Purpose and Process of Bosting Out
purpose of bosting out is to develop the internal planes of
the carving to a close approximation of the finished piece.
Heavy cuts can be made at first, but as you approach the final
surface of these planes, lighter and lighter cuts should be
made until you have taken enough stock away so that the form
is very close to that you show in the drawings. At this point
you will realize why I stressed the necessity of fixing the
detail in your mind by careful consideration of all the aspects
of the drawing and the form that you want to develop. Somehow
or another, you know when you have gone far enough. With a little
practice you will find that you seldom overcut your carving.
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you have one side of the design bosted out, proceed with the
other. They will be more or less alike if the same process you
followed in making the original cuts are duplicated. A great
help in this process is to set the low points on the sides of
the piece. I do this by using the scribe, measuring each point
or reference spot from the surface of the hold-down to the low
points of the carving as they are to show on the sides of the
profiled piece and transferring these low points to the corresponding
positions on the other side. Then bost out the stock to those
Bosting out to stopcut. (Courtesy Maine Coast Fisherman)
it happens that there is a difference in the design for the
carving on either side (as in the case of the picture shown
in Image 50), but there are points where the same amount of
stock is to be bosted out on each side, use the straightedge
placed across the areas concerned and measure down from the
bottom of the straightedge to the surface of the bosted section.
Then measure down from the bottom of the straightedge to the
corresponding section on the other side. The difference in the
depths will be shown, and these differences can then be corrected.
If, as sometimes happens, you have removed too much stock on
one side, the differences in depths will have to be reconciled
by removing stock on the side of the carving that is higher
than the other.
Starting the back cuts.
process of bosting out should be done on all parts of the carving
that can be reached conveniently while the blank is fastened
to the hold-down. Do not attempt, at this time, to do any detailed
carving. You may have to remove the blank from the bench and
the hold-down so that you can back-cut the reverse side. Back-cutting
(as its name implies) is cutting away stock from the back of
the carving. This is done, in many instances, so that the profile
can be finished in such manner as to give the effect of a third
dimension. It might be called an exaggerated chamfering process.
If finished detailed work is done before the back-cutting is
undertaken, the probability is that it will be damaged. There
are many cases, of course, where back-cutting is not to be donewhere
the straight or vertical edge of the carving will add to the
final appearance of the piece. This fact you will have to decide
the case of a large and intricate compound carving, all the
various pieces will have to be bosted out before any detailed
work is undertaken. In the construction of the large American
Eagle that is shown in one of the illustrations, each piece
was profiled, bosted, jointed, drilled, counter-bored and screwed
before any detail carving was undertaken. The purpose of this
was to be sure that the planes of each sidethe wings,
the body, the claws, and the base blockwere as nearly
alike as it was possible to make them.
Parts for one of a pair of large American Eagles. Note that
the base block with claws and legs and the wing surfaces are
detail-carved, but no detail carving is done on body section.
This should be done after all parts are assembled so that the
detail carving on the body will run with the detail carving
on the other sections.
all the parts of this eagle were assembled, the differences
became apparent and they had to be reconciled. In all the many
pieces that were involved, I had to take reasonable care to
see that I did not overcarve. As there was a pair of these eagles,
it meant that each piece on each eagle had to be reconciled
with the corresponding one. It sounds intricate, involved, and
difficult. It wasn't, really, because I knew beforehand that
this would have to be done, and I provided for this contingency
as I went along with the work.
I not anticipated this, the work would have been much more difficult
to execute. And speaking about these eagles, it may not be out
of place to tell how they came about. About the middle of May,
1954, I had a telephone call from a man in Waldoboro who wanted
to come down to the shop if I was going to be here. I asked
him along. About twenty minutes later a big, tall, heavy-set,
good-looking man came in and introduced himself as George Hand.
1 couldn't see the connection between his company and my work
but 1 am always willing to learn. So we started to talk. I was
working on a rather complicated carving at the time and he began
to ask me a lot of questions about my work: how long it took
me to make a carving, what I charged for my things, and all
sorts of stuff.
had gotten to the point where he wanted to know if I was tooled
up to carve a pair of big American Eagles. I showed him what
tools I had and what they could do. I gave him some idea about
what I charged for my work and why. About this time, "Jake"
Day came in. "Jake," Maurice Day, is the feller who
draws all the amusing animal pictures, full of delightful whimsey.
He is also a most gifted painter, as well as being a great authority
on the Baxter State Park up around Katahdin. Jake "histed"
himself up on the corner of the bench and busied himself at
something or another.
had introduced these two men and they hit it off. George Hand
asked me if I would undertake to carve a pair of six-foot wingspread
American eagles. I asked him what they were to be used for.
He told me that they were to go on the pilot houses of a big
ocean-going tug and a big dredge his company operated in the
Gulf of Mexico. I thought this over for a moment and said that
I would undertake such a commission, but not that big. I said
that a six-foot eagle mounted on the pilot house of a tug would
spread enough sail so that if the tug got into one of the big
blows they get in the Gulf, the next thing they knew the Eagle
would take off with the tug in its talons.
The pair of 4-foot American Eagles completed and gilded. (Courtesy
Portland Press HeraldEvening Express)
insisted that the carvings be done as large as this. I said
I thought it would be a good idea if I drew up a couple of sketches
of these birds, one with a four-foot wingspread, the other with
a six-foot wingspread, and let the head of the house choose
which one he wanted. Which was finally agreed upon. I told George
that I would send along an estimate of the cost of both of these
birds, too. So, that seemed to satisfy both of us, and George
took off. Jake and I talked some about the project at hand and
he went back to Damariscotta. The next day I got an impressive-looking
package in the mail from Jake. Its contents are pictured in
Image 41. I made the four-foot eagles. It took a full three
months from start to finish, and they were really big.
comment about various clamps may not be out of place. I have
already described the long clamps used for edge glueing and
you are probably familiar with the common iron or steel C clamps
that are available. One of the most useful, and unfortunately
scarce, kind are the old-fashioned wooden clamps made with two
wooden screws and two wooden jaws such as are shown in Image
42. I don't think these are made any longer. I got the ones
I use at a country auction years ago. I think I paid half a
dollar for the lot. There were six of them offered up for kindling.
The old-fashioned wood jaw and screw clamp in use.
are heavy and clumsy for small work, but what a job they do
if they can once be set up. My suggestion would be to scour
the countryside for them. The old cabinet shops used them, blacksmiths
used them, old boat builders used them. Mine are not for sale.
Drill two 3/8-inch holes in part A, 1 inch in from either end
Drill one 3/8-inch hole across centerlines on B. Counterbore
to ½-inch with 1-inch bit.
Drill two 3/16-inch holes on centerline on B-about 3 inches
apart on centers.
Counterbore these holes on face opposite the 1-inch counterbored
center hole, using %-inch counterbore to depth of 1 inch.
Use 2-inch #10 round-head wood screws to hold carving.
Assemble both parts of jig with 3/8-inch x 5-inch carriage bolt,
nut, and washer.