Entwined Hearts

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About: The answer is lasers, now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Find me on Reddit, Tumblr and Twitter as @KitemanX

I wanted to make a Valentine gift for my wife.

Something special.

Something unique.

Something that shows exactly how I feel.

Step 1: Starting.

A famous sculptor once said that the way to make a carving is to look at a piece of wood, see the image within it, and cut away all the bits that don't belong.

Since I make most of my projects that way, that seemed a reasonable way to go.

I started with a short length of branch that had been sitting around in the warm since before Christmas.

Using a junior hacksaw, I cut four wedges out to make a long cross.

Step 2: Seeing the Shape Within.

Once I had the cross, I had to start thinking about the two hearts.

I started by turning the cross into two interlocked squares. That was a simple hacksaw job again.

Once I had the squares, I planned the hearts, sketching directly onto the wood.

Step 3: Starting to Carve.

Time to start removing the wood.

Using a combination of the hacksaw, Leatherman and my rotary tool I hacked away the outside of the hearts.

I then turned to the holes.

Using a drill-bit on my rotary tool, plus my Leatherman, I drilled the holes through, following the lines I had sketched.

The more I cut away, the more nervous I got...

Step 4: Parting the Hearts.

Time to cut the two hearts apart.

This is where I found I hadn't planned as well as I thought - I couldn't fit a saw-blade in the gap between the hearts.

I ended up using a needle-fine drill-bit to perforate the narrow section of wood still between the hearts.

After four or five holes drilled from each direction into the joining wood, I was able (eyes closed tight) to snap the two hearts apart, without actually snapping the hearts.

I had a small panic at this point - the hearts looked hideous

Step 5: Tidying Up.

I couldn't leave the hearts looking so bad, but the light-weight cutting knives I have were not up to the job.

I bought a set of files and rasps (from our local DIY superstore), and set to with a will.

The second photo is the final product, as presented to my wife.

It's not perfect, and it's not varnished or stained, but that is deliberate because my wife likes handing bare wood - as she sits and plays with the hearts, my hope is that will gain the polish and patina distinctive of wood that is handled on a regular basis.


Step 6: What I Learned

As I worked on this project, I learned or remembered several things:

  • Use the right tools! I should have bought a coping saw to do the bulk cutting - junior hacksaws can't cut curves with a narrow radius.
  • Use the full length of a blade to cut smoothly and efficiently.
  • Sawdust and contact lenses mix too well.
  • Rotary tool cutting discs are not designed for wood.
  • Rotary tool grinding discs are good for starting fires.
  • Drills are not sculpting tools, but sometimes you've got to manage with what you've got.
  • Don't try and catch a running rotary tool when you drop it (fortunately, I missed).
  • Be brave, try stuff. You can always start again.
  • Plan ahead - if I make another of these, I will leave more of a gap between the two sections so that I can get a cutting tool in there.

And:

  • Be brave enough to stop. The hearts are not geometrically-perfect cardioids, but they felt ... right. I left enough texture in the surfaces for them to feel interesting as my wife fiddled with them, worry-bead style.

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    113 Discussions

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    KitemanKialey DeRock

    Answer 9 months ago

    To be honest, I'm not entirely sure, as it was "found" stick in the first place, but it was probably birch.

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    KitemanHansGraveman

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Well, since I made it as a gift for my wife, "by the dozen" wasn't really in the grand scheme...

    ;-)

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    jordan.frey

    4 years ago on Step 5

    Nice job! Hoping to start working on this really soon. What kind of wood would you recommend using?

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    Kitemanjordan.frey

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 5

    If you can find something with a fine grain, it will be harder to carve, but the end result will be smoother.

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    cart562

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Well, it's been well over a year since I first saw this and wanted to make it and now that I'm about a week into it, I think I'm halfway done with my 5 or so inch version in my Woodshop class.

    2 replies
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    cart562Kiteman

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yes of course, I finished a week or so ago but I didn't take a picture so I will sometime.

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    Gobra5x

    6 years ago on Step 6

    Thats awesome, after browsing for many,-many- hours on this site, this is the first thing ill try! thanks for sharing this with us!=)

    1 reply
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    Fisatec

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for this instruction.
    I carved a pair of entwined hearts out of Ytong for this years valentines day.
    At first I wanted to make them out of wood too, but because of lack of time I chose Ytong.
    It was very easy to handle and finally I got two 17x15cm entwined hears.

    It is an eayier way to create such a beautiful gift.
    If you don't like this poridical surface, you could dab on some gypsum and paint.

    IMG_0713.JPG
    1 reply
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    m4srcool

    7 years ago on Introduction

    What sort of wood did you use? Also, what size did you pick? Ive tried looking around for a branch that large but I can only seem to find the huge trunks or the tiny twigs.

    1 reply
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    Kitemanm4srcool

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I have no idea what kind of wood it is - it was a leafless branch lying on the local Common.

    The branch was about 3 inches across, but since I just sketched the shape onto the wood, the simple approach is to just work with what you've got.