Just thought I’d let you know that I have a new carving “assistant”! I tell her exactly what to do and how to do it, and she goes to it! She’s GREAT! Fast, too! Yesterday she carved 24 — yes, you heard me right — TWENTY-FOUR — pretty complex chuban blocks for me and they are better in many ways than blocks carved by me with hand tools… She uses a (noisy!) rotary tool to carve, by the way, and she weighs about 800 lbs!
I assembled her two weeks ago (took the better part of a week) and she went to work almost immediately! I got her from a North Carolina company called ShopBot Tools which has sold about 3,000 such ‘assistants’ (actually low-end CNC machines), mostly to sign-makers, I think, in the last 10 years. She can carve about anything up to about 4 feet by 8 feet (a sheet of plywood) and up to five or six inches thick and can follow my drawings with an accuracy of a few thousandths of an inch!
I’m pretty ecstatic really, and I’m feeling that I am now able to precipitate image ideas almost directly from my mind to wood! For the way I work, this is like a dream come true! Very liberating!
Among the 24 blocks produced yesterday were the ten for this portrait of my son, Max. What a beautiful face he has as he seems to me to peer into an uncertain future with mixed courage and trepidation.