Iris has a new friend-part 3 rough carving

The next step in this journey of the heart is the rough carving.  You can bring yourself up to date and review steps 1 and 2 by clicking here.

Martin will typically draw bold lines on the surface of the wood he is carving to map out where to remove wood to create the desired shape and depth.  He gathers his carving tools together which includes a mallet and 2 scooped chisels, as well as a pencil.  You can see these tools in the photo below.

carving tools Martin Pierce Hardware

carving tools
Martin Pierce Hardware

rough carving

rough carving  Note the carving chisels and mallet in use

Carving is a reductive technique where you start with large, wide and deep gouging chisels to quickly  remove wood and then move to the smaller flat chisels.  The mallet is used to add power to the chisel.  Martin also uses the thick area of flesh on his palms to hit the chisel as you can achieve greater control in any tricky areas with this method.  The wood we chose for this sculpture, walnut, is a hard, dense wood so it takes a lot of force to  carve it.

beginning bust

beginning bust profile

Martin began this stage of carving by focusing on the ears.  He removed wood from underneath the ear to capture the delicacy and expressive quality of Iris’s ears.  This was tricky but he used fine veining chisels to create crevices and a small spoon gouge chisel to hollow out the ears.

In the final installment of this series we we will share with you how the defining details were created to capture the true essence of Iris’ personality and debut the finished product.

To view our collection of architectural hardware and custom furniture, please visit our site at




About martinpierceblog

Martin and Anne Pierce live in Los Angeles California with their beloved rescue dog, Iris. Martin's custom designs reflect his love of nature and include beautiful vine and fern drawer pulls, a realistic yet whimsical collection of bugs and other critters on door hardware and charming floral designs on everything from door levers to bathroom accessories. He also enjoys creating sculptural contemporary pieces that are easy to access for those with limited physical capabilities. All of Martin's designs are hand carved and cast in their Los Angeles studio where there is truly something for everyone. Please contact us with any questions or custom queries
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