the endeavor to popularize the craft by means of the village class has not always achieved its own end; the gradual disappearance of the individual artist, elbowed out as he has been, by the contractor, is fatal to the continuance of an art which can never flourish when done at so much a yard." This statement has proven untrue, as the continued survival of the art and craft of woodcarving can be demonstrated by the large number of woodcarvers who have carried on or advanced the tradition in different parts of the world. The extreme dryness of the climate of Egypt accounts for the existence of a number of woodcarvings from this remote period; some wood panels from the tomb of Hosul Egypt, at Sakkarah are of the III. Dynasty; the carving consists of Egyptian hieroglyphs and figures in low relief, the style is delicate and fine. A stool shown on one of the panels has the legs shaped like the fore and hind limbs of an animal, a form common in Egypt for thousands of years.
In the Cairo museum may be seen the statue of a man from the period of the Great Pyramid of Giza 4000 B. C; the expression of the face and the realism of the carriage have never been surpassed by any Egyptian sculptor of this or any other period. The figure is carved out of a solid block of sycamore, in accordance with the Egyptian custom the arms are joined on; the eyes are inlaid with pieces of opaque white quartz, with a line of bronze surrounding to imitate the lid. The IV. V. and VI. dynasties cover the finest period of Egyptian sculpture. The statues found in the tombs show a freedom of treatment, never reached in times, they are all portraits, which the artist strove his utmost to render like his model. For these are not, like mere modern statues works of art, but had a religious signification; as the spirits of the deceased might inhabit, these Ka statues, the features and proportions were copied. There are to be found in the principal museums of Europe many Egyptian examples: mummy cases of human beings with the face alone carved, animal mummy cases, sometimes boxes, with the figure of a lizard carved in full Mummy relief standing on the lid.
Sometimes the animal would be carved in its hollowed body used as the case itself. Of furniture, folding seats like the modern camp stool, chairs with legs terminating in the heads of beasts or the feet of animals, Furniture still exist. Beds supported by lions paws XI. and XII. dynasties, from Gebelein, now in the Cairo Museum), headrests, 6 or 8 in. High, shaped like a crutch on a foot like those used by the native of New Guinea today, are carved with scenes, etc. in outline. In the British Museum may be seen a tiny little coffer, 4 in. by 21/2 in. with delicate figures carved in low relief. This little box stands on cabriole legs 3/4 of an inch long with claw feet, quite Louis Quinze in character. There are incense ladles, the handle representing a bouquet of lotus flowers, the bowl formed like the leaf of an aquatic plant with serrated edges from Gurnah during the XVIII. Dynasty.
Woodturning is the craft of using the wood lathe with hand-held tools to cut a shape, symmetrical around the axis of rotation. Like the potter's wheel, the wood lathe is a simple mechanism; the operator is known as a turner, the skills needed to use the tools were traditionally known as turnery. In pre-industrial England, these skills were sufficiently difficult to be known as'the misterie' of the turners guild; the skills to use the tools by hand, without a fixed point of contact with the wood, distinguish woodturning and the wood lathe from the machinists lathe, or metal-working lathe. Items made on the lathe include tool handles, egg cups, lamps, rolling pins, cylindrical boxes, Christmas ornaments, knitting needles, needle cases, pens, spinning tops. Industrial production has replaced many of these products from the traditional turning shop. However, the wood lathe is still used for decentralized production of limited or custom turnings. A skilled turner can produce a wide variety of objects with six simple tools.
The tools can be reshaped for the task at hand. In many parts of the world, the lathe has been a portable tool that goes to the source of the wood, or adapts to temporary workspaces. 21st-century turners restore furniture, continue folk-art traditions, produce custom architectural work, create fine craft for galleries. Woodturning appeals to people who like to work with their hands, find pleasure in problem-solving, or enjoy the tactile and visual qualities of wood. Wood lathes work with either continuous revolution; the reciprocating lathe is powered by a bow or a spring, rotating the wood first in one direction, in the other. The turner cuts on just one side of the rotation, as with the pole lathe; the reciprocating lathe may be human-powered with a bow, as well as with spring mechanisms. The reciprocating lathe, while primitive technology requiring considerable dexterity to operate, is capable of excellent results in skilled hands. For example, reciprocating bow lathes are still used to turn beads for the Arabian lattice windows called Meshrebeeyeh that so charmed Holtzapffel in the 1880s.
Continuous revolution of the workpiece can be human-powered with a treadle wheel, or achieved with water, steam, or electric power. The style of cutting does not have the pause required by the reciprocating lathe's rotation. With continuous revolution, the turner controls the contact of tool and wood by hand; the cutters advanced automatically, as with the metal-working lathe. The nature of wood defines woodturning techniques; the orientation of the wood grain, relative to the axis of the lathe, affects the tools and techniques used by the woodturner. In spindle turning, the grain runs lengthwise along the lathe bed, as if a log were mounted in the lathe. Grain is thus always perpendicular to the direction of rotation under the tool. In bowl turning, the grain runs at right angles to the axis, as if a plank were mounted across the chuck; when a bowl blank rotates, the angle that the grain makes with the cutting tool continually changes between the easy cuts to two places per rotation where the tool is cutting across the grain and upwards across it.
This varying grain angle limits some of the tools that may be used and requires additional skill from the turner. Moisture content affects both the ease of cutting wood and the final shape of the work when it dries. Wetter wood cuts with a continuous ribbon of shavings that are dust-free. However, the wet wood moves. Shrinking less along the grain; these variable changes may add the illusion of an oval bowl, or draw attention to features of the wood. Dry wood is necessary for turnings that require precision, as in the fit of a lid to a box, or in forms where pieces are glued together; the character of the wood creates other challenges for the woodturner. Turners of hardwoods and ivory select different tools than those used for cutting softwoods. Voids in the wood require fillers, or extra safety precautions. Although other woodworkers value tight, straight grain, woodturners search out the unusual wood from roots, defects, or diseased portions of trees; the craft of woodturning is advanced by a community of practitioners.
Until the 1970s, an apprentice system in the U. K. and Industrial Arts education in the U. S. preserved many of the traditional skills of the craft. Between 1975 and 1985, industrial arts teachers, artists and tool suppliers developed the symposium format for exchange of information about the craft; this community was a kind of prototype for the artisan-based maker culture active in the 21st century. The community organizes regional and international symposiums, publishes journals, hosts travelling experts at club events. Most publications and DVDs are including numerous YouTube videos; the archaeological record of woodturning is limited to illustrations because wood is a fiber prone to rot. Egyptian monuments illustrate a strap used by a helper to rotate the lathe while another worker cut the wood. Early bow lathes and strap lathes were used in Egypt and Rome; the Chinese and Arabs had their own variations of the bow lathe. Early lathe workers would sometimes use their bare feet to hold cutting tools in place while using their hand to power the lathe.
Bow lathes continue in use right up to the present day, much of our information about them comes from watching turne
Relief carving is a type of wood carving in which figures are carved in a flat panel of wood. The figures project only from the background rather than standing freely. Depending on the degree of projection, reliefs may be classified as high or medium relief. Relief carving can be described as "carving pictures in wood"; the process of relief carving involves removing wood from a flat wood panel in such a way that an object appears to rise out of the wood. Relief carving begins with a design idea put to paper in the form of a master pattern, transferred to the wood surface. Most relief carving is done with hand tools - chisels and gouges - which require a mallet to drive them through the wood; as wood is removed from the panel around the objects traced onto it from the pattern, the objects themselves stand up from the background wood. Modeling of the objects can take place as soon as enough background has been removed and the object edges are trimmed to the pattern lines. In order to secure the wood panel, a workbench with fixtures like bench-dogs, carver's screw or clamps, is necessary.
Carving tools come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, some aimed at the hobbyist, but others directed at professional carvers. Some carving tools are held with one hand, but most relief carving requires that the wood panel be secured so that both hands may be on the carving tool. Much of the skill required for relief carving lies in learning to grip and manipulate tools to get the desired effect. Tool sharpening is a necessary skill to learn, dull tools are a severe obstacle to effective carving. Create a pattern, drawn on paper. Prepare a wood panel for carving; this may be a single piece of a laminated panel. Transfer the pattern to the panel, using carbon paper as the transfer medium. Remove wood around the objects that comprise the pattern. Model the objects Detail the objects Tidy the background behind the objects Apply a suitable finish to the panel 1. High relief between 1/2" and 2" in depth. 2. Bas relief, or Low relief under 1/2" in depth. 3. Deep relief over 2" in depth. 4. Pierced relief, where holes are carved clear through the wood.
Some carvers prefer to finish their carving with a clear finish. But others incorporate pyrography into their relief carvings. Chip carving Relief Carving Wood carving Spielmann, Marion Harry Alexander. "Relief". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 23. Cambridge University Press. P. 61
Whittling may refer either to the art of carving shapes out of raw wood using a knife or a time-occupying, non-artistic process of shaving slivers from a piece of wood. Casual whittling is performed with a light, small-bladed knife a pocket knife. Specialized whittling knives, with fixed single blades, are preferred for sculpting artistic work, they have thick handles which are easier to grip for long periods and have better leverage, allowing more precise control and pressure. The terms "whittling" and "carving" are used interchangeably, but they are different arts. Carving employs the use of chisels, with or without a mallet, while whittling involves only the use of a knife. Carving involves powered equipment such as lathes. In industrialized areas of the world, whittling is a hobby and not an occupational activity as it was before powered wood working equipment enabled modern production. "Splash whittling" is a historical, decorative technique in Norway using an ax to create a herringbone pattern.
It's a good idea to protect your thumb with a leather thimble, your holding hand with a cut-resistant glove. While any type of wood can be used for whittling, there are woods which are easier to work with and whittle better than others. Soft woods with a small grain, such as basswood, are easier to whittle and are inexpensive. Hardwoods are more difficult to whittle. Wood carving
Bow and arrow
The bow and arrow is a ranged weapon system consisting of an elastic launching device and long-shafted projectiles. Archery is the practice, or skill of using bows to shoot arrows. A person who shoots arrows with a bow is called an archer. Someone who makes bows is known as a bowyer, one who makes arrows is a fletcher, one who manufactures metal arrowheads is an arrowsmith; the use of bows and arrows by humans for hunting predates recorded history and was common to many prehistoric cultures. They were important weapons of war from ancient history until the early modern period, where they were rendered obsolete by the development of the more powerful and accurate firearms, were dropped from warfare. Today and arrows are used for hunting and sports. A bow consists of a semi-rigid but elastic arc with a high-tensile bowstring joining the ends of the two limbs of the bow. An arrow is a projectile with a pointed tip and a long shaft with stabilizer fins towards the back, with a narrow notch at the end to contact the bowstring.
To load an arrow for shooting, the archer places an arrow across the middle of the bow with the bowstring in the arrow's nock. To shoot, the archer pulls back the arrow and the bowstring, which in turn flexes the bow limbs, storing elastic energy. While maintaining the draw, the archer sights along the arrow to aim it; the archer releases the arrow, allowing the limbs' stored potential energy to convert into kinetic energy, transmitted via the bowstring to the arrow, propelling it to fly forward with high velocity. A container or bag for additional arrows for quick reloading is called a quiver; when not in use, bows are kept unstrung, meaning one or both ends of the bowstring are detached from the bow. This removes all residual tension on the bow, can help prevent it from losing strength or elasticity over time. For many bow designs, this lets it straighten out more reducing the space needed to store the bow. Returning the bowstring to its ready-to-use position is called stringing the bow; the bow and arrow appears around the transition from the Upper Paleolithic to the Mesolithic.
After the end of the last glacial period, use of the bow seems to have spread to every inhabited region, except for Australasia and most of Oceania. The earliest definite remains of bow and arrow are from Europe. Possible fragments from Germany were found at Mannheim-Vogelstang dated 17,500-18,000 years ago, at Stellmoor dated 11,000 years ago. Azilian points found in Grotte du Bichon, alongside the remains of both a bear and a hunter, with flint fragments found in the bear's third vertebra, suggest the use of arrows at 13,500 years ago. At the site of Nataruk in Turkana County, obsidian bladelets found embedded in a skull and within the thoracic cavity of another skeleton, suggest the use of stone-tipped arrows as weapons about 10,000 years ago. Microliths discovered on the south coast of Africa suggest that projectile weapons of some sort may be at least 71,000 years old; the oldest extant bows in one piece are the elm Holmegaard bows from Denmark which were dated to 9,000 BCE. Several bows from Holmegaard, date 8,000 years ago.
High-performance wooden bows are made following the Holmegaard design. The Stellmoor bow fragments from northern Germany were dated to about 8,000 BCE, but they were destroyed in Hamburg during the Second World War, before carbon 14 dating was available; the bow was an important weapon for both hunting and warfare from prehistoric times until the widespread use of gunpowder in the 16th century. Organised warfare with bows ended in the mid 17th century in Europe, but it persisted into the early 19th century in Eastern cultures and in hunting and tribal warfare in the New World. In the Canadian Arctic bows were made until the end of the 20th century for hunting caribou, for instance at Igloolik; the bow has more been used as a weapon of tribal warfare in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The British upper class led a revival of archery from the late 18th century. Sir Ashton Lever, an antiquarian and collector, formed the Toxophilite Society in London in 1781, under the patronage of George Prince of Wales.
The basic elements of a bow are a pair of curved elastic limbs, traditionally made from wood, joined by a riser. Both ends of the limbs are connected by a string known as the bow string. By pulling the string backwards the archer exerts compressive force on the string-facing section, or belly, of the limbs as well as placing the outer section, or back, under tension. While the string is held, this stores the energy released in putting the arrow to flight; the force required to hold the string stationary at full draw is used to express the power of a bow, is known as its draw weight, or weight. Other things being equal, a higher draw weight means a more powerful bow, able to project heavier arrows at the same velocity or the same arrow at a greater velocity; the various parts of the bow can be subdivided into further sections. The topmost limb is known as the upper limb. At the tip of each limb is a nock, used to attach the bowstring to the limbs; the riser is divided into the grip, held by the archer, as well as the arrow rest and the bow window.
The arrow rest is a small ledge or extension above the grip which the arrow rests upon while being aimed. The bow window is that part of the
Marquetry is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The technique may be applied to case furniture or seat furniture, to decorative small objects with smooth, veneerable surfaces or to freestanding pictorial panels appreciated in their own right. Marquetry differs from the more ancient craft of inlay, or intarsia, in which a solid body of one material is cut out to receive sections of another to form the surface pattern; the word derives from a Middle French word meaning "inlaid work". The veneers used are woods, but may include bone, turtle-shell, mother-of-pearl, brass or fine metals. Marquetry using colored straw was a specialty of some European spa resorts from the end of the 18th century. Many exotic woods as well as common European varieties can be employed, from the near-white of boxwood to the near-black of ebony, with veneers that retain stains well, like sycamore, dyed to provide colors not found in nature; the French cabinet maker Andre-Charles Boulle specialized in furniture using metal and either wood or tortoiseshell together, the latter acting as the background.
The simplest kind of marquetry uses only two sheets of veneer, which are temporarily glued together and cut with a fine saw, producing two contrasting panels of identical design. Marquetry as a modern craft most uses knife-cut veneers. However, the knife-cutting technique requires a lot of time. For that reason, many marquetarians have switched to scroll saw techniques. Other requirements are a pattern of some kind, some brown gummed tape, PVA glue and a base-board with balancing veneers on the alternate face to compensate stresses. Finishing the piece will require fine abrasive paper always backed by a sanding block. Either ordinary varnish, special varnishes, modern polyurethane -oil or water based- good waxes and the technique of French polish are different methods used to seal and finish the piece. Sand shading is a process used to make. A piece of veneer to be incorporated into a picture is submerged into hot sand for a few seconds. Another process is engraving fine lines into a picture and filling them with a mixture of India ink and shellac.
Furniture inlaid with precious woods, metals and stones is known from the ancient world and Roman examples have been recovered from the first century sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum demonstrating that the technique was advanced. The revival of the technique of veneered marquetry had its inspiration in 16th century Florence and at Naples from classical inspiration. Marquetry elaborated upon Florentine techniques of inlaying solid marble slabs with designs formed of fitted marbles and semi-precious stones; this work, called opere di commessi, has medieval parallels in Central Italian "Cosmati"-work of inlaid marble floors and columns. The technique is known in English as pietra dura, for the "hardstones" used: onyx, cornelian, lapis lazuli and colored marbles. In Florence, the Chapel of the Medici at San Lorenzo is covered in a colored marble facing using this demanding jig-sawn technique. Techniques of wood marquetry were developed in Antwerp and other Flemish centers of luxury cabinet-making during the early 16th century.
The craft was imported full-blown to France after the mid-seventeenth century, to create furniture of unprecedented luxury being made at the royal manufactory of the Gobelins, charged with providing furnishings to decorate Versailles and the other royal residences of Louis XIV. Early masters of French marquetry were the Fleming Pierre Golle and his son-in-law, André-Charles Boulle, who founded a dynasty of royal and Parisian cabinet-makers and gave his name to a technique of marquetry employing tortoiseshell and brass with pewter in arabesque or intricately foliate designs. Boulle marquetry was revived in the 1780s. In the decades between matched quarter-sawn veneers sawn from the same piece of timber were arranged symmetrically on case pieces and contrasted with gilt-bronze mounts. Floral marquetry came into favor in Parisian furniture in the 1750s, employed by cabinet-makers like Bernard van Risenbergh, Jean-Pierre Latz and Simon-François Oeben; the most famous royal French furniture veneered with marquetry are the pieces delivered by Jean Henri Riesener in the 1770s and 1780s.
The Bureau du Roi was the most famous amongst these famous masterpieces. Marquetry was not ordinarily a feature of furniture made outside large urban centers. Marquetry was introduced into London furniture at the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, the product of immigrant Dutch'inlayers', whose craft traditions owed a lot to Antwerp. Panels of elaborately scrolling "seaweed" marquetry of box or holly contrasting with walnut appeared on table tops and long-case clocks. At the end of the 17th century, a new influx of French Huguenot craftsmen went to London, but marquetry in England had little appeal in the anti-French, more Chinese-inspired high-style English furniture after ca 1720. Marquetry was revived as a vehicle of Neoclassicism and a'French taste' in London furniture, starting in the late 1760s. Cabinet-makers associated with London-made marquetry furniture, 1765–1790, include Thomas Chippendale and less familiar names, like John Linnell, the French craftsman Pierre Langlois, the firm of William Ince a