Sunday, November 22, 2009

David Stehly - Carved Walking Sticks and Canes

David Stehly is a wood artist that specializes in walking sticks and canes. His work is outstanding. You can visit his website at: . I had heard of David and seen his work on the internet and in publications at various times. What I didn’t know is that he is practically a neighbor. His home and studio are about 5 miles from where I live. Small world.

I had a chance to visit David’s workshop as part of a local artisans’ “open studio” tour last weekend. He is noted for carving very realistic snakes that are twined around the walking stick. He starts out with a relatively large diameter log and carves it down to the normal walking stick diameter with the snake around it…a lot of work, but the result is certainly unique. His snakes and other creatures are very realistic with sharp details and life-like coloring.

His studio has a blue d├ęcor. Blue as in blue ribbons. David has won many first prizes in wood carving competitions. I went to his studio to be inspired. Instead I was humbled by his artistry and mastery of the wood. I've carved a few canes and walking sticks, but mine look like junior high school wood shop projects compared to David's. Nice work David!

Have you ever tried your hand at carving a walking stick?

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Saw for the Old Saw

The Old Saw has a new saw. I finally replaced my old undersized 10” band saw with a new Craftsman 12”. I don’t really have room in my workshop for a full-sized 14” band saw, but the Craftsman 12” fits in very nicely. Besides, the new Craftsman 12” has a maximum cutting height of 7”, which is more than many 14” units. This was my main reason for getting the new saw. It's smooth and powerful and I love it.

With my old 10” Rikon, I was limited to a 3 ¼” maximum cutting height. Less, if you cut anything on an angle. Any band saw box I designed had to have two dimensions less than 3 ¼”, or some pretty clever cutting sequence. Just imagine how that limits your options. I could never make a decent-sized band saw box with multiple drawers.

With the new saw, my horizons have suddenly expanded. I look at my pile of logs and see all sorts of new possibilities. Ideas that were not possible with the smaller saw and stored in the back closets of my brain are now alive again. The creativity gates are open.

I wonder what other areas of our lives are limited because of the lack of the proper tool…or skill …or education. We make do with what we have, without making an effort to reach for something that is better. Something which would ultimately allow us to accomplish more. We get into a rut and settle for the undersized saw, the boring job. We lose the opportunity to grow or to succeed at new things.

Enough philosophizing. Does anyone out there want to buy a used 10” band saw? It’s a great "starter" band saw.