I was finally ready to apply the varnish finish, when I realized I still had some loose ends to deal with. There is always more. Sorry, I know the suspense is killing everyone. That large crack? It has a few larg splinters which I can try to glue down, and many small hairy slivers that should be cleaned up.
I think it was clever to use rock climbing camming devices to apply outward pressure on the splinters to hold them in place while gluing.
I clipped and pulled out most of the fine slivers, and blew out all the sawdust and chips with compressed air.
“Guruji has mentioned in class that yoga is the mother of all arts. There are six principal arts from which the others emerge. They are Yogita, Mallika, Natya, Sangitika, Dhanusya, and Vyaraharika. Yogika is yoga – the principal art. Mallika is wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, or any other martial art. Natya is dance,drama, and acting. Sangitika is music – instrumental and vocal. Dhanusya means “bow”. This art, along with the strategies of using the bow and arrow includes military training. Yyaraharika includes agriculture, economics, politics and other sciences. The whole process of civilization depends upon these six basic arts.” (Dasti, Ali “Yoga and Marmakala” Yogadhara, A Stream of Yoga The Light of Yoga Research Trust Mumbai (2000) p. 303)
Yoga, Martial arts, Performing arts, Music, Military tactics, Science. There are elements of of these arts in sculpture– Yogika, steadyness of mind and purpose. Mallika and Natya, ability of execution. Sangitka, harmony and proportion. Dhanusya, tactics and strategy, Vyaraharika, science and methodology.
Since I know nothing about wood finishes, I asked my trusted advisors Sharon Q and Garry V what I should do that would be most of all, easy and safe for rustic like me. First, get and read the book Understanding Wood Finishes by Bob Flexner, Fox Chapel Publishing 2010. I can’t believe I’ve spent my life until now in the dark about the differences between varnish, shellac, and lacquer. Then, understand the pore structure of the type of wood you’re using. Finally, consider again what is within your abilities and experience. Remember also that this is a sculpture, not a piece of furniture.
All that realized, I decided to use Arm-R-Seal Wipe-On Oil Varnish, available at Woodcraft. Garry said he’s had good results with it, and it was easy to control by wiping on, or off, with cloths. I set about carving up a test piece which would have samples of the different grain faces which are to be found in the sculpture.
I tested sanding both before and after he initial coat went on, and also tried up to two and three coats un-sanded, to see the effect. Ultimately I preferred a hard sculpted finish that retains the un-sanded sharp edges of the chisel marks, but not yet shiny or glossy.
The right side was sanded. I don’t like how the edges flatten out and catch the light.
The center is three coats.
The far left side is two coats, not glossy.
The best outcome is probably to use a very heavy first coat, as much as will soak in, followed by two very thinly wiped-on coats. The color is nice. So much warmer than the raw wood. Not dry-looking.