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Here's My Woodcarving!

by Ron Latour
Baton Rouge, LA

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

I graduated in 1964 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. In 1999, after 35 years of service, I retired from Shell Oil Company where I worked in Shell's Head Office Engineering and Construction Department in Houston, functioning as a Project Manager for multi-million dollar engineering and construction petrochemical projects.

In 1992 while still employed, I taught myself power wood carving, initially using a Dremel tool. At first, I worked in a my utility room. Shortly after retiring, we built a new home. In the design, I included a moderately sized shop. It is equipped with dust collection, an ergonomically designed carving station, and a decent collection of woodworking equipment. I characterize myself as a power carver. As such, I have utilized equipment ranging from a 3-1/4 Hp router to high-speed dental tools.

Over time, I developed a specialty of transforming 2-D artwork into 3-D large format (i.e., approximately 20" x 30") deep relief wood sculptures, custom framed in specialty woods. They have been highlighted with colored wood dye that enhances the nature and grain of the wood. Most of the larger works consumed between 750 to 1500 man-hours and took up to 18 months to complete. Several pieces have won both local and national awards.

Examples follow:

A few years after retirement and in conjunction with my carving work, I began developing the skills necessary to make specialty boxes (i.e., jewelry, music and keepsake). It took 6 years of piddling and repeated failures before I was able to complete a box that met my expectations. Design drawings are done on both 2D and 3D CAD software. Succeeding with this box led me to redirect my focus from large, deep relief framed woodcarvings to boxes with carved tops. Although I had no prior interest in selling any of my carvings, I now enjoy making special boxes for friends charging only my out-of-pocket expense. A few examples of my latest boxes follow:

You can email Ron at .

Would you like to see your carvings in this column? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your favorite woodcarving projects along with captions and a brief history of your woodcarving. (Email photos at 800x600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store gift card if we show your carving work in a future issue!

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