Maybe it’s no ordinary stick… it’s a big honkin’ basswood log that weighs approximately twice what I do. I haven’t done a lot of wood carving, and figured I would take the opportunity to learn something new. In hindsight, I probably could’ve picked a project to do while on the road that didn’t require its own tow vehicle and winches to move it about. But I’ve never really been one to do things the easy way.
I have learned a great deal about carving green wood. Here are a few key takeaways.
- Green carving is easier to carve, and far more difficult to control wood movement.
- Green wood cracks. Either live with the imperfections (charm), or use lots of wood sealer. I kinda like the charm, but I suppose we’ll see if that still holds true by the end of this carving.
- Always use sharp chisels.
- If you think you can carve a log of this size using axes and chisels, you’re either incredibly patient, or a fool. I’m one of the two. You can be the judge.
- Use a chainsaw to get your rough shape.
The picture above was taken by Monterey Bay. I have lots of fond memories of the place from my time in the Navy. On a side note, that basswood log is a “non-native” species in California… I didn’t think at all about that giant sucker sitting in my trailer until I reached a border stop heading into the state, where an inspector inquired,
“Do you have any produce?” Umm, nope, just jerky and Red Bull.
“What’s in the trailer?” Just camping gear and my video rig. I didn’t think it necessary to explain why I was audacious enough to haul a tree around with me, too.
Final Question: “Do you have any firewood in that trailer??” as the inspector lady shot me the stink eye.
I paused for a second, contemplating time behind bars for a legally-procured tree stump, and said “….nope.” I wasn’t planning on burning it. Pretty sure the people’s republic of California would have placed my head on a pike if they uncovered that rather intentional ommission. Then again, Basswood isn’t much of a cash crop in Cali, and I’m long gone now!
(note: For all those ecologically-minded folks who want to skewer me for bringing tree plague into your fine state, let me rest your mind at ease. that little tuft of grass was the only plant within 200 feet of the tree. Unless rocks catch tree germs, I think the state is still safe.)
Next Stop, Colorado!