Quite a while ago I received an enquiry about creating a log bench for a lovely couple, who have since commissioned several really interesting pieces which have been a real pleasure to create (see this earlier post for one of my favourites: A Christmas Nisse – Allen Stichler – Wood Carving).
In previous times when making these log benches I’d enlisted the help of chainsaw-handy folk who cut the seated area out for me ~ which was great, but more often than not needed a bit of faffing to level the surfaces or in the worst cases, fill the chainsaw overcuts. My pal Peter at the sawmill came up with the method of making a couple of clean cuts lengthways with the huge bandsaw, leaving the bench in two sections which would be pegged together when carved and delivered to the site. This left us with no overcuts, smooth surfaces and a neat looking finish ~ this is the future!
With the back rest separate, it was also easier to work on rather than leaning over the seat at peculiar angles as before, which was a bonus. The design was to feature a Green Man, and the customers had told me what wildlife they would like surrounding him, along with the idea of a verse (which they were giving thought to); with that agreed, I got it drawn on and got cracking.
With the Green Man and wildlife finished, it was just a matter of the choice of text in the space on either side; I had a few poems relating to the Green Man, but they were all a bit “dry” and just didn’t seem right. The customers came up trumps with two perfect lines from a poetry book of theirs, “I drift ~ in dreams and visions and whispers” and, “I moved the hand that carved my face.” Wow! Just perfect, and I was so touched when they explained they especially liked the second line as it could be taken as a reference to me, carving the face of the Green Man himself.
The easy part finished (!) it was on to the delivery and siting of the bench; John Pople, a local chap who has helped me before shifting huge pieces, came to the rescue again. Due to the weight of the bench as a whole, we had to transport it in separate pieces and construct it on site ~ a bit nerve wracking for me, as I had my fingers crossed that the pegs and holes lined up ~ but everything went perfectly to plan.