At least that’s the way I see a design like this — draping like a necklace around the rim. l like how the facets of the recesses catch the light and shadows in different ways. I’ve done several versions; one of them can be seen in the lead photo of my blog as a whole. That version is simpler to layout and cut thanks to it’s parallel border, smaller chips, and straight cuts (as compared to this variation that I carved again today with larger, curved recesses that gradually diminish in size).
Careful slicing with a drawknife leaves the upper surface of the handles cut clean and very subtly faceted.
On these dry finished surfaces, I use a soft pencil (not water soluble), so that the wood is not indented and the graphite can be erased with a good non-abrasive eraser. I just sketch on the outline by eye, using my little finger as a sort of pivot point to help with control.
Recesses this large (about 3/4″ across) can’t be excavated in one chunk. I remove much of the bulk with a v-tool and chisel…
…then finish things off with careful curving slices of a skew chisel. (My little work light casts an odd yellowish hue.)
The long recesses along the sides start with a v-tool, but get cleaned up and trimmed with a knife. Take your time.
The carving gouge provides some size perspective; roughly 24″ x 14″. Ready for oil.