3 Important Things to Consider when Working with Wood

When I first got my Dremel my mom requested that I make her a sign for her family property. A sign is a perfect beginner’s project. I immediately found a nice solid piece of wood in my scrap pile and got to work.

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I had so much fun that I got excited and wanted to start working on something more complex. That’s when I got the idea for the Tiger wood project. I searched Google images for cool wood carvings and engravings of tigers for inspiration. (Now my project reminds me of the golfer, Tiger Woods, thank you Google.)

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I’m a Newbie

In high school I took a technical systems class that included wood shop. I made a bookshelf that I still use today. I also spent a lot of time in the wood shop in college making frames and shipping crates. Other than that, I am new to the woodworking world. I want to share some important things I have learned so far that I hope will help you before you begin your wood projects.

1. Type of Wood –

Pay close attention to the type of wood you’re using for the type of project you’re doing. When I chose my piece of wood I didn’t notice that it was a plywood. My sign project is made from a solid piece of wood which is what I had in mind for my tiger project. So, it’s very important to pay attention to the type of wood you’re using. I’m sure I can make the plywood work though, so no biggie.

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2. Characteristics of Wood –

Another problem I ran into was the hardness and softness of the wood. I was in the carving zone, and I got so used to working on the harder spots that when I hit the softer spots my Dremel suddenly ran away from me. Some spots were so hard that I could barely drill into it. I’m glad I didn’t ruin my artwork, but I could have. In the picture below I’m working on a very hard spot which is the sky, the part of the image that is furthest away.

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Be aware of the grain and knots too. Understanding the characteristics of wood is an important thing to remember for any wood project, so that your final artwork is made with craftsmanship you can be proud of.

3. The Blueprint of your Design –

I sketched my tiger, water, bubbles, and mountain directly onto the wood. I could have drawn my sketch on paper and carved through it, but that seemed awkward. As I carved my drawing disappeared. I had to imagine my image which requires a lot of extra brain work. You also run the risk of taking away too much wood, like I did on the image below. I carved away some of his body right underneath his ear. dsc_0024-4

I’m probably going to have to carve away more wood in that spot anyway since it’s further in the distance. Wood filler could also be used. Below is a picture of my progress so far. I still have a lot to do on both the tiger picture and the property sign.

I hope this information helps and If I learn anything else, I’ll be sure to share. If you have any woodworking wisdom or artwork you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you.

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