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Dragon carving

I got the bug to carve corbels for a shelf in our living room.  Since I love to carve Nordic dragons, I opted to ornament the four corbels with dragon carving and mimicking the old carvings from Norway. Since both sides are carved with the same carving design it means I have eight sides to carve and to make them look close to identical. Being handcarved they’ll be different but delightfully so.

So here are some pictures of the progress I’ve made. Some basic information includes the stock being basswood for the carved panels and clear pine to the attached trim for the back and top of the corbel. The basswood is 1″ thick and without any imperfections. The clear pine will be 3/4″ thick and about 2″ wide. I’m making these corbels for a 9 1/2″ wide pine shelf board. My plan is to us the corbels for either a long shelf or two short ones. Basically, I need shelf space to display Barb’s set of 6 or more alebowls so folks can see my work and these are to give me reference points for future carvings on commission.

I glued up the size I need for the carved panels so I had 9″ by 11″. I transferred the carving design to each of the four panels and then used a band saw to cut the outside edges. Then I used a drill press to drill 3/16″ diameter holes for cutting areas with the scroll saw. I then used a Hegner scroll saw and cut out the interior parts of the carved design. To start the carving work, I used a V tool and a couple gouges to begin relief carving. Most of my carving tools are the professional size Pfeil (Swiss made) tools.

I worked on the head of the dragon using gouges to leave a raised area around the eye and the crown at the top of the head. I worked on lower the top of the nose, and on the scales for the head and neck. The larger dragon is chewing on another dragon so you have to be mindful of weaving the smaller dragon in and out of view.

This is the finished side before I complete the carving on the opposite side, and add acrylic paints to it. Working on this carving also gives me time to consider the benefits of using stain or wood dye along with selective painting versus painting the whole carving. Right now I lean toward using some homestead light oak dye and painting parts, like the tongue.


Published by jimmy_acanthus

I hand carve Norwegian Ale Bowls, and offer acanthus carving, low relief, chip carving, and Scandinavian figure carving. I work with greenwood to make spoons and bowls, and build period furniture.

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