Song of the sea shell

I've recently starting messing around with wood. The first thing I made was this ring.
Actually, the first thing I made was a bass ramp. I can't be bothered explaining that but it's basically a small, thin block with a lot of right angles. Making right angles happen by hand was really hard, so I swore off it.
I made the ring by putting together a makeshift lathe using a drill and some gubbins. It mostly worked, but still needed lots of hand-carving.

For my next project, I thought it would good to make something for the Cartoon Saloon to celebrate finishing "Song of the sea" (facebook page), and to say thanks for the job. It was a really good project to work on and you just can't take that for granted in animation.
So, if you've seen the teaser trailer, you'll have seen this seashell that the two children have. That seemed easy to make. In fact, it seemed so easy, I wondered if I'd even carve those spiral shapes into it.

...fat chance.
I very quickly realised that I need to take smaller steps with this whole wood adventure. Here's how it came together.
I had a lovely bit of wood that I'd been drying for a year or so. Spalted wood is one of my favourite things in the world, and I've read people saying how hard it is to work. When I started, I didn't see what they were talking about. It's so spongey and soft! So easy to cut. ...but then it starts crumbling and denting really easily, and it's really unstable and hard to predict. Because it's so spongey and soft. 
Step 1. No photo. I cut a block out of the lump of wood, slightly bigger than the dimensions I wanted for the final piece; about 10cm square and 4cm thick.

Step 2, drew the shape on and sawed it roughly to shape, then closer with a chisel and this Mora knife.

 Step 3, carved it.

Step 4, made a little foot.
I also cut a small hole into the base and the shell so I could add a dowel, whittled from an old paintbrush, to strengthen the joint.

Step 5, sanding sanding sanidng sandngi sdngng asngnd snigdns gsgsnsg 

Step 6, three coats of pure tung oil and some thin CA to stabilise the spongiest bit of the wood.

Then I glued that sucker up.

And that's it. It's a bit wonky but I'm pretending that was intentional, to capture the hand-drawn nature of the film.

...even though this is more like a blind, wrong-handed drawing of a shell.
Still, it was fun and I learned a lot doing it so it's on to my next bit of woodery.

I also discovered I enjoy making little wonky boxes.


  1. bloody brilliant. So talented!

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  3. Anonymous9:55 pm

    I love song of the sea! I wish I had saoirse's shell. I want to play it SOOOO bad!

  4. Anonymous9:59 pm

    I love Song of the Sea! It's my favorite movie. It would so awesome to have functioning shell just like Saoirses. I want one SOOOO bad!