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  • Large Stump, Still in ground

    The stump in the picture is nearly 220cm and was cut 12 months ago. I believe the tree is an Ash, Anyone know if this is a good candidate for carving? We love the idea of commissioning an artist but I had the following concerns:

    1) An acquaintance mentioned he through ash would dry and crack heavily.

    2) Will this continue to grow, 12 months on and the bark shows no signs of separating. But also no new offshoots.

    3) Should we strip off the bark and rub down the tree in advance of any carving or is it better to leave it as is till the carving is about to begin.

    4) Is it feasible for a novice to strip the bark, sand and/or chisel to soften and accentuate the natural shape? Or will it simply turn manky in the rain and damp in a short time? We are in the Northwest of England, so plenty of rain :-)

    In short, we would love to make a feature of this stump but are unsure how feasible that is, we are quite happy spending good money to commission work if it has a chance of lasting fairly well over the longer-term (at least 10 years). Any advice or ideas welcome.
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  • #2
    Originally posted by jollydays View Post
    The stump in the picture is nearly 220cm and was cut 12 months ago. I believe the tree is an Ash, Anyone know if this is a good candidate for carving? We love the idea of commissioning an artist but I had the following concerns:

    1) An acquaintance mentioned he through ash would dry and crack heavily.

    >>All wood cracks when drying and working it will produce more openings.

    2) Will this continue to grow, 12 months on and the bark shows no signs of separating. But also no new offshoots.

    >> If at this 12 months and no new shoots I don't think it will continue to grow.

    3) Should we strip off the bark and rub down the tree in advance of any carving or is it better to leave it as is till the carving is about to begin.

    >>I think I would wait till ready,, BUT Green bark is easier to get off and a year has past so you are up to natures own on the dry bark, others may say so here.

    4) Is it feasible for a novice to strip the bark, sand and/or chisel to soften and accentuate the natural shape? Or will it simply turn manky in the rain and damp in a short time? We are in the Northwest of England, so plenty of rain :-)

    >>I would have, if I was going to carve it, sealed the top, (ie) the makny part on top down, you may have to top it or really check the top to see if rot has started as I would suspect, in your area. Take a sharp pointed something and stick it into the top all over to see about the punky part/ pithyness? It may be several inches deep.

    In short, we would love to make a feature of this stump but are unsure how feasible that is, we are quite happy spending good money to commission work if it has a chance of lasting fairly well over the longer-term (at least 10 years). Any advice or ideas welcome.
    Good luck in your venture and Thanks for sharing

    Chuck In Eastern Washington St.
    Chuck
    Always hoping for a nice slice that won't need sanding!

    https://woodensmallthings.blogspot.com/2021/01/

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    • #3
      Since this wood is "attached" to the ground, any potential carver would have to live nearby or move in with you for the duration of the project. Are you ready for that? Be sure to check their past work.

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      • #4
        I am not a chain saw carver, but it sounds like you have given this a lot of thought. If there are any chain saw carvings in your area, maybe you could inquire who did them. Or see if there is a carving club local that could give you a name of a carver. I wouldn't worry about doing anything to the stump until you have talked with some one who does this sort of thing. It is a beautiful stump and I can see why you want it carved.

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        • #5
          The root system has likely died. It will begin to decay and that decay can and will travel up into the log (as I will call it.) Action= get it out of the ground. You can take it to the carver's shop to be worked on. Regular pressure washer is good for blasting the dirt out of the root cluster.

          The log and the root stumps are easier to work for carving all around as I presume that's what you want. Totem poles are normally carved to be seen only from one side, the visitors side. Pick one.

          Get it out of the weather, outdoors is fine. Get a draw knife and strip the bark. The dying living layer just under the bark is the most edible and attractive part of any tree to the bugs (we have 18,000,000 hectares of dead pine in BC alone to offer as proof.)

          Doesn't matter if the bark is tight, get it off. That way you can inspect the log for borer damage as well.
          = = = =
          Outdoor wood carvings of any size take a beating from the weather. Here in the very wet Pacific Northwest of Canada, the Western Red Cedar totem poles rarely last more than a century, no matter how they were painted.
          They fall down, they die. Like people do. And like people, they never get stood up again.
          My biggest pole, carved by my brother, fell down maybe 10 years ago. It's still lying there.

          I think it's wise to consider this as a monument, the subject is all yours.
          Brian T

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          • #6
            Ash is not a particularly good as a out door wood. It is not insect resistant and prone to decay. Especaly if left in the ground. Cutting it at the base and putting it on a drainable surface and annual finishing with a good out door oil finish would be you best chance for long term preservation.
            We live in the land of the free because of the brave!
            https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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            • #7
              The worst thing about outdoor statues of wood must have yearly maintenance work sun, rain, and bugs are an issue. I seen tons of great work destroyed in a short time due to the fact it was not taken care of.

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              • #8
                I have been asked more than once to carve a stump.

                If the stump was in the ground for more than a year, after the living and healthy tree was cut down, the wood was inevitably already getting rotten.

                Leaving a carved stump in the ground, especially in your climate, will result in huge deterioration in just a few years.

                As others have said, cut the stump off, and determine if the wood is sound enough to proceed, and then carve it, and mount it with good drainage - not directly on the bare ground. Annual maintenance is essential.

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