Here are a couple of photos of the piece of cottonwood bark before I take a blade to it.
I will try to preserve as much of the white surface color as I can, but I’ll have to carve down to where the bark is most stable. The outer bark is VERY soft and can flake easily.
The back is very uneven. The first thing I’ll do is clean the back and get it relatively level. I use very little power, so this will all be done with gouges and knives.

The front.  This particular piece may be lighter than most...but the grain is always very pretty.

The front. This particular piece may be lighter than most…but the grain is always very pretty.

This is the back. It'll be flattened to lie flat against a wall

This is the back. It’ll be flattened to lie flat against a wall

I had some time during my class tonight to work on the wood spirit. So here is an update πŸ™‚ He now has a nose and his eye placement. This can all change during the carving process. The back has been smoothed out πŸ™‚

I see the beginnings of a face :)

3-19-15 I sure made a mess today! I decided to take more off the back of the bark for a couple of reasons. There were some punky spots of inner bark, with a few channels full of stringy stuff and dust. I’d prefer to get rid of that so Larry and Robin will not have to deal with that dust. Removing more from the back also made the piece a lot lighter. Check out that mess! πŸ™‚

Lots of bark chips!!!

Lots of bark chips!!!

This is what the back of the piece looks like now. Much more presentable πŸ™‚

The back looks a whole lot nicer now!
The back looks a whole lot nicer now!

And I did get some more done on the face today, too. He is moving right along!

Moving along!

Moving along!

3-26-15 I’ve started texturing the beard and moustache and the heart is there now. Getting there! πŸ™‚

Adding detail.

More hair detail. What do you think…another heart at the top????

More hair and beard detail

3-28-15 I added another heart. It just looked like it needed it πŸ™‚ The carving is almost finished…just a little cleaning up. I usually finish with Danish oil and paste wax…thinking of using polyurethane instead. With wax there is some maintenance…not a big deal, but poly is pretty much maintenance free. I do like the wax finish best, though. Decisions πŸ™‚

Almost finished!

3-29-15 Carving is finished and Natural Danish Oil applied. As the oil dries it will sink into the wood and the shine will fade. The color will also lighten a bit but will darken when it is waxed. Tomorrow I’ll apply several coats of paste wax.


Finished and ready to go to his new home