This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
We enter now on the second stage of the Byzantine style of ornament, with a somewhat more ambitious, but not too difficult, Subject. Our log-holder, with its grotesque bird's head for a finish, is quite in the Byzantine manner. The details of the design will be found, full-size, in one of the supplements. They are given only for one side (which, of course, may be duplicated), but naturally the worker will vary this to suit himself. The design is easily adaptable also for the decoration of the insides - in flat relief. Undecorated they would look rather unsightly when the log-holder is empty. The bottom, of course, will be left plain. The feet should be screwed on from beneath. Mahogany or oak, three-eighths of an inch thick, would be the most suitable wood. A parcel of the three pieces necessary, well seasoned and smoothed, can be bought ready for use. The sides may be screwed on from the bottom or fastened with dowels. There are, however, various ways of fastening them. Some of the wood near the top of each sidepiece may be cut away to allow one to lift the log-holder; or, instead, brass handles may be screwed on the upper edges.
The base projects a little, off ering a slight moulding, which might be carved with some simple ornament. The top corners are taken off the side-pieces, leaving them rounded. Where the bird-heads come, the wood should always be rounded, but not quite as much as on the top edge. As it is well to have everything flush, there should not beany projections on this object, so the effect of the head depends on bold sweeps where the eye, neck, and bill come.
After transferring your design on to the wood, clamp the wood on the bench with two clamps, having the curving part from you. Place two thin strips of wood between the clamps and the pane! you are to work on, so that it may not become injured. We must have two or three more tools now than were used in the first stage of the Byzantine style, making about twelve in all. If they arc-in a condition for roughing out the work, take a fluter and cut down one-eighth of an inch around the design toward the background. If the pencil line is thick, pass the fluter on the edge next the background. If any of the leaves touch too closely for a fluter, use a veining tool, so as not to cut off the points of the leaves. Then take a gouge that fits the curves and cut down perpendicularly, with a trifle of slant for undercutting.
The reason why the Muter should be used first is, that when pounding with the mallet on the tools, the wood is apt to split off from such parts as the apex of the leaves if the Muter has not been used; but if the fluter makes a groove round the outline of a leaf first, then the blows on the tool held perpendicularly will not disturb the wood. Take a veining tool and dent down at the junction of the lobes of a leaf, then make the groove from the apex of a leaf or a lobe toward this dent, also to prevent chipping off. One can hammer hard where the lobes join, as the wood is not likely to split there. Then take a flat gouge and remove the background about a quarter of an inch or more, and take away all that is to be removed. Then go to the fluter again and make a decided groove through the middle of each leaf or lobe of leaf, quite deep. Use the same Muter to make grooves on each side of the first "one, and as a result there will be a distinct ridge between the lobes of leaves. Where two leaves join or overlap, what is called an eye is formed, and from this eye two curving lines start, the width of the eye apart, and form a tube, Ciinstantly narrow-ing toward the stem of the leaf. Make the cuts on these in the same way - that is, from the eye toward the stem. Where the three grooves occur on a lobe, the tool can pass down one and up the other beside it; pay great attention to the grain of the wood otherwise the sharpness of the cuts will be lost. The pupil ought to practise carving with the left hand. These latter grooves, up, then down, can only be made by using the left hand as well as the right.
Now the work is roughed out and the overlapping of leaves and stems has been indicated. This is the time to sharpen your tools for the final touches. Proceed in the same way as before with the leaves - from apex to stem. Have the apex pointed well, a trifle undercut and crisp; have the edges as smooth and clear as before any carving was done. One cannot emphasise this too much. Where the lobes meet, the carving must be very clear. It is not enough that the wood is removed, it must be done sharply and crisply, and not present a jagged appearance. Now go over the lines inside the leaves, and put in the crisp, finishing touches.
In Byzantine ornament we often find beads or pearls, in bands or borders. Where a border is to be tilled with these pearls, first cut two lines with the veining tool, parallel and just within the margins of the border; then, using the same tool, divide the border into squares. Take a curve gouge and remove the corners of the squares, then select a gouge having the proper curve and round the surface into a flat pearl or bead. Take the point of a compass and dig in where the pearls meet, for sharpness and effect. A great deal is left to the judgment of the worker; many words could be added, but the work as it progresses will suggest what they would tell, and independence and originality will thus be developed in the pupil. Tool marks are not at all objectionable, for in the Byzantine style the stronger the lines and the sharper the
Carved Log Holder.
(For Full-size Drawing, see Supplement.) edges the better. Sandpaper must not be used, except for the curves on the top of the side pieces. If you have used clear wood, with even colour and nice graining, it can be left without staining. In such a case you have only to finish it with beeswax and turpentine (two parts of the former to one of the latter, melted together), applied with a soft rag, or a brush which will carry it better into the depressions; or a finish of raw linseed oil or even table oil can be used and rubbed in in the same way. Have the background slightly wavy, which effect is produced by using first the convex side of the tool, then the concave. Cut with the grain, or diagnally, but never directly across it. In the junctions of the lobes, take a blunt chisel and dent them on a slant, so as to produce good, strong shadows. In case a piece should break off, glue it on, and do not worry about it a particle; it will be fully as strong afterwards.
Karl vox RydixgsvaRd.
(To be continued.)