Herald Angels or Heraldry?

It has been quiet on this site but not because it has been quiet in my carving studio! It had been crazy busy with carving work such that I have neglected you, my loyal readers! 

The Christmas season always sneaks up on me and I have to be careful not to overcommit. Must leave time to sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and other Christmas carols.

Some projects I am working on include a blanket ladder with dovetail joinery. 


It isn’t really carving work, per se, but I wanted to show old Roubo that his rants about carvers being imprecise are misplaced. I was building furniture and doing complex joinery long before I picked up a carving tool. 

I carved two other pieces that I have done before: a lettercarving piece (the first photo above) and a stylized acanthus leaf in relief. 

And on the heraldry front, I am working on a large family crest that is getting close to being finished. The short video below shows some progress. 


Stay tuned for more updates. I have a very large lettercarving project that I am on the verge of starting. In the new year I am picking up the wood for an ornately carved lintel over a front door in a large foyer. And I have another family crest in the works. It’s nice to have work, but I am feeling the pressure to get things completed! 

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Carving a Family Crest, Part 3

Yesterday, I left you with the family crest being roughed in (or roughed out, or bosted in – whatever you wish), which means the next step is to start carving detail in. I do not carve one piece of a carving until it’s finished; I tend to roam all over the carving, working a little here and then there, and then over there. The reason I do this is because I need to keep a sense of the whole, rather than just one part. For example, if I was carving you and just worked on your ear until it was finished, it might not match the size of your head, or be in proportion to your eyes. It’s the same with a relief carving like this. I started working on the part I was most interested in, which was the helmet, but soon was drawn to the shield, the stars, and the acanthus leaves.

Bailie Family Crest Bosted In
Family Crest Progress

This way, as it comes together, I can make sure the depths are set correctly and the size fits the carving well before cutting too much away. In this case, I determined that the background needed to be set deeper.

Family Crest Getting There
Family Crest Getting There

Here you can begin to see the shape and flow of the acanthus leaves, as well as the potential of the shadows thrown by the deeper depth. I’ve only just begun to undercut the leaves, and initial shaping of the banners is coming along, but it’s still pretty rough. The Celtic border, because of it’s separation from the rest of the carving, and relative simplicity, can wait until tomorrow.

I hope YOU can wait till tomorrow too – because that’s when I’ll show you the Celtic knot taking shape.

Till next time,

Grant McMillan