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#@^%*&#! Red Cedar - You Either Love it Or Hate It!

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  • #@^%*&#! Red Cedar - You Either Love it Or Hate It!

    Two weeks or so ago at our annual show I purchased the book "Carving a Closet Buddy" by David Hummel from Mac Profitt from Smoky Mountain Wood Carvers who came down to attend the Suncoast Woodcarvers Show in Seminole, Florida. My reason for buying the book is that I make a lot of woodspirit canes and I thought that this book would augment the book that I had bought previously from him by Skylar Johnson, "How To Carve A Woodspirit In A Hiking Stick." Actually, I've found the "Closet Buddy" book much more carver friendly. The photos are larger, clearer, and easier to determine detail and depth. I even like the instructions better. It takes me for ever to get something permanently engrained in my head so it's important to have good reference material at hand. So, between the two of them there is now no excuse whatsoever for my not being able to at least aproximate a face.....or at least I hope that's the case!

    Unfortunately, I can not say the same for my photography so please excuse.

    This weekend it's been in the low 60's and cold and damp which for most of our northern members would be considered a fine summer day but for us Florida flat landers is a miserable winter day. With outside activities curtailed I set about carving my wife a "closet buddy" out of some scrap red cedar that I had brought back from Tennessee. I've got quite a few large chun1ks but with out a band saw I have to split it up the old fashion way and "maul" it to death!

    This little guy's about 1.5x1.5x7 and mostly heart wood. He's pretty odiferous and should do real well in the closet. As soon as I can get some more cedar split up I'll try to give him some brothers and cousins!

    For those who are always asking about carving red cedar it's very unforgiving. It takes total concentration and the moment that you get careless and think that you have it licked it will split and chip on you in a heart beat! It's very, very soft but with sharp tools gives great detail.

  • #2
    Re: #@^%*&#! Red Cedar - You Either Love it Or Hate It!

    Carve cedar green it carves like butter you will love it.
    Jim - The Doing is as much fun as the Viewing!
    Jackson, MS


    • #3
      Re: #@^%*&#! Red Cedar - You Either Love it Or Hate It!

      Eddy, that is a nice closet buddy. I have a good size cedar log I want to carve a woodspirit. After reading your post I think I'll use my power carver. LOL


      • #4
        Re: #@^%*&#! Red Cedar - You Either Love it Or Hate It!

        Eddy, red cedar is a wonderful smell. It is great looking as a carving......when you finally get one done without it splitting. Colin, I have never carved it green, worry too much about checking and splitting (it will still do this when pretty dry). Kathy, the only way for me to carve cedar is with power. Then it's not too bad. One side effect of power carving red cedar is that you get to see how much dust escapes your filtration system. The fine red dust deposited all over my carving room made me take a hard look at the things I put, or leave, in there. It also adds emphasis to the need to wear a mask with power carving.

        This is a carving I did in red cedar. It started out to be realistic but as I worked up the clay model, I dug in too far. But realized that I liked the way the eye sockets made the piece look. I remembered the old belief that an owl calling at night can be an announcement of death. So I bent the "horns" back, wiped out the feet so that it looks more like it is rising out of the ground, eliminated the feathering, and called the piece "The Night Messenger".

        This was a piece of dry cedar. But, a split is visible in the knot area of the swept back wing. Unfortunately, I did the final sanding with a very high grit sandpaper and the smoothness encourages people to pick it up and run their hands over it. There are a couple of fine cracks that are not seen unless someone is holding the carving. I hope that it is finally stable.


        • #5
          Re: #@^%*&#! Red Cedar - You Either Love it Or Hate It!


          Same thing happened on this woodspirit in a red cedar log. Everything was going great until I hit the heart wood and my burr grabbed and before I knew it I'd gone much deeper than I intended on the eyes. As you can see the wood was very dry and brittle and the entire log was riddled with cracks and splits.