Now and then, whether during a visit to some coffee shop, an office, somebody’s home or an exquisite art gallery, you must have noticed these gorgeous wood pieces sculpted in various patterns and designs. The perfection of the parts might have left you wondering the process in which such items could have been made. Well, before you dismiss it as the work of some machine, here is another possibility: Sculpting of Wood.
The art of carving or sculpting wood with the use of different tools has been around for centuries. Although a particular year cannot be pinpointed to mark its advent, the experts believe that we can trace it back to the Stone Age. It was also an important cultural aspect for ancient African sculptures, American Indian art, Aboriginal art, and the Gothic Period.
Types Of Wood Used
Depending on the requirement and the object to be carved, the woods chosen can be both softwoods and hardwoods. Typically, artists use hardwoods and softwoods. The hardwoods include basswood, mahogany, maple, oak, teak, and walnut. The softwoods comprise of cedar, pine, and olive. They use these types to work on the finer details.
Methods Of Sculpting Wood
The methods used for carving on a piece of wood have developed extensively with time. In the present scenario, techniques such as chip carving, caricature carving, Scandinavian flat-plane, chainsaw carving, and relief carving are prevalent. While chip carving includes the removal of small chips of the wood by the use of chisels and knives, relief carving involves making of figures in an even panel of wood. Caricature carving and chainsaw carving are relatively new forms of sculpting. The artists use a combination of old and modern technology and methods. In a Scandinavian flat plane, they carve the figures with the exclusive use of a carving knife.
Processes Of Sculpting Wood
The methods that go into the craft of wood sculpting involve Selection, Wood Carving, and Woodturning. Selection involves choosing the right quality of wood that we use for the sculpting process. With an anisotropic material, the makers try to select the wood type in which the grain (the wood is most active in this direction) is easily located. They use it to their advantage. The properties of an anisotropic material change when measured from different directions.
In carving, different designs and intricacies are made onto the wood using the methods mentioned above, such as chip, relief, and flat plane carving. It is one of the most straightforward, most common, and one of the most natural techniques and requires the use of minimal tools. Woodturning is the process in which the piece of wood on which the carving is made. It is perched on something and made to rotate at high speed. Further, the artists use a tool to make shapes on the wood.
With the transition of time, the type of methods and equipment used have advanced. This improvement ensures the sculptures more durable to water, air, and termites. It makes them last for more extended periods. Therefore the art of sculpting wood does require not only patience but also practice and hard work.