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I acquired a cross-section of a tree earlier this year. The woman who owns it wanted me to carve it into something special. It will be a relief (one-sided) sculpture for hanging on a wall or propping on a bookshelf.

I've never carved wood into sculpture before, but I've used gouges extensively while making linocuts.
Here is the documentation of my work-in-progress.

Equipment by Step:

Planning:
1) Log cross-section, any size
2) Imagination & sketching tools

Sanding:
1) Orbital Sander
2) Sandpaper, 60-220 grit

Transfer the Design:
1) Light-colored marking tool (anything that's visible on the wood)

Carving the Design:
1) Assorted wood carving tools (harbor freight has a $5 set)

Finishing & Hanging
1) Mineral Oil
2) Hanging components (specifics are coming)




Step 1: Dream Up a Design

The silhouette of this cross-section looks like a tree on a hill.
So I'm going to be carving branches. 

I hashed out some ideas on paper, working within rough outlines of the shape of the wood.

Step 2: Sand the Wood in Preparation

Your cross-section will most likely be rough from the blades used to slice it.

Take an orbital sander, and starting with 60-grit sandpaper, smooth the wood in steps up to 220-grit.

Insert "bench cookies" beneath your cross-section to keep it from sliding around and vibrating too much. (thanks, Randall!)
Wipe with a wet cloth between grit steps. This makes loose wood fibers stand up so they can be eliminated.

I did this at TechShop Austin-Round Rock. I love that place because, besides having the tools I need, it has a great working atmosphere. You get so motivated when there are other people around you turning out awesome projects. 





Step 3: Transfer the Design to Wood

I'll get here soon.

Beyond this, I'll have to carve it. I'm toying with the idea of using a CNC ShopBot to do some of the grunt work.
I'd have to work scads of hours on the computer to get that going, though.

Thanks for looking! Check back in a week or so and see what I've added.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm in Austin, Texas, enjoying the Greenbelt, the libraries, the food, and the people. Thanks to all you out there who help me learn ... More »
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