View Full Version : ARTISTIC QUERY

9th Jan 2018, 18:44
Ladies and Gentlemen of PPRuNe:

Our old and beloved quadrupedal life companion went to await us at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge on 2 June, 2017. Ozzie is deeply missed.

Our dear friend, Brother John of the Franciscan Order, has numerous talents, not the least of which is finish carpentry. He loved Ozzie as well and was kind enough to skillfully fabricate the crematory vault pictured below. Ozzie's cremains are contained within the expertly finished flame maple and Brazilian rosewood - a beautiful piece for a wonderful dog. In the event your vision is as compromised as my own, the hand-carved inscription reads OZZIE BEAR followed by the succeeding line 10/1/2004 - 6/2/2017.

My question is this: the relief carving is low contrast and difficult to see. I have thought of stain, paint, pencil, wood burning, and tactical nuclear weaponry to add legibility to the inscribed lettering. Please keep in mind that my once 20/10 vision has degraded to 20/??, my right hand is partially crippled by DePuytren's Contracture, and my dominant left hand exhibits an essential tremor which works well to rattle the ice in a good glass of bourbon but not so well for neurosurgery or filling in carved numbers and letters. (Oops! There go the piano lessons!)

What do you recommend as a way to achieve more pronounced contrast? I thank you in advance for your suggestions and assure you that were he still with us, Ozzie would be well-patted with both of my hands!

- Ed

p.s. I'll post the picture when I find a way to size it correctly...

9th Jan 2018, 18:51
We keep it by the door so he can say "ROOF!" whenever anyone knocks...

9th Jan 2018, 18:58
And an in vivo shot of Ozzie the Aardvark:


Pontius Navigator
9th Jan 2018, 19:30
Here is a suggestion you might try but practise on a different piece of wood. Ideally wood will the the same and have some carving relief too.

You might also use this practice piece to smooth it too.

Sand to surface, clean it, damp it and allow to dry. When dry sand again and also smooth in the carving. Repeat if necessary.

Now use a base stain - say light oak. Once dry paint the whole with a light varnish thinned as recommended. Once dry sand and ensure clear of dust. Repeat and effectively build up to a hard surface glaze.

Now paint the carved work with your chosen colour. Don't worry too much about paint on the flat. Then, before it is dry, use a smooth, lint free rag and a sanding block and wipe off the excess paint. Then with a clean piece of lint damp it with white spirit and wipe off any remaining paint smear.

If you like the result then try on the vault.

A lot less work is find someone that can paint it.

9th Jan 2018, 19:45
Dear Pontius Navigator,

You may "Pilate" or Navigate me anywhere. Your suggestion is most excellent, though I believe your last sentence says it all!

I have enjoyed your (enviable number of) posts over the years and wonder how you came about your screen name.

Thank you again, kind Sir, for your expert advice.

- Ed

9th Jan 2018, 20:01
Again, bet someone else to do it...


9th Jan 2018, 21:01
My suggestion would be to use wax, either only on the letters or alternately on the surrounding wood.
That avoids stain which can bleed along the grain and is non-reversible (you can always remove wax with white spirit).
Whatever you decide, only do it after very careful consideration and testing - it would be a shame to despoil what is a masterpiece of woodwork.
What does the carpenter (or would that be cabinetmaker?) suggest?

Pontius Navigator
9th Jan 2018, 21:18
I endorse G-Cptn's suggestion as an enhancement.

10th Jan 2018, 08:02
Same here - polish the surface up well and install a light fitting shining obliquely on the face so as to throw shadows into the carved letters.