Spotlight on Ray Bentsen's Hobby
Ray Bentsen needs no introduction to many of you. A board member for several years, and president for two, he has been the hardworking chairman of Shipley Center’s annual Benefit Sale for many years. Under his leadership, this year’s total exceeded $26,000. Yay Ray!
One day when I was working at the sale site, Ray showed me a creative wood plate he was working on in a process called wood chipping. I was intrigued with the intracacy of the design and what appeared to be the intense concentration required to carve such a piece using only a half-inch blade. I thought many of our members would be interested in learning about this near – at least to me – pastime.
1. This is the beginning, the 10″ diameter basswood plate blank, as purchased from Bill Johnson at CarolinaMountainReefs.com. The pattern on the plate consists of 32 overlapping an carefully drawn circles. (If you want to see some gorgeous woodwork, do go to that website, it’s impressive.)
2. Here you see the carving in progress with most chip already cut out, but still showing some of the penciled pattern. Note that Ray decided to deviate from the printed pattern at the center, sanding off the pattern as he goes along.
3. This photo shows the plate with all chips removed. As you might expect, carving out the individual chips takes some time and patience .. all the while being careful to carve deep enough — but not too deep — and at a uniform angle.
4. Here is the finished plate after staining. Ray chooses to sand off the top surface to add contrast with the chips. The plate gives the optical illusion that the plate is not flat, but 3D … and the viewer experiences a sensation of movement.
I will leave you with Ray’s answer to the inevitable question regarding the amount of time involved to carve just one creation: “Don’t ask how. long it takes to finish a plate, since most carving is done in my recliner while watching TV!”
Do any of YOU have an interesting hobby that could be featured in an upcoming Spotlight article? Let Margaret Cox know.