Celtic Knotwork Carving

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This Celtic knotwork carving was made from a single piece of oak. The base, or plinth, is also a solid block of oak, which gives it great stability.  It  was hand carved for a customer in Ohio, USA, who had visited Scotland and wanted a sculpture to go in his garden as a reminder of his travels.

He liked the design of another Celtic knotwork carving that I had made, but wanted a larger version. This is the larger version. The original design  had been  exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, in Edinburgh. It was also made from a single piece of wood, this time reclaimed Scots pine. The plinth was a very heavy block of granite, also reclaimed.

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Celtic Knotwork Column

The knotwork carving process

I started off by drawing the pattern on a prepared board of oak. I had to adjust the design a few times to get the best fit. When I was happy with the layout I cut away the outside of the knotwork with the bandsaw. I then shaped it carefully near to the drawn lines. After that I took away the waste wood leaving the rough shape.

The next stage was the fun part for me. I chipped and carved closer to the lines and tried to make the wood flow like a ribbon. You have to follow the grain of the oak and cut “downhill”. At this point I also used cabinet scrapers and sandpaper to get the finish I wanted. This can hurt the fingers a bit. Finally, when the pattern looks right and feels smooth, it is time for the oil finish. I gave it several coats of teak oil.

Lastly, when the knotwork was done, I made a plywood case with foam protection. This was a snug fit. I then shipped it to its new home in Ohio.