Wood Sculptures can develop problems over time from ageing or damages sustained from various causes. Wood shrinks from changes in humidity, causing stress cracking from the differential between tangential and radial shrinkage rates.

Physical repairs to wood typically consist of Dutchman inlays into splits, if appropriate, or disassembly and rebuilding joinery to compensate for shrinkage of joints. Very similar to problems with furniture. Paint, gesso underlying water gilding, and clear finishes suffer from the effects of wood shrinkage. The size of a wood surface can shrink significantly over the years, and continues for centuries. Other finishes glued to solid wood are stressed by not only long-term shrinkage, but seasonal and weather related changes in humidity. The stresses cause the separation of glued elements, or delaminating or flaking off of finishes. Mechanical damages can result in the loss of parts which can be re-carved and inlaid into the sculpture. It is especially important to match the “hand” of the original sculptor or artist, using the same size gouges and technique of carving, which can vary widely. Few sculptors possess this skill to match the hand of another carver, or even the ability to match the gross shapes accurately. Matching the appearance of lips, hands, feet, and eyes is a good test of this ability.


Initial carving of solid oak blank

Sketch made prior to carving to layout work

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