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Thread: Carving a 3.5 metre high cedar totem pole on Pellow's Island -Preparation

  1. #1
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    Carving a 3.5 metre high cedar totem pole on Pellow's Island -Preparation

    I liked carving a small totem pole so much (see the thread: http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ad.php?t=25089), that I decided to tackle a bigger one.

    In July, Gilles Boucher who also has a place on the Lake Pivabiska mainland, told me that he might have a cedar log that would do for my totem pole. The next day, my friend Terry West and I checked his large pile of cedar logs and, sure enough, there was a log that was perfect –dried about two years, straight, about 3.5 metres long, about 35 centimetres in diameter at one end and about 25 centimetres in diameter at the other. Gilles refused to let me pay for it and, furthermore, said that he would move it down to the shore that evening. Here it is on the shore:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Totem carved at Pellow's Camp 01 -Cedar log for totem on the shore where Gilles Boucher placed i.JPG 
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    Early the next afternoon, Terry helped me take the log to Pellow’s Island:

    This is how the towing rope was attached to the log:

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    The log behind the boat:

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    Frank running the outboard (carefully):

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    Terry pulling the log up on shore

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Name:	Totem carved at Pellow's Camp 06 -Terry West dragging the log up on the shore at Pellow`s Island.JPG 
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    Cheers, Frank

  2. #2
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    Early in September, my brother John and our friend Chris, and I spent 8 days at the island and we moved the log up to the shed where I will carve it next year. The two of them helped me move the very heavy log up to a site just outside The Shed. I would guess that the log weighs about 100 kilos (220 pounds):

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Totem carved at Pellow's Camp 07 -Cedar log has been moved up from the lake and is awaiting plac.JPG 
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    With the ropes, one guy on the smaller end and two on the large end, the log proved quite easy to move.

    I made two of these supports, intended to be inserted onto a Workmate, that will hold the log ion place for carving:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Totem carved at Pellow's Camp 08 -Assembling one of the two supports for the totem-pole-to-be lo.JPG 
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    I thought that I had two old Workmates at camp, but I only found one, so temporarily, we placed the supports on one Workmate and one Walko:

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Name:	Totem carved at Pellow's Camp 09 -Cedar log is now in temporary position in the shed -small.JPG 
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    With this arrangement, the log is too high. I need to collapse one set of legs on the Workmate and get something else to replace the Walko. I purchased a cheap ($29) Workmate rip-off in Hearst that will do the job. It doesn’t hacve a two tier leg arrangement, so I needed to cut off the legs (using a special carbide blade on my reciprocating saw):
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Totem carved at Pellow's Camp 10 -Shortening the legs on a cheap Workmate rip-off -small.JPG 
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    Now the log is ready to carve:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Totem carved at Pellow's Camp 11 -The log is now in place and ready to be carved (next year) -sm.JPG 
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    I do need to decide what to carve into the pole. My instructor told me that the Haida people claim that Mother Nature as well as the log itself will make it clear what one should carve and that he had found this to be true. I had evidence that this is true upon my first arrival at Pellow’s Island this summer. As we approached the island, we noticed an eagle sitting on a rock along the shore to the east of the cabin. He remained in position for a long time and we got to within about 10 metres of his position. Unfortunately, my camera was not readily available. I take this as a sign that an eagle should be at the top of the new pole. Of course, all the animals on the pole will be native to the region. Right now, I am thinking that I will carve another beaver, another loon, a bear holding a fish, and a wolf. We will see if this is what actually happens once I start to carve.
    Cheers, Frank

  3. #3
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    I'm looking forward to seeing what you decide to carve on it. That is one big log
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  4. #4
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    I'll be watching with great interest.
    Chinese Proverb: Man who eats many prunes gets good run for the money.

  5. #5
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    I'll say it again, you just have too much fun Frank! Now that will be an interesting project to follow along with!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
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  6. #6
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    Great post Frank, I wouldn't mind giving you a hand if I was there.
    Looking forward to see the rest.
    Best regards,
    Toni

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  7. #7
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    Hmmmm, an eagle holding a fish, a bear holding a rabbit, a wolf holding a beaver, well you get the point!!
    So are you going to put the cedar log in the shed under the first boat for the winter? What about a pair of sawbucks for holding it in place to carve? Looking forward to seeing the outcome Frank!!
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    Hmmmm, an eagle holding a fish, a bear holding a rabbit, a wolf holding a beaver, well you get the point!!

    So are you going to put the cedar log in the shed under the first boat for the winter?
    Jonathan, it appears that you responded before reading my second post above. The log is not being stored in the same shed as the boats. There are two sheds at Pellow's Camp the older one called The Shed and the newer one called The Stage. The Shed is properly insulated, has a wood stove, and has good lighting. The Stage, is a more traditional shed with no insulation, no stove, and bad lighting when closed up. Here is a photo of The Shed:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    What about a pair of sawbucks for holding it in place to carve? Looking forward to seeing the outcome Frank!!
    In the post that you seem to have missed, I show the supports that I am using to hold the log.


    Looking forward to seeing the outcome Frank!!
    Me too.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 09-18-2011 at 03:08 PM.
    Cheers, Frank

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    I'll say it again, you just have too much fun Frank! Now that will be an interesting project to follow along with!
    Brent, see rule #20 in the list I posted in the thread: http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ead.php?t=8172
    Cheers, Frank

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