Putting the "log" back in Blog

Power Carved 1970’s-Era Abstract Sculpture

Posted on December 5th, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects. 1 Comment

arbortech-logo1-300x94The following post is sponsored by Australia-based Arbortech, makers of power carving, sanding and cutting tools. This is the first of a two-part series on power carving a 1970’s-era abstract sculpture. The opinions and projects featured within this post are my own.

The 1970’s Are Back!

Chameleon or couch? Either way it blends seamlessly into the carpet...almost. And how about that ship's wheel chandelier?

The sad side of the 70’s: Chameleon or couch? You decide. Either way it blends seamlessly into the carpet…almost. And how about that ship’s wheel chandelier?

Great lines, curves and color for a 1970's-sculpture.

Great lines, curves and color for a 1970’s-sculpture.

Like most eras in history, the decade of my birth had some pretty horrendous interior decor including heavy shag, artificial wood panels, and clashing tropical patterns to name a few. There were however, some stylish carryovers from the midcentury design movement that had elements worth mentioning. This included the use of darker woods, contrasting curves and sharp angles, and the use of pattern to break up flat surfaces. Abstract sculpted pieces in particular, were an easy way of integrating some of these elements into home decor. This was my motivation behind wanting to take on a project like this.

Integration of texture into a curvy 1960/1970's style sculpture.

Integration of texture into a curvy 1960/1970’s style sculpture.

After spending some time looking through Pinterest and Google images, I came across a sculpture created by an unknown artist that embodied some of these elements nicely. A great blend of angles, curves and structure, in an abstract form that can sit on the floor for display. I wanted to create something with a similar shape, but add a bit more visual interest with texture.

This served as the basis behind the design as well as the tools I would use to create this next project. At it’s core, the sculpture relies heavily on Arbortech’s TURBOplane to create many of the contours, crisp defined lines and organic form. In fact, I quickly learned how precisely this tool can be used to create detailed carved surfaces on both concave and convex surfaces.

A Flexible and Diverse Toolkit for the Job

I believe this is a huge area of opportunity for a tool like this, and goes way beyond some of the other more rustic looking featured projects currently shown online. I also used a combination of hand and power tools to create the final product. This included a convex mini-spokeshave, card scrapers, files, rasps and a Dremel tool with a small rounded carving bit.

Below is a gallery showcasing some of the initial steps for the design, assembly and shaping of this project.

In the final post of this series, I’ll reveal the final project photos and offer some thoughts on how to learn to integrate power carving tools into your woodworking arsenal.

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