Like a naughty child, I found myself touching everything. As I ran my hand across the top of a table or over the carved decorations I realized how much I love to touch wood. There is a tactile sensation that brings me joy. The smoothness of the finish, the beauty of the grain pattern, even the smell of the beeswax and oil, all contribute to my sensual enjoyment.
I get a similar feeling in my own workshop. It may be the fine sawdust that remains in the pores of your hand after sanding; or feeling the contour of a piece you just carved. I’m sure many of you fellow woodworkers know what I mean. I remember finishing a spoon with wax and mineral oil and then sitting watching TV and just rubbing the finish with my bare hands for quite some time. It was a comforting sensation. You may argue that velvet or leather also gives tactile pleasure, but when it comes to hard materials, nothing beats wood.
I just completed my Salamander Cane. It was my first attempt in carving a critter wrapped around the cane. Instead of carving a detailed snake with hundreds of tiny scales like the award-winning artist, Dave Stehly, I chose a much simpler piece for my first attempt. The salamander is a lot smaller and its skin is smooth and easy to carve. I liked the feel of the wooden cane handle. I realized why canes and walking sticks are made of wood. For some reason, it just seems natural.
Has working with wood heightened your sensual awareness?