My oldest son is in the first grade and likes to read and dream about building robots. He’s never shown any interest in woodworking and I’ve never pushed it. I want him to pursue something he loves. Still, there is a part of me that hopes one of my two sons will take to woodworking. That little bit of desire can lead to the strangest projects. He once wanted a “time machine” so I made something that looked like a cockpit. He was disappointed that it didn’t work. I was disappointed that he was disappointed.
This time it’s a fox. He’s been reading the book Pax which inspired him to ask me to carve a fox. Of course, I said yes, but I don’t know how to carve. It doesn’t matter; I’ve committed to being a student this year—I plastered the word “learn” all over cyberspace which is like taking eternal vows—and I might as well add carving to the syllabus.
I stopped by Woodcraft and bought a chunk of basswood then came home and searched images of other fox carvings. So far, my thoughts have ranged from “This shouldn’t be a problem, just remove the wood that doesn’t belong to a fox.” to “What did I get myself into?”
I found an image of a bronze figure my son liked and printed it off. Then I imported the image into CorelDraw so I could create an outline and re-scale it to fit the piece of wood. Once I printed the outline for two sides of the carving, I took some carbon paper and traced them onto the block. Then I set it on my desk. He wanted to head to the garage and start chopping. I wanted to let it sit awhile so I can think it through.
I caught a glimpse of disappointment cross his face. I don’t think this is about a fox. He is going to teach me how to carve. And I’ll be a better father for letting him.