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Relief Carving

Oxalis xOmel from photograph
Oxalis xOmel from photograph

In late 2013 I began to play with relief carving through Mary May’s wonderful online lessons. I do not foresee adding carvings to my furniture designs, however it is fun and adds depth to understanding cutting tools and techniques.

When the rains (hopefully) and short daylight hours of winter hit the driveway workshop, carving is an activity I can enjoy in my office where I have a small bench.

Mary has well over 100 projects with a new project added each week ranging from simple exercises to very complex. I bounced around the lessons, selecting those that were visually compelling or laid a foundation for those that caught my eye.

Here are some images from those early lessons and a few that were of my own conception.



Tom’s Dresser – Side Assemblies

Side assemblies
Side assemblies

Side panels are attached to legs to form the dresser sides. Interior surfaces are flush to accommodate drawer web frames. There is an approximate 1/8 inch reveal on outer surfaces [from legs to side panels]. Lots of long grain surface, so three floating tenons are mostly to aid alignment during glue up.

Today I did a dry fit and began to plan and mark up joinery for case top and bottom to the side assemblies. I’ll be using half blind dovetails for top and stopped sliding dovetail at the base to create the base.

Tom’s Dresser project begins

I’ve begun to build a dresser of Mahogany and Poplar. The sad aspect is that it shall live in a small, dark closet unseen by its adoring public or even very often by my own eyes. I haven’t built a case piece in a while so I will be savoring this process. Which is one way of saying, “I’ll be moving slowly.”

Mahogany from Hardwood To Go
Mahogany from Hardwood To Go

I sourced some nice Mahogany from Shannon Roger’s Hardwood To Go; three 5/4 by 8 inch wide boards along with two 12/4 [3 x 3] Leg Blanks.

I also ordered old-growth, Belize river-salvaged Mahogany from Greener Lumber LLC to be used for drawer fronts and the top. Those three boards are all from log 282. I have used material from Rich (owner/operator) on a number of fun projects.

Poplar for interior components was sourced from Tom at Soboba Hardwoods [15 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara], my favorite local dealer.