Before-and-After Dragon

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I’ve completed the carving on one of the cherry dragon ale bowls I roughed out a month ago, and thought I’d share a few photos to contrast the piece after the final carving with its unfinished twin.  The same ideas carry over to other bowl designs as well.

In the photo above, the rough cuts left from the green carving stage are evident in the dragon in the foreground, as well as the darker color that develops through oxidation as the piece dries.  The cuts of the dry carving stage reveal a fresh surface, the color of which will deepen with the application of oil, time and sunlight to a rich reddish brown.

In the photos below, you can see various surface and form refinements as well as added details such as the teeth.  The wood is significantly harder after drying, so I remove as much as I can while it’s green.  The dry wood responds with crisp cuts and a burnished surface.

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Cherry dragon ale bowl roughed green, waiting for finish carving.

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Cherry dragon ale bowl after finish carving, waiting for oil — and ale.

 

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Spokeshave marks on the left, gouge texture on the right.

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View from above. I’m even more diligent to remove all I can in the hollow when green, leaving just a light surface carving in there after drying.

It’s 13 1/2 inches long and will hold 24 ounces.  Now to oil it and get it on its way to a very patient and thirsty person.

 

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22 Responses to Before-and-After Dragon

  1. Scott Thomas says:

    I checked my mail and what do I find? Another example of your outstanding work. Even though I don’t partake in ale, this bowl is a wonderful sample of a true gift that I think few really have. Great job Dave. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  2. ouidavincent says:

    I am enjoying watching this process!

    Like

  3. Bob Easton says:

    THANKS immensely for the before and after photos! Very inspiring.
    I would heap on more praise, but my gouges are calling.

    Like

  4. Philip Green says:

    Hi David

    I went on a bowl carving course in London this spring. During the initial introductions, I mentioned your work and implied that that was the kind of carving that i aspired to. I could see the instructor visibly shudder at the extent of my ambition. What I actually meant was that I agree with your approach of an amalgam of fairly precise layout and measurement with the feeling-based craftwork.

    I am currently awaiting delivery of a Hans Karlsson 35 mm adze and 205 mm draw knife. I would say an attempt at an ale bow is probably about two years down the road. Do you have any blogs or videos (including Fine Woodworking) that describes the carving of an ale bowl? I have watched you bowl carving video on Fine Wood Working several times.

    Finally, any chance of a book or two?

    Regards

    Philip

    Like

    • Joe says:

      You are not alone. Right now I’ve been very focused on joinery work via Paul Sellers for woodworking. The other kind of woodworking I really want to do is like what I see David do.

      Like

  5. Dave Fisher says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Philip. Other than the several blog posts I’ve written about ale bowls, I haven’t written any articles or made any videos about them. It’s probably time that I created something more complete and organized along those lines. Perhaps it could be part of a book, but you’re getting way ahead of me by suggesting two! I’ll do my best 🙂

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    • Philip Green says:

      Just let me know when you have written the first sentence and I will pre-order a copy.

      My adze and draw knife arrived yesterday. it was sheer pleasure to try out the knife on a branch. Now to build a spoon mule (bowl version to follow).

      Philip

      Like

  6. cynthamum says:

    You are taunting me 🙂 I am saving my $.

    On Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 10:07 AM David Fisher, Carving Explorations wrote:

    > Dave Fisher posted: ” I’ve completed the carving on one of the cherry > dragon ale bowls I roughed out a month ago, and thought I’d share a few > photos to contrast the piece after the final carving with its unfinished > twin. The same ideas carry over to other bowl designs as we” >

    Like

  7. cynthamum says:

    I guess taunting is not the right word. Taunting in a nice way is what I meant.

    Ever word I’ve checked to mean the opposite don’t sound nice either.

    Like

  8. Joe says:

    Simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing. This is the kind of useable art I like in my home. Out of curiosity, what oil do you prefer to use on something like this?

    Like

    • Dave Fisher says:

      I’ll use flax seed (cold pressed linseed) oil. Slather a bunch on and let it soak in. Do that a couple times. Then I’ll follow with an application or two of a linseed oil and beeswax blend. You could also use tung oil or walnut oil. Heat helps the oil to cure much faster. This page from my website has some more information along these lines. http://davidffisher.com/usecare

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      • Philip Green says:

        Have you ever used mineral oil (liquid paraffin in the UK and Ireland)? I know that Glen Lucas the bowl turner finishes all of his utility ash bowls in liquid paraffin. I think I read that some prefer it to flax seed oil due to its low aroma.

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  9. Dave Fisher says:

    I have tried mineral oil, Philip. It’s easy to use and there’s no cure time, because it doesn’t cure at all. However, in my experience it protects the wood far less well over time than the drying oils like flax, walnut, or tung. This becomes especially evident on wooden spoons that get a lot of hard use. And I like the scent of flax seed oil. Still, I don’t want that interfering with the taste of food, but it doesn’t after it has cured, especially after a couple uses. A mineral oil/beeswax blend may not be a bad choice for maintenance if one prefers, but I still think the initial treatment should be one of the drying oils.

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    • Philip Green says:

      David, I’m delighted with your confirmation of my suspicions. I am also a fan of the aroma of flax seed (linseed) oil as it evokes memories of the kaleidoscope of smells from my childhood that were to be found in small local hardware stores. In addition, again from my childhood, I have memories of liquid paraffin being used as an inexpensive laxative.

      Like

  10. Jed Dillard says:

    I have a 5″ Flexcut drawknife Do I need something bigger or heavier? Looking forward to the workshop and acquiring some of your magic

    On Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 1:07 PM David Fisher, Carving Explorations wrote:

    > Dave Fisher posted: ” I’ve completed the carving on one of the cherry > dragon ale bowls I roughed out a month ago, and thought I’d share a few > photos to contrast the piece after the final carving with its unfinished > twin. The same ideas carry over to other bowl designs as we” >

    Like

  11. Dave Fisher says:

    That Flexcut drawknife should do the trick, Jed. Especially if we design for what it can do.

    Like

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