Captivate With Wood

Wood is one of the most versatile materials we can use in our home. There are also multiple ways for us to incorporate wood into our spaces by handmade work. By Sandy Sun

Currently, the woodworking industry has been mechanised gradually which improves the efficiency of furniture production, but replaces traditional craftsmanship, limiting creativity in the process. 

DIY wooden work with its unique style and special function has become more and more popular on the market. Some families would even prefer to make the parts of furniture through handcraft as they are of lower cost compared to mass production by the machines. 

They believe that smart DIY wooden projects can get their home improved since wood in the home will add warmth, elegance and pleasant feeling. If people don't want to make big structural changes, they can still change something in their interior design with hand-made crafts. 

Besides, wood is a very versatile material. It can be used for DIY home decor projects, crafts and even jewellery. It can be painted, stained or left unfinished. The possibilities of using wood can be endless. 

As long as you have free time and you want to use wood creatively, you can make some useful DIY projects and to improve your craftsmen’s affinities. In the same time, if you have interest in DIY home decor that everyone will love, you will certainly be proud of yourself and feel the sense of achievement.

 

Ways Of Making Wooden Handcraft

(1)Wood Carving

Wood carving is a form of woodworking by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object. 

The phrase may also refer to the finished product, from individual sculptures to hand-worked mouldings composing part of a tracery.

According to ‘A shorter history of Greek art’ , the making of sculpture in wood has been extremely widely practiced, but survives much less well than the other main materials such as stone and bronze, as it is vulnerable to decay, insect damage, and fire. It therefore forms an important hidden element in the art history of many cultures. 

Outdoor wood sculptures do not last long in most parts of the world, so it is still unknown how the totem pole tradition developed. Many of the most important sculptures of China and Japan in particular are in wood, and so are the great majority of African sculpture and that of Oceania and other regions. 

Wood is light and can take very fine detail so it is highly suitable for masks and other sculpture intended to be worn or carried. It is also much easier to work on than stone.

In England, many complete examples remain from the 16th and 17th century, where oak was the preferred medium. Some of other finest extant examples of early European wood carving are from the Middle Ages in Germany, Russia, Italy and France, where the typical themes of that era were Christian iconography. 

 

(2)Wood Turning

Woodturning is the craft of using the wood lathe with hand-held tools to cut a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation. 

The operator is known as a turner, and the skills required to use the tools were traditionally known as turnery. The skills to use the tools by hand, without a fixed point of contact with the wood, make a distinction between woodturning and the wood lathe from the machinists lathe, or metal-working lathe.

During the process of wood turning, the needed tools include handles, candlesticks, egg cups, knobs, lamps, rolling pins, cylindrical boxes, Christmas ornaments, bodkins, knitting needles, needle cases, thimbles, pens, chessmen, spinning tops; legs, spindles and pegs for furniture; balusters and newel posts for architecture; baseball bats, hollow forms such as woodwind musical instruments, urns, sculptures; bowls, platters, and chair seats. 

Industrial production has substituted for many of these products from the traditional turning shop. However, the wood lathe is still used for decentralised production of limited or custom turnings. A skilled turner can produce a wide variety of objects with five or six simple tools. The tools can be reshaped easily for the task at hand.

Some people who are keen on working with their hands will continue to engage in wood turning, since they can acquire pleasure in problem-solving and enjoy the tactile and visual qualities of wood. Especially for 21st century turners, they restore furniture, keep on folk-art traditions, produce custom architectural work, and create fine craft for galleries by wood turning. 

 

(3)Carpentry 

Carpentry is a skilled trade in which the primary work performed is the cutting, shaping and installation of building materials during the construction of buildings, ships, timber bridges, concrete formwork, etc. 

As wood is one of mankind's oldest building materials, the ability to shape wood improved with technological advances from the stone age to the bronze age to the iron age. Some of the oldest archaeological evidence of carpentry is water well casings built using split oak timbers with mortise and tenon and notched corners excavated in eastern Germany dating from about 7,000 years ago in the early neolithic period, introduced by ‘German Archaeologists Discover World's Oldest Wooden Wells.’

United Brotherhood of Carpenters have also indicated that “Carpenters traditionally worked with natural wood and did the rougher work such as framing, which has been prepared by splitting (riving), hewing, or sawing with a pit saw or sawmill called lumber or timber. Natural and engineered lumber and many other building materials carpenters may use are typically prepared by others and delivered to the job site. In 2013 the carpenters union in America used the term carpenter for a catch-all position.”

They added ,”Tasks performed by union carpenters include installing flooring, windows, doors, interior trim, cabinetry, solid surface, roofing, framing, siding, flooring, insulation, acoustical ceilings, computer-access flooring, metal framing, wall partitions, office furniture systems, and both custom or factory-produced materials, trim and moulding, ceiling treatments, exposed columns and beams, displays, mantels, staircases metal studs, metal lath, and drywall.”

Nowadays, many other materials are also used and sometimes the finer trades of cabinetmaking and furniture building are considered carpentry.

In conclusion, handicraft is the traditional art of creating useful objects or decorative items entirely by hand, and wooden handicraft is a craft where skilled labour is employed to decorate or carve wood to create items with bare minimum tools. Each piece of handicraft is unique, owing to its individualistic craftsmanship. 

 

Indian Wooden Handicrafts

India is the country which has extremely abundant cultural heritage and legacy of traditional handicrafts including breath-taking sculptures or awe-inspiring paintings, handcrafted jewelry or mesmerizing woodcraft.

Wooden handicraft in India has flourished over the centuries. Handcrafted wooden items are a prevalent feature of Indian culture. Skilled artisans carve traditional designs on wooden items, and enhance their look by painting them or with intricate metal or ivory inlay work. The magnetic appeal of Indian Wooden Handicrafts lies in its exclusivity.

India is blessed with a vast number of tree species, most of which are deciduous and evergreen. Alpine forests and trees belonging to arid regions are also present. These trees are used extensively to manufacture wooden handicrafts. Wooden handicrafts of India are renowned for beauty, durability and utility. Their wooden handicrafts would consist of furniture, utensils, boxes, beads, finely carved figurines, accessories etc. 

 

Interesting Wooden DIY Work and Manufacturing Methods

(1)racine carré’ table

The ‘racine carré table’ is a bespoke table element by French product designer thomas de lussac. He uprooted tree stump, then carefully polished to form racine carré natural table. It is made of a large stump combined with big board, connected by dovetail tenon, partly processed by man, and partly retained the original form of wood. Completed over eight months, the project exemplifies the beauty of a tree stump located in the perche region of northwestern France. 

The final work shows each stage of its craft, from the initial uprooting, to the final sanding, and elegant natural table that leans upon a sole wooden leg. ‘racine carré’ was constructed by perchebois craftsmen E. chartrain, bouhours, and gautier. 

(2)Wood Candle Holder

Wood candle holders are simple yet stylish and give a very nice feel wherever placed.  The candle sticks usually feature detailing with distressed painted finish to prevent paint loss caused by fire. These wooden pieces feature an indent on the top to help hold candles in place. You could utilize this set for decoration or to bring candlelight to your favorite living area.

According to “Wooden Handcrafts”, they have shared some steps to us about how to make the wooden candle holder by our own hands:

First of all, you need prepare for enough tools including Hardwood timber pieces - blocks of about 10, 15 or 20cm height, sandpaper, natural wax and polish, aluminum tin sheet or an empty aluminum can, scissors or wire cutters, long nails, pliers, hammer, pencil, hand gloves and pillar candles.

And then the specific manufacturing process is as the following: 

(1)Sand the timber pieces to provide them a smooth finish.

(2)Take a soft cloth and with it, apply wax to all the surfaces of wood blocks.

(3)Take the aluminum sheet and place a candle on it. Trace around its base to make a circle.

(4)If you are not using sheet but aluminum can, then wear the gloves and cut off its top and bottom and then downwards its length with the help of scissors or wire cutters. Then flatten the can with a hammer and trace around candle bases.

(5)Cut out the circles with the help of pliers.

(6)Place the cut circle on the wood block. This will provide a barrier in between the wood and a lightened candle.

(7)Now place a nail into the center of the circle and hammer it.

(8)Cut off the head of the nail using pliers.

(9)Twist gently and push the candle onto the nail.

Accomplishing a wooden handicraft by oneself is not an easy job, and it requires the person who has patience, attention, quality, enthusiasm and gifts. 

However, during the manufacturing process, we can improve our manipulative and creative ability that we can't get from our sedentary lifestyle. The innovation and creation inspired by wooden craft can enhance our appreciation and love to our daily life.

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