Refining a deadwood feature on a podocarpus

My friend Bobby asked me over to do some carving.
Me, always willing to work on a tree, of course, said yes.
All my friends live a long way away. Bobby’s about an hour away, which is not bad. My friend Erik is about 3 hours away, Allen is about 2 hours.
Bobby said he had a couple three trees for me to work on.
This was the first:
The previous artist who had carved it put the twist into the deadwood.
After talking it over with Bobby we decided to keep the twist but try to make it more natural looking.

To paint the scene. I’m in a beautifully landscaped yard with a great collection of trees.
This was the view to my right
And my left
But I was here to work.
One thing I try to do when carving is to, instead of making lines, I carve hollows, furrows and details that, when the light hits them, make lines.
This is the first pass
That’s Bobby in the background.
And this is Bobby in the foreground
More of the tree


Using my die grinder and an inch wide roto-saw bit I followed the original design but went deeper. I’m known for how deep I can plunge my tool.
Now I’m giving up a secret carving technique. Pay attention.
Using a flex-shaft grinder (like a Foredom brand) and a wire brush bit
and a little work. That’s how I put some age into the design. Allow the tool to rotate with the grain.
The effect we are trying to emulate: a trees grain is made up of alternating hard and soft layers, the soft layer will wear away with the action of the elements (wind, water, sand) and by using the wire brush I can duplicate that process.
Here is the end result


The before (just to remind you)
In the next post I’ll show you how I carve this buttonwood
Or maybe I’ll make soup

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
This entry was posted in refine, sculpture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Refining a deadwood feature on a podocarpus

  1. Randi says:

    How do you treat the wood to preserve the amazing details of your carving?



  2. granolagirlatheart says:

    Were the twisty slashes supposed to look like twisting in the wood in a completed way, or something that was done to set up for later in the tree’s development?


    • adamaskwhy says:

      The twisty slashes were an attempt to add detail to the carving. As you saw I got rid of most of them. When I carve I use shape and the way light and shadow play on the details to show movement.
      The mantra is “carve the details, don’t draw them”


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