Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mobius carvings

I've been salvaging old douglas fir beams from building demolitions for carving. Douglas fir takes on this wonderful texture when it gets old: it becomes more consistent, less difference in hardness between the rings, and it's easier to carve across the grain than new fir. With a sharp chisel, you can make big, bold cuts. Very satisfying. These two mobius carvings were early projects from reclaimed fir.

First attempt -- about 6" 

It was a bit tough to visualize how the surfaces wrapped around the shape, so I started with models. First, I made a donut from modeling clay, drew the corners as they wrapped around the shape, and then scraped a flat plane between the lines. Next, I built a series of models in Sketchup -- a bit laborious, but it helped a lot to see what needed to be done.

To make the small mobius, I started with a donut with a round cross-section, traced the corners as they wrapped around the part and carved a flat surface between the lines, being careful to measure the flats  radially. The larger one was harder: I made it in two halves, doweled together. The majority of the shaping was performed on each half separately, then the finish work was done with the part glued together.