When a friend asked me to carve this short line from Saying 77 of the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, I spent a lot of time thinking. There were a lot of decisions to make, from choosing among various translations to the setting for the inscription. In the end, I used this cleft chunk of walnut and carved the letters into the bookmatched faces. For a sense of scale, the uprights are about ten inches high.
It was a bit of challenge carving into the undulating riven surface, but it worked out. The backsides are split surfaces as well, so with nothing flat it was good to hold the piece in one hand and cut with the knife in the other. A gouge also came in handy here and there.
To get the pieces to sit perfectly flat was a matter of hand sawing, then planing the end grain with a finely set block plane. This was done while the pieces were sandwiched together. My friend wanted them to be able to go back together on occasion, rather than be permanently fixed to the base. Although the pieces would stand up on their own, I made things more secure with a series of rare earth (neodymium) magnets inset into the bottom of the uprights and matched their locations with magnets fit into the base from beneath, leaving an 1/8″ or so of wood above them. Once close, the uprights are pulled into their proper positions. They remain steady, but can still easily be removed from the base.