Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ringerike Style Walking Stick

This walking stick was my first real attempt at carving. I was inspired to start practicing carving after watching Jake Powning's excellent presentation on the Arctic Fire 2012 web broadcast. I am indebted to all those involved with that event. I really feel like I learned a lot from it, and if nothing else, it was highly inspirational. This piece is far from perfect, but I learned a lot while making it. This is my own design, but I looked at existing examples of Ringerike style art for inspiration, primarily the Källunge weathervane.

After sketching the design on paper, I had a feeling for how the interlacing worked. I then transferred the design on the stick itself. This is also where I made the motif fit the piece I'm working with, resulting in a slightly different design than my original sketch. It ended up being sightly more elongated, and a little more graceful surprisingly.

 After the design was transferred to the stick, I followed the lines with a skew chisel. I probably need to make a better one. This one was made from a broken needle file. I'd like a beefier one.

Once all the lines had been traced with the skew chisel, I used a straight chisel to round off the design and try to give the carving some depth. This is where I made most of my mistakes, but also where I learned the most about this technique.

Once the whole design had been carved and sanded, I coated the stick with pure pine tar and lightly passed it through the flames of a campfire. I was trying to both bring out the grain of the wood and make the piece look a little more aged, but I'm not sure if I like the result. Perhaps after several more coats of finish, I'll be more satisfied. I'm definitely not putting it in the fire again, haha.
This was just a learning piece anyway, and I think it served that purpose well. My next carvings will be better. And there will be more...


  1. That's pretty good for a practice piece. What kind of wood did you use?

    1. Thanks! This was a sugar maple sapling.