Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 166, June 2019 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Here's My Woodcarving!
By Nathan Ward
Phoenix, AZ

I was asked to carve the front of the altar, the lecture, and the corpus for the cross for the chapel at the school where I teach. I started with the Altar and finished with the Corpus.

Only being able to carve at work when I didn't have to teach or grade, the entire process took 5 years to complete. All 3 pieces are carved out of soft maple.

I have been into woodworking since high school, but rather than pursue a more traditional route, I went into sculpture in college at Miami University in Oxford, OH. I moved to Arizona to earn my MFA at Arizona State University in the early 90's. During most of this time in school I was doing more metalworking than woodworking. Once I landed the job at Xavier College Prep I rediscovered my passion for woodworking. When my Principal approached me about carving the Altar, and then subsequently the lectern and finally the corpus, I jumped at the chance.

All of the pieces are carved in soft maple. I used traditional carving techniques with mallet and chisel (no power carving!). I loved the times when I could work for hours on end and really find 'the zone' in my carving. Before I knew it I was up to my ankles in wood chips. The hardest part on all three pieces was deciding when it was finished. I am looking for the next piece to carve, maybe a bust of my late father? We'll see. My other passion in woodworking is turning on the lathe, but I still have a ways to go before I get where I want to be with that.

Below is a video that shows some of the carving process of the corpus:

Nathan can be reached directly via email at steelr86@gmail.com. You can also visit his website at nwardsculpture.com.

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