of the most useful things a woodcarver can do is sketch, either on paper or
the wood. Often when I'm working on a new carving project I will want to
have it laid out on paper before I commit tool to wood. Other times I may be
in the process of carving a project and I will get an idea about something I
either want to add to it or change about it.
I have always found paper to be pretty good for these circumstances, yet
just a little limiting. For one thing it is a hassle to have to scale down
larger carvings to fit the piece of paper. Another thing that is a hassle is
having to find a place to lay or hang the paper so that I can refer to it
while carving. Well, though minor, those troubles are over for me now.
I have had this old homemade easel for a long time, though I never really
used it as much as I thought I would when I made it. Recently while
wandering through the local office supply store I spied a large dry erase
board and the wheels started turning. I promptly bought the dry erase board
and took it home to start modifying it to suit my needs. The first thing I
did was mount it on the easel, simple enough. Next I decided that instead of
constantly having to use a ruler to size and proportion my drawing I would
line the top, bottom, and sides of the dry erase board with "inch" markings.
With these two simple modifications my new design helper was ready to use,
and use it I have. Now when I feel the need to sketch an idea or lay out a
carving, I simply do it on the dry erase board and position the easel so
that I can easily see it from where I'm carving. I didn't make up any plans
for my easel, but hopefully with the pictures below you will get enough of
an idea of how it is made to make one for yourself. I also have pictures of
a 32" cigar store Indian design I am working on using my design helper. Hope
you enjoy the pictures and get inspired to make your own.