Last July I was introduced to whittling - a craft which I was somewhat apprehensive of. Especially as it involved using an electric saw to cut out the basic shape. I came away with a stick of lime wood. It was put on the kitchen side, gathered dust, was moved around quite a lot over the months and never got used. Because I don't have an electric saw and although Brian next door gave me a little coping saw, my history of hand cutting wood is not one upon which I wish to dwell.
However, when I was back in the Cotswolds, running my last workshop, I stayed with some old and dear friends, one of whom is an antiques restorer. And he has tools. And a big electric cutting saw thing. I had brought my stick with me, in the hopes that he would help me cut some whittling shapes out.
And bless him, he did. We went to his workshop, which is just a little paradise.
Full of jobs in progress and treasures he has collected over the years.
Not to mention an immaculately tidy workbench. I do like a good work bench.
As it happened, I didn't have to get to grips with the large band saw, for which I was grateful.
He kindly cut out all my little chickens for me. Yes, they are all the same shape; my theory is, that if I practise on the same thing a few times, I may eventually learn something. And yes, to answer another question, they ARE chickens. Really.
I have finally started one off, with the nice and ever so ouch-sharp Swedish whittling knife which Joe bought me for my last birthday. I can't say as my skills have matured since my last attempt, but let's celebrate the lows with the highs.
If I sound a little defensive about them being chickens, it may be because 'someone' (Joe) said they look like almonds. Or livers. I think they are patently chickens. Because look;
Many fat chickens do look somewhat almond shaped, do they not?
Well I think so anyway. I'm sure once I've got the eyes on, it will (sort of) resemble one of these. Or maybe not. Wood carving is not something which comes naturally to me, and yet I feel strangely drawn to persevere with it. Because I love using tools and more importantly, I won't be beat.