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Hand Carved Wooden Bookends

Every project I take on, I try to do something new or hone a skill that I haven’t utilized in a long time. This project allowed me to combine my experience with laser engraved photographs and the more traditional techniques associated with hand carving wood scrolls into a set of commemorative bookends for a wedding. The idea started out with a sketch that I scanned and converted into a 3d model using Fusion360.

I used my laser to transfer the designs to some poplar blanks and proceeded to cut out the profiles on my scroll saw.

Then I selected 4 photos of the soon to be married couple and tweaked them for the laser engraving process. It took a few tries to get the grayscale levels right for the type of wood and its moisture content, but in the end I was left with several useable engravings.

With the technically daunting task out of the way, I began carving the shape of the bookends using a set of flat and concave carving knives. The carving went quickly, but the sanding seemed to take an eternity. Throughout the process, I checked to see how everything fit together, making sure to unify the three pieces with the flow and shape of the carving.

Once the carving was finished and the pieces were glued and sanded, I stained them with a rich mahogany gel stain and covered them with a tough lacquer to help preserve the finish.

Despite the amount of work this project took, I was really pleased with the results and so were the recipients. I look forward to integrating more wood carving into my future projects if the opportunity presents itself.

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