Carving grapevine on a limestone cross

Gargoyle

Official Cafe Stone Carver
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
676
Location
Elgin, IL
Walter, do you know the name of the rock formation that is being quarried? it must be incredibly pure and free of things like shale partings and chert lenses.

Todd
It's part of the Salem limestone formation, which extends through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri. There is a stretch of the formation around Bedford and Bloomington Indiana with is very pure, very deep but starts close to the surface (so it's accessible and consistent for a great depth), and wide.
 

thughes

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2010
Messages
790
Location
Nashville TN
Very interesting Walter, thanks. Sorry to bother you and and the rest of the forum with such a geeky question, but my day job is geologist so I was curious. I will research it a little now that I know the formation and the location.

Todd
 

Gargoyle

Official Cafe Stone Carver
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
676
Location
Elgin, IL
I've uploaded a very short video explaining the main steps in the grape leaves to FB and Instagram.
My main point is, do the major forms first and the details will fall into place. Too many people get hung up on details first; masses, light and shadow, movement, form are the important things. I think these links should work.

FB:

IG:
 

allan621

:::Pledge Member:::
::::Pledge Member::::
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
206
I've been following your posts about the carving and I have a few questions. One is how you get the background so flat that there are no visible carving marks. The other is the grape leaves. The bottom lies below twisted stems but than it sits above a grapevine stalk. Is the leaf carved so its resting on angle or is it carved flat and the illusion of being on an angle the result of some truly great carving.

The form is incredibly harmonious. Each element of a section is, even though precisely repeated, incredible on its own, but when combined with the next sections is kind of dazzling.

Allan
 

Gargoyle

Official Cafe Stone Carver
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
676
Location
Elgin, IL
I've been following your posts about the carving and I have a few questions. One is how you get the background so flat that there are no visible carving marks. The other is the grape leaves. The bottom lies below twisted stems but than it sits above a grapevine stalk. Is the leaf carved so its resting on angle or is it carved flat and the illusion of being on an angle the result of some truly great carving.

The form is incredibly harmonious. Each element of a section is, even though precisely repeated, incredible on its own, but when combined with the next sections is kind of dazzling.

Allan
1. The background isn't smooth, I deliberately texture it with the chisels. If it were smooth, it would reflect more light and not seem as deep; the texture makes it darker. Actual depth of relief is just under 3/8". (<1cm).

2. I use a rare, extreme high precision specialty depth gauge to ensure consistent depth. See attached photos.

3. The carving is relatively flat, these photos should also help show that.

Depth gauge 1.jpg

Depth gauge 2.jpg
 
Last edited:

Gargoyle

Official Cafe Stone Carver
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
676
Location
Elgin, IL
Finally getting this off the workbench today... it's dragged on too long. I just have to set it on the floor (it's 7' wide, about 1400 lbs) and align it with the top and bottom sections, so I can carve the final inch of interlace where the stones meet. I left that for last so that I can be sure all the stems and veins grow together properly. After that, I just have to cut the stainless rods to length, and it will be ready for installation. Gotta make room in the shop, I have a 1600 lb block of stone for another project coming in today... First Pres Feb 2.jpg
 
Last edited:

mitch

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
2,437
Would you mind posting a brief tutorial on designing & machining a custom depth gauge? It looks pretty complicated, and I'm guessing you probably have to set the probe protrusion with an app on your smartphone? I'm thinking of making one for myself, but wanted to be sure I've got all the details just right. At the very least, could you specify the correct wood species and size of finish nail? And does it really have to be a finish head? ;)
 

Gargoyle

Official Cafe Stone Carver
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
676
Location
Elgin, IL
Would you mind posting a brief tutorial on designing & machining a custom depth gauge? It looks pretty complicated, and I'm guessing you probably have to set the probe protrusion with an app on your smartphone? I'm thinking of making one for myself, but wanted to be sure I've got all the details just right. At the very least, could you specify the correct wood species and size of finish nail? And does it really have to be a finish head? ;)
Finish heads are good. Look for the Perkele brand. Danish heads tend to bend, I think it's the aquavit that twists them. Norwegian heads don't hold the depth, they slide too much due to the lutefish oil. Italian heads are most traditional, but very hard to find.
 

Gargoyle

Official Cafe Stone Carver
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
676
Location
Elgin, IL
The final step in carving this limestone cross was to connect the veins and stems at the joints between the sections. It's now ready for installation, weather permitting. (It's currently 3°F here, that's -16°C, so not today!).
I have to carve in towards the body of the stone from the edge, or it will break off too much at once. Sort of whittling away at it.

First pres stone joint overlap carving (1).jpg First pres stone joint overlap carving (3).jpg First pres stone joint overlap carving (5).jpg
 

Latest posts

Sponsors

Top