|I got my copy of Whittling and Woodcarving by E. J. Tangerman when I was about 10 or 11 and I loved it (that's my beat up copy in the picture). It's a fabulous book about all aspects of knife work and at the time I didn't have the ability to do much of any of it. I also didn't have the tools, I didn't know how to sharpen, I didn't have patience - the list goes on. The book was one of the first on carving I added to the store when I first started up, and it's still very popular.|
Anyway, I when I was a kid I always wanted to carve the "Tudor rose" on page 213. It's seemed like real carving, but it seemed pretty straightforward, so I gave it a try. I don't remember the details, but I know I failed miserably. I didn't have any carving tools except a tiny Exacto set that was the wrong size and the tools weren't sharp. So for those and other reasons, I failed. But every time I went back to that book to show a customer, or just for my own amusement, I remembered that effort.
It was that effort that convinced me I had no talent and no real dexterity to do architectural carvings, so I had NEVER TRIED TO CARVE ANYTHING ELSE since. But last week I needed a carving in process for a picture for an advertisement and nobody else was available, so I got talked into it. The plan was drawn out very carefully on state-of-the-art computer drafting equipment, printed out and glued to a chunk of scrap mahogany, and off I went.
It took about two or three hours on and off during lulls in everything else. I stopped to take a few pictures. It isn't perfect, but I am really proud to have finished it. It's my first carving. It's not professionally crisp and it took far more time than it would a real carver. But I suppose apprentices have to start somewhere. I figure back then, the first Tudor rose an apprentice made would be installed pretty high up, not around eye level and certainly not near the patron's pew.
But you got to start somewhere and I'm pleased I did!!!!
P.S. The book was written in the 1930's. A few years ago I was told that the author, E. J. Tangerman, was still with us. If he finds out about this blog, he should know that his book was one of the most influential I ever read as a kid and it started me on the path of woodworking crafts. For that I will always be extremely grateful.
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