As regular readers of this blog will know, I’ve been carving a pair of corbels in oak for some time now. I’m proud to say that they are complete and are waiting for finishing (stain, lacquer, installation). These have taken a long time to complete from start to finish, so I thought you might like to know what steps were taken to complete these.
- Dream and vision: the owner of the home has had a vision for his house that spans at least 30 years. He knew he wanted corbels supporting a beam in the entryway for at least that long.
- Contact the carver (me) to confirm the possibility. As you now know, I said yes. I don’t remember the exact wording my reply, but it probably went like this: “No problem – I can do that.”
- The owner and I with our partners took a cruise (ok, it was on BC Ferries) to Vancouver Island, specifically to look at and photograph some of the architectural details in Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. Several different photos of the corbels in the Castle provided the ideas for the ones I carved (pictured above).
- The owner’s partner Sandi Stephens drew up the design.
- The owner’s carpenter, Larry Kwiatkowski, glued up the wood and cut out the shape on a bandsaw.
- The owner had me rough out the general shape of some of the curves. I argued this was an unnecessary step, but he couldn’t envision the job without me doing this, so I did it (hey, it’s his money).
- Sandi Stephens transferred the drawing to the wood (also unnecessary, but again the owner…).
- I roughed out the leaves and stems of the acanthus motif, set the basic depths, and showed the progress to the owner, who approved with a few modifications.
- I finished the carving to about 90% complete, and took the corbels to the owner for one last chance to make changes. I looked at the other carvings I’ve done for him and determined how to complete the corbels so they would match the rest of the carvings.
- I completed the carving and spent numerous hours sanding. A helpful sanding product is self-adhesive emery paper, which I cut out and stuck to my fingers, sticks, needle files and just about anything that was the right shape and curvature to help speed up the monotonous sanding. Personally, I hate sanding and much prefer carvings that are finished right from the chisels and gouges, but see my previous comments about the owner….
There are two headblocks to be carved, which will be placed above the corbels and under the beams. Stay tuned to see what they look like.