Tamara Applies Her Artistic Talents to Yet Another Medium - Wood Carving

We have four eucalypto posts on the outside of our home here in Costa Rica. Last year, we enlisted the help of a local wood carver who does astounding work to carve one of them. It took him two long days to finish the carving and a couple of days for us to sand and finish it. This year, we wanted to continue with the 3 posts on the back patio, but he was unavailable due to long-term health issues.

Tamara trying to wood carve with a Dremel tool
Suited up for battle
So, as she has done before, Tamara took up the challenge to learn a new art medium and carved them herself.

Having never carved any wood before in her life. 

Unfortunately, all she had at hand were some of those dollar store, cheap Chinese carving tools, which would never be up to the task even if you could adequately sharpen them. They stayed sharp about as long as it takes the driver behind you to honk when the light turns green.

I offered her my Dremel tool, however, and we bought some good quality bits downtown. She was off to the races! It was dusty, tedious work though and progress was excruciatingly slow.

After a couple of days of constant, ear-splitting whining and worrying that the Dremel would implode into a ball of sparks, smoke and flame, I hunted down a quality set of 4 carving chisels online and had them shipped down in about two weeks. 

These aren't Swiss blades, but they certainly keep a nice edge. They come with a multi-shaped strop and sharpening compound as well, so she always had an edge that made the eucalypto mimic room temperature butter.

She molded that post off and on for about a month, guided by a wonderful set of carving videos on YouTube. Eventually, she developed the "feel" for what she was doing, which is always a clear sign that you've learned something. When she was satisfied with the carving, I gave it the burn/sealer/stain/varnish treatment and the end result is below.

Composite of photos of eucalypto post carving
The finished eucalypto post carving

Close-up of indigenous person face in carving
Details of Indigena Face
Close-up of butterfly in eucalypto wood carving
Mariposa in side knot of the post
We've already cleared the other two posts of bark and she's made the base drawings, but other work projects are taking up much of her spare time, so it will be a while until they are done.

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