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Figurehead Carving Continued

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Martin Jeffery

Detail Carving

The right hand and neck are carved at this stage. The Figurehead is raised to almost 90 degrees to carve the hand. The neck and hand require a lot more detail and the figurehead will remain in this position until they are finished. The left hand (which I'll show soon), will be holding the drapery and this is a good position to carve it in. It is very important to study the hands. It is easy to make the grave mistake of carving a masculine pair, so it's good to examine carefully how feminine and masculine hands differ. Easy, you may say, but to actually carve them properly requires careful examination and application. The hands tell a lot about the character of the person or in this case, the carving. If the face is studied with solid attention, then it should dictate the form and character of the hands.

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  • The left hand is now carved (more detailed work towards the figureheads final stages), holding the drapery. It is important to carve the hand lightly clutching the drapery, gripping it 'not' like a judo hold. The hand should be graceful and elegant and show good detail when finished. *When the ship is at sea and at some distance, the fine detail of course cannot be observed. However, when the ship is at berth, the figurehead is always carefully scrutinized from all sides, so its most important that the detail is correct and easily perceived. I will show all parts of the figurehead with the finished details hands drapery face scroll heads etc. In the next few days Ill be starting on the scroll heads and give a complete account of the process.
  • Now is the time to carve the left scroll head. It is only roughly cut at this stage so it can be modified and altered to match the right hand side scroll head. The important thing when carving this particular area of the figurehead, is that it has to follow the angle of the bow, around 70 degrees in this case. Detail work always comes when the cut is right on a particular section of a figurehead and you can see that a satified "balance" is accomplished. The Scroll pattern will trail off the end of the head.
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    Carving continues............