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Using Yew Wood for Wood Carving

Using Yew wood for woodcarving will give you many unseen difficulties to overcome, especially on larger pieces. This week’s work in the Studio has been concentrating on working with the grain patterns and dealing with knots. Here is how I deal with them:

Working on the angle of the sword

The sword is now roughly set in and the detail progresses with the looped leather sword hanger supporting the sheath being further defined. The weight of the sword is represented on the belt and the process of careful undercutting has begun.



This presents problems due to the angle of the sword which makes the grain pattern awkward compounded with knots in the worst place possible.


The beauty and magic of Yew wood

Every wood-carver has to accept and enjoy its unique unpredictability and deal with this cut by cut.

It is an exciting journey that will test our skills and abilities to manipulate and understand the unique, living organic medium with which we wood-carver work.

Yew wood has more than its share of twists and turns, unexpected shakes and black knots buried deeply to test us. The resulting  wastage rate is incredibly high but when finished it is extremely beautiful. Nothing worthwhile is ever obtained easily.

The sword and its hangar are now at a stage to receive the final cut which is done with careful consideration of the figure in its proportional entirety.



That is the magical stage where all the imagination, planning, preparation and plain hard work come together. It is also the most demanding and testing time, as all our assumptions are now to be proved.


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