Introduction: Log Cross-Section Relief Sculpture WIP

About: 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 to make new things. Here's some of the stuff I've done...

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:

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

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.