I decided to make some samples of the sort of content that is typically presented in church carvings, using the same methods – hammer and chisels. I decided on using some ubiquitous animals – a horse and a bird. The purpose of this sample was to assess how the techniques proposed would work on the same kind of shaping and detailing i’d be using the final piece, and to help me evaluate the choice of wood and stain.
I used a piece of scrap pine. My thinking was that the softer wood would be easier to work, and while this was true, the grain was very pronounced and led to splintering and pieces breaking off. I will have to use a hardwood if i am to achieve the level of detail i want. Using the hammer and chisel was also difficult on such a small piece of wood.
I later trialled the woodstain oil on this sample as well, and the wood proved very absorbed, another benefit of softwood. I will have to hope that hardwood is just as absorbent. I decided to chip a piece off to try out several coats and see how much darker each coat makes the tone. overall this sample proved the perils of using sub-par wood and has made me definitely decide that hardwood is the way to go.