How do you make a piece of wood longer? It is a question I was asked the other day, and the answer is simple, you make it into a carved wooden chain. Stick with me and you will see how.
It is an exercise I haven’t tried before and so I began it during a wood carving weekend with the help of a very good teacher.
As with many things I do, I wanted it to be big. This meant starting off with a piece of spalted beech about 10cm square and 60 cm long. This is a close grained hard wood, difficult to carve but with a lovely finish when done. What I wanted to produce was a 4 link chain, started with a simple loop and finished with a hook.
The process begins by cutting the wood into a cross shape. If you think about looking at a chain end on, with the links at right angles to each other, then you will see the shape needed.
The next stage is to mark out the chain pieces as they cross each other. The most important thing at this point is to make sure that you have left enough space between the drawn links to get a chisel in between. This allows you to cut out the wood to free the links from each other. Hopefully the above pictures help explain.
Now comes the easiest part. Cutting away the waste material. Providing you can see the final chain outline in your mind, and have drawn it clearly, then it is a simple process to cut away the waste. Hopefully you can see the chain shape appearing.
At this point you have to start clearing out the material from within the loops of the chain shape. The first bits can be drilled out.
After that it is back to the chisels. The most difficult part is removing the wood from inside the loops, taking care whilst shaping one area to not remove wood needed by a neighbouring link.
Part 2 to follow soon