We have written about Joe’s Valasek’s (owner of Heartwood Carving) work on number of occasions in the quarterly however we felt his latest project definitely deserved to be featured.

Joe Valasek woodworking doors

Here we cast the spotlight over what he describes as his the most ambitious relief-carving project ever done using ArtCAM. They are set of 8' doors for a created for a public art project at the Forestry Headquarters on the Oregon coast. The frames made from Douglas Fir and the panels Cherry.

Joe describes how he managed to produce these stunning carvings using a mixture of ArtCAM, a Picza scanner and some hand carving.

"Some areas had a fair amount of hand carving but maybe 85% of the panels were carved on the CNC. Thickness is 1".

"I started with a sketch. I've carved several murals and doors in the past so I sort of knew what might be likely to work. I carve most of my trees by hand using rotary tools and then I digitise them with a Picza scanner. Then I build the hills and lakes or streams in ArtCAM and add the digitized model trees to them in the software. There are a lot of steps but each one is fairly simple.

There are maybe 5 or 6 different trees in the forest so I resize, reverse, skew the branches up and down a bit and sometimes take out a branch or two to make different looking trees from the same ones. Then I create a group of trees with maybe 10 or 15 that look nice together and save it. After each hill is built, I add the groves to them, sometimes reversing and then fill in the gaps with individual trees. The next hill back in the distance gets the same process but with all smaller trees to create the perspective.

For carving I usually start with a half-inch ballnose or larger and then just run it with a large step about a tenth inch high. Then a 1/8 inch ballnose takes it from there, usually with a 10% step.

This project is a classic example showing how a master craftsman can effectively use ArtCAM to increase productivity without losing the personal hand crafted touch. And because Joe developed the individual elements of the design (trees, animals etc.) and has them stored on the computer he is now able to use them in other projects.

I am sure you will all agree that this is an awesome piece and a fantastic use of ArtCAM!