More Whittling

Whittling
To textually describe what’s in the picture: there’s an arrowhead, cross, spinning-top, teetotum, pawn, abstract pendant, spoon & fork, letter R, tiki statue, and a shovel. Some of the items have walnut oil applied, some have an added coat of beeswax & walnut oil, and some are bare wood (the pawn, spinning-top, and R have the wax while the tiki and shovel are bare).

To make the wax/oil coating, I heated walnut oil over a candle and dropped in some beeswax shavings. When it cooled, it was like lip-balm, so I dipped my finger in and rubbed the wood (beeswax is too hard on its own). I buffed it with a cotton cloth, although I’m not sure that did anything. The walnut oil is straight from the supermarket’s oil section. The reason I’m trying walnut oil as a finish is because it has the potential to dry over time (in a good way) and act as a better coating than something that remains oily (we’ll see).

Rich Whittling

The name of this blog is Whittlin’ Rich yet I haven’t done a lot of whittling. Yes I’ve whittled wood before, but not much. So for whatever reason, I recently took up whittling as a hobby. Here’s a picture displaying my many small projects and the primary tools I’ve been using.

I use basswood since it’s the recommended wood-of-choice for carving. For knives, I use a Morakniv 120 and 122, a BeaverCraft C1M and C2 as well as the tiny C15 — and of course there’s my strop with some polishing compound rubbed into the leather. To carve effectively, you need to strop your blades at the end of each whittlin’ day, in my opinion.

Just to provide some textual detail as to what’s in the picture: there’s a bunch of faces, some full-body figurines made from 1″x 1″ x 6″ blocks (not shown: one of the figurines has another figurine on its back), a small spoon, a carved-out box, my name carved into a block, a minature dumbbell, a wooden knife, an anvil and hammer, a sword, a sword’s handle, and a pine tree. Nothing’s officially “done” since I might go back to add details over time.

It’s been an enjoyable pastime over the last 10 weeks. Lately I’ve been using it as a meditation of sorts, as a way to keep an eye on my thoughts. While whittling, my mind tends to drift down random tangents about whatever so I’m trying to remove focus from those thoughts and remain focused on right-now i.e. whittling.

O Christmas Tree

Starting with a piece of 2 1/2 inch wide by 3/4 inch thick wood, I sawed out a basic triangle and a trunk. Then the whittlin’ began, just hackin’ away until a pine tree appeared. A rasp and file helped too. The saw was also used to trim out some outer branches. And once the woodworking was done, paint was applied. A couple different greens for shading and a couple browns too. Finally, a bit of white paint was added for a touch of snow.

A small amount of work for a decorative little item, standing at 3 1/2 inches tall. And as a bonus, the organic nature of the subject-matter makes mistakes of little concern.

Christmas Pyramid

My wife was at HomeGoods the other day and sent me a picture of a candle-powered spinny thing. I thought it was neat and wanted to see if I could create such a thing myself. According to my research, it’s actually called a Christmas Pyramid.

After a failed first attempt, I added more fins, shortened the spindle, and turned up the heat, using a total of 8 candles — and voila, it actually spun! Here’s a gif of the spinning action and a video’s included at the end.

Christmas Pyramid
Christmas Pyramid Prototype

This is only a prototype and includes no adornments. To go from here, I’d widen the spindle support structure and add a wheel-shape to the bottom, on which I’d place decorative figurines. We’ll see if that actually happens though.

The fins were formed from a thin basswood left over from a craft project. They’re attached with custom-carved holders that are inserted into a custom-carved octagon-shaped spindle-topper. The spindle itself is a pointed oak dowel that turns with suprisingly little friction within its wood-based support.

Tool usage primarily entailed measuring, sawing, chiseling, whittling, drilling, filing, and sanding. It was a pretty tedious process making the 8 fins and their associated tinker-toy style holders. But that style of holder does allow me to rotate the fins to whatever angle-of-attack I want.

It was only a couple of days in the shop to make and a pretty neat accomplishment. When I saw it just sitting still with 4 candles I was a bit disappointed, I even raised them to the point of slightly burning some of the wood — but then with the addition of 4 more candles — Ha! The thrill of victory!