Gecko archive

Tuesday 30 September 2008

Carve this amazing and simple lizard with Bill Prickett


During a recent reference-gathering trip to South Africa, as well as the more obvious sightings of the larger indigenous wildlife - elephants, lions, hyena, hippo etc - it was some of the smaller inhabitants that captured my imagination as potential subjects for sculpture. One such denizen of the veldt that failed to escape the sharp eye and the sharper Opticron binoculars of my wife was the gravity-defying gecko. Due to their ability to cling with ease to a vertical surface, I thought that a gecko would make an ideal, wall mounted carving, which could be easily produced as a carving project.


As this is quite a small sculpture, about 140mm (5 1/2in) in length, I choose a piece of wood with a good strong grain to give it some impact. I decided to use a small off-cut 190 x 75 x 25mm (7 1/2 x 3 x 1in) of camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora) left over from a previous carving. As there is no great detail to be obtained, the scope of possible timbers that could be used opens up somewhat. See what you can find.

Select the timber so that the grain can run directly down the length of the gecko, and try to leave an additional couple of inches on the length so that a 'handle' can be left at the tail end to aid in clamping the piece whilst it is worked upon.

Woodworkers Institute

Tagged In:

bill prickett , reptile , Gecko

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"Select the timber so that the grain can run directly down the length of the gecko"

Top Tips

- With the smaller carvings it is still very important to consider how the piece is to be held securely during the carving process. Leave a 'tab' of wood attached to the carving that can be held in a clamp, which is removed after the bulk of the work has been done
- Keep tool marks as clean and sharp as possible. This cuts down on time consuming and 'detail obliterating' sanding with coarse abrasives
- When using a scalpel take great care during use, as there can be a tendency during periods of high concentration for the fingers to slide down the handle and be sliced by the rear section of the blade. This is particularly the case with the No.26 blade

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