Earlier this fall a hockey friend commissioned me to make 9 boxes that could hold a bottle of wine or beer or tea bags or [insert gift here]. His company is giving these as service awards for employees who have worked for them for 5 years.
The company is based in Canada but has offices around the world, so he wanted something particularly Canadian: a Canadian carver, Canadian wood, etc. So I chose poplar and maple. These woods are plentiful in our area, and carve quite nicely.
He sent me the company logo and the lettering, and I got to designing the boxes. I grabbed a bottle of wine and a pad of paper and pencil. I was fortunate to grow up with a father who was a hobby wood worker who built more boxes in a weekend than I have built in 30 years. He taught me well about how to build strong, simple designs, and how to problem solve when something goes wrong. He also taught me how to make juices for repeat jobs. Oh he loved jigs! So I made a story-stick and a jig and bought the wood and got after it!
I carved some of the designs in the poplar boxes and some in maple boxes, and I can confirm that I am much more pleased with the maple. The carving turned out well in both, but the maple was less “stringy” and the wood snipped out under my gouges and chisels much nicer. It left a pleasing burnished look, too. I had to work harder to get that look from the poplar.
I met my friend at the Trading Post in Langley to have a beer, catch up on life without hockey (no thanks to COVID-19), and to deliver the boxes. I always feel a little regret handing over a carving, and this was no different, but the thanks I received and the way he handled the boxes tells me they are in good hands.
Now I am back at the bench being Santa’s elf, sculpting for Christmas. Ho ho ho!