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-  The Carving Process  -

"Raven's Nest" - Cherry Pedestal Bowl
by Steve Schmeck

For quite a while I have wanted to do a more sculptural work. I took 
a trip through my old sketch books and came across several repeating 
themes including 'A Bowl on a Pedestal'. On the left is the resulting 
design sketch for this bowl. On the right is the finished bowl.



 The Carving


... and it all started with a 50 pound black cherry log ...

Above: I've  had this piece of cherry around for several years and used an adjoining log section for the bowl "Cherry Lace" which was just completed. You'd never know there is a sculpture hidden in there. 3/31/2005.


I've laid out the basic shape and am working the form down to the lines drawn on the piece. Here you can see one of the wonders of nature one is likely to find in the center of a log.

Here is a close up view of the end of a branch that died many years ago - kind of where I thought the bottom of the bowl should be. Adjustment time. The bottom of the bowl just moved north an inch. 4/2/2005


The bowl shape is beginning to emerge. No the piece hasn't acquired a navel, that hole gives me someplace to carve into with a bent spoon gouge. You can see the system I'm using to secure the sculpture during this stage of relatively heavy gouge work.

Here's a shot of the ol' woodcarving guy hard at work. Just looking at him you'd never guess he's been working with wood for over 50 years ... or maybe you would. In the background you can see part of the rack that keeps my gouges safe and handy. 4/3/2005


A bit more refined, though it still weighs in at around nine pounds. You may wonder why I seem to mention the weight of a bowl so often. Other than a slight reduction in size and the change in form, the most noticeable change during the craving process is the reduction in weight. As a piece loses mass you become much more aware of the impact of tools as well  as clamping pressures. Near the end of the process this bowl will be quite fragile, relatively, and will need to be handled with some degree of care. 4/6/2005


Coming along now but a lot of rough shaping to do yet an the pedestal section. The inset barely shows the current status of the pedestal/bowl connection. The design is for the tip of each leg to pass through a hole in the bowl just below the rim. The bowl will be suspended loosely on these three projections. I've left a thumb-tip sized bit of wood on the inside from which to carve a  small retaining knob on the inside. 4/14/2005


Update: 2/5/2006
Those of you who have been monitoring this page may go into shock but I'm actually back at work on this bowl! I have pierced the bowl at all three suspension points and it is coming along fine. One problem with leaving it so long in the half-finished state is that the cherry wood has done its natural thing and darkened quite a bit. Areas that I'm working on show up lighter so when I am done, which shouldn't be too long, I'll have to set the bowl in the sun every chance I get to let its color even out. Other than the fact that it would be a lot easier to work on it the bowl came off the pedestal, it is working well. Lots and lots of sanding and finishing yet to go.

This bowl was completed mid-March 2006 and After being
shown in a local exhibit is now in a private collection.

< Click to see the finished bowl

    Updated 02/15/2022