I will start out this editorial by saying my woodcarving skills are not “expert.” Given enough time and patience, I can carve the scroll at the top of a violin — I have done it. I have carved a clawed foot on the end of a leg on a family heirloom that I repaired, and it stood up to a casual examination. With those examples, I can say some level of carving is not beyond my capabilities, but I do not go out of my way to do woodcarving to any degree. And I would not claim to enjoy the experience. The exception to this rule is in decorating turned bowls. Both Ernie Conover and Betty Scarpino have written about using woodcarving techniques to enhance their woodturning, so I thought I would give it a go. It turns out (sorry, the pun was intended) that I actually enjoyed doing it. I would not compare my work to Ernie’s or Betty’s — but it did add a degree of interest that I had not achieved previously in my turned bowls.
So, if you are a turner like myself, who has not explored adding a bit of carved decoration to your bowls … I say give it a go. (You can always chuck it back on the lathe and “erase” the effort if you are not pleased!)
Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal