I just finished carving a major wall piece. Here's a photo journal of the process that I think you may enjoy.
The process begins with sourcing some logs from a downed tree. In this case it is a cottonwood that was taken down for a road improvement project about 3/4 of a mile North of my studio.
I was able to cut quite a few slabs from these trees. There are many times that I'm not nearly as fortunate. Often there are only a couple of pieces that meet my requirements out of any given tree. Now it's a matter of deciding just what will become of them.
After selecting three blanks for carving they must remain covered with plastic sheeting to prevent them from shrinking/cracking before they are carved. In this present "wet" state each slab weighs about 150#.
The blanks are now trimmed, squared, and sequenced.
The orientation and proposed forms have been marked onto the slabs. The pieces are ready for carving.
This is what about 300# of wet wood chips looks like. I have carved away nearly 100# of material per slab to reveal the desired form and relieve the backs.
The panels are now carved and about to get closed into my dehumidification chamber for drying. Nothing to do now but wait, kind of like watching paint dry or waiting for water to boil.
After drying I refine the carving, sand, oil, and wax the panels. At this point they are ready to be mounted on their steel backs.
The mild steel backs are cleaned and prepared for the application of a patina which will yield a dark mottled appearance that brings some great visual contrast to the triptych.
Here you are able to see the patina that I have applied to the steel backs. I am now burning in a blacksmith's wax to protect the backs from oxidation and the elements.
I'm a contemporary wood sculptor living and working in rural Minnesota. I gather my logs locally and travel the country selling what I make from them.