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Wednesday 26 April 2017

Carving or painting? The emblem of the Hull City Tigers made using woodcarving techniques, wood bleach and stain

hull city tigers

This piece was commissioned as a surprise gift for some fans of the Hull City football (or soccer for readers in the US!) team.

At first, I considered carving the emblem in relief but felt that it would lose something if made too different from the two-dimensional version. The tiger was carved with a Dremel rotary tool and some traditional gouges instead. 

The Dremel gave texture to the fur and more definition to areas like the mouth.

It still didn't jump out enough, so I decided to use stain and bleach to 'paint' the design too. This would hopefully allow the oak timber to show through without covering it over, in the way that paint often can.

The stain was Colron dark oak. This is suitable for indoor use - many exterior dark oak stains such as 'Rustins quick dry' can be very thick and obscure wood grain details. I particularly liked the way that this stain could be painted over to give a deeper tone - similar to watercolour paints.

Next, the bleaching. There are several kinds of wood bleach on the market. Some (such as Liberon wood bleacher) are oxalic acid and are good for removing iron stain and watermarks from wood, but they don't actually lighten it much (if at all). 

Chlorine bleaches (as in domestic bleach) don't seem to do much to oak timber either.

I used Rustin's two part bleach. The two chemicals that are mixed in it are caustic soda and hydrogen peroxide - neither of them particularly friendly. If you use this stuff, read the advice on the label carefully and follow it! 

It certainly did lighten the wood nicely and didn't spread out too much either. If you'd like to try bleaching wood, there's some useful tips on the ukworkshop forum.

hull city emblem

A few coats of Danish oil to complete it and the plaque was finished!