Sunday, 10 June 2012

Aaron Slight, starting from the block....

This is Aaron Slight on a Honda RC45, commissioned by the Castrol Honda World Superbike Team. Carved in lime wood.
Here is a record of the progress from a block of lime wood through to the finished piece.

Starting with a technical drawing of the bike, as I've mentioned before, I trim the profile closely, leaving a couple of millimetres spare to allow for tool damage and changes but close enough to that should I loose the drawing on the side, I won't be too far away from working out where I am.
   It is a representation of a specific bike so there is no room for error. All the elements have to fit together in order for it to be a success. As it is for the team, all the mechanics know the bike inside out and would spot mistakes immediately. No pressure then!

Where there is room for interpretation is with the rider and his position on the bike. Again, though, each rider has a particular style which is easily identifiable. Aaron, in this instance, crouches forward over his bike through turns, leading with his shoulder (very similar to GP legend Mike Doohan), putting weight over the front of the bike to help it turn. You'll be able to compare it to the companion carving of Carl Fogarty on his bike. You'll see he has a more upright style. Pictures soon.

The bike has to be carved first to get the thicknesses and component positions right. It would be disastrous to decide the position of his feet or his backside only to later on find them hovering in space. So as much of the bike is carved as I can get to before I start on the figure, but as much of the waste wood around the figure must be removed to gain access to as much of the bike as possible. It's a delicate balance between making progress and jumping the gun.

Bit by bit, all the waste wood is removed and the sculpture starts to work. The movable clamp helps to get the riders position in the right place, his helmet angle in relation to the lean able of the bike.Once the finer details of the bike have been picked out, the hands and feet can be located accurately to the handlebars and foot pegs and the arms and legs can be better defined as their position becomes more apparent.It's too easy at this stage to decide too early where the limbs are and how large they are. 
  This carving was completed long before I started using clay models to plan carvings. This is something I've only just got into doing as my work gets more ambitious or complicated and the time spent on the clay model would justify the extra time involved in the total time for a piece.

Eventually, the carving work is complete and the veneering work begins. Put simply, I dig out holes in the carving and put different colour veneers in. Unfortunately, I don't have photos of this for this carving. 
So, to the finished work. Here is how the carving turned out, veneered, sealed with danish oil and mounted on a mahogany base.
Aaron Slight on the Castrol Honda RC45 carved in Lime wood

This carving and the accompanying carving of Carl Fogarty are on display at Honda UK's race headquarters in Louth, Lincolnshire.

I'll show the carving of Carl Fogarty and some of the preparatory work soon.


  1. Your work is incredible. I'm one of your newest followers since reading your sister's post introducing your blog :).
    Stay inspired!

  2. I, too, am here because of your sister. Evidently, incredible talent runs in your family. Your process from conception to completion is fascinating and enviable. Kudos to you!

  3. Thanks Michelle and Folk Heart for your kind comments. Got to thank Felicity as well!

  4. Your sister sent me here... and I'm glad she did! Your work is inspired. Wow.

    1. Thank you very much Theresa. I'm touched by how much people like my work. Hope I can keep it going.

  5. Fantastic work Paul. I have just this week decided to take up wood carving as a hobby myself, currently trying to source some tools, so I will follow your blog with interest and hopefully pick up a few tips along the way.

    1. Thanks Peter. Saw your spoon,reminded me of when I first started. I completely understand how you felt at completing it. Little things eh? From such humble beginnings, acorns and all that. Good luck developing it. It's clear from your paintings that you already have the artistic side of things covered, you just need confidence from practice on the technical/tools side of it. I always try to make the piece I'm working on the best thing I've done to push myself to achieve greater and greater results. Hope I can help with tips on future postings. Good luck and don't forget the bandaids!