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Bust Update From Ancient Oak

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  • Bust Update From Ancient Oak

    I finished the face portion of the life-size bust of my son today, and had a real hard time with the eyes. I have two progress pictures below.

    The eyes had to be burned-in because there was a dark grain running through the right eye that made it look terribly unbalanced. I burned the lashes on the top and bottom lids and the eyebrows, as well. I was not pleased with the result at all, but my wife and both sons liked it much better this way. This is the first time I have ever burned wood with an iron, and a soldering one at that: it was all I had.

    There are so many angles present in the face that do not show well in the photos. I believe the finish coats will darken the grain, and the features will become more prominent. I have included a picture of my son for comparison.

    I still have to finish the ears, hair, and neck. I am pushed to knock this thing out and seal it ASAP before it cracks in half!

  • #2
    Re: Bust Update From Ancient Oak

    I believe that your bust is coming along just great. There are more knowledgable bust carvers here that can critique the fine points, but I'd say it's well balanced, the eyes, nose and mouth look great and over all is symetrical and well proportioned. Looking forward to seeing the next stages completed. Great job.

    Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.


    • #3
      Re: Bust Update From Ancient Oak

      Lookin real good (the carving and the lad). Oak is not the easiest wood to work with. The oaks grain adds an interesting touch. Tom H


      • #4
        Re: Bust Update From Ancient Oak

        I like it , doing well .


        • #5
          Re: Bust Update From Ancient Oak

          That's a beautiful piece. So far above my level I don't know what to say.

          I understand the frustration in having to use the burning. I always prefer to have the natural wood grain work in a piece rather than have to force it by adding something, but it doesn't always go that way.

          My question - what is Ancient Oak? I've tried some carving in American white oak, but I don't think it would be possible to do what you are doing there. Perhaps it's still skill I need to learn.



          • #6
            Re: Bust Update From Ancient Oak


            "Ancient Oak" is a misnomer that I coined to describe this 75(?) year old oak that I scavenged froom the intersection of Snows Cut and the Cape Fear River near Carolina Beach, NC. The piece used for this bust is just ordinary Oak.

            Worked on the sculpture for nine hours on Sunday. I had to "bust" my behind on it to get the eyes done before a large crack made it's way into the eye cavity on the left side of the face. I also had to burn the eyes because there was a dark grain that unbalanced the right eye. I decided to go ahead and blacken the lashes and brows as well. I prefer to carve all of the features, but in this case I had no choice.

            I wanted a sculpture, and not a life-sized doll head, but sometimes we have to try something different, or scrap either the piece or the sensibilities. The original post now includes a picture of my son for comparison...