CherryWood craftsman turns “found wood” into art

Take a look at his unusual art, and you’ll agree this gentleman has an affinity for turning wood into treasures ‚Ķ

Ralph Smith shows us some of his unusual works – and tells us why he loves creating them.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Fancy automated equipment isn’t part of Ralph Smith’s shop. Instead, he uses mostly hand tools to turn hunks of wood into impressionistic art.

We caught up with Smith at CherryWood Village’s “Show and Sell” day, on November 9.

In his words

“I started when I retired,” Smith told us. “I gave up golf and took up woodcarving. Carving traditional objects developed into creating abstracts. I love to do abstracts.

“I take unusual pieces of wood and make unusual designs out of them. As I start working with a piece, I get a feeling for the shape it’s meant to be. It takes imagination and work.”

Smith said he creates his works with all kinds of tools. “I start out using a mechanical saw. Then, I use wedges to chip out the rough shape. Next, I’ll use a rasp to finish the form. Then, I’ll shave the wood with metal scrapers. You can make it smooth, almost like glass.”

The very last step, Smith explained, is finishing it with some fine sandpaper.

“The biggest problem is finding the right kind of wood ‚Äì wood with character, which lends itself to my work.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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