20th May 2017 Brad Quarless Bowl carver

Brad’s talk was described as “Bowl carving not turning” although his Google entry says “?Bespoke organic furniture and wood sculpture”, and I see his work as the most exciting “Commercial wood sculptor” we have seen for years. ? He uses both hand and power tools to produce ?a sculpturally interesting, wide range of products including unique furniture, chairs, and kitchen items. ? See his web site on?www.bradquarless.co.uk. ? His uncle was a miner who whittled and father was a carver?of items for churches who?took him into the workshops. ? He has had a journey in wood from woodyard to finished wood from childhood. ? ?The architecture of wrecked boats, driftwood and found wood inspire his work.

There was an interesting display of tools, all were quick, some for heavy wood removal and others for a smooth finish. ? We were impressed but the costs were too high for amateurs as we would not make enough use of them. ? Brad says the tools had to earn their keep and there seemed to be a garage full of tools that had failed to live up to his standards.

Brad sources his wood direct driftwood from the shore, farmers fields, and from tree surgeons ( it helps to have a cousin in the business) and dries it out before he can work on it. ? ?Above is a 2 inch thick slab of cherry which is destined to be a garden sculpture. ? ?The?carving process starts with heavy power tools exploring the natural holes, and cracks to eliminate the weakness they might introduce to the finished work. ? He listens to the wood, is guided by the wood, allows the wood to tell him what to do, and does not attempt force his ideas on to the wood. ? ? The holes make viewing points to encourage the public to explore, see more of the surroundings, and share his enthusiasm for wood and sculpture.

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This huge piece of burr wood was really heavy and as we had begun to expect the vice could hold a ton of wood. ? Brad is working on the inside with an angle grinder and a carbide cutter to cut out the inside of the bowl. ? ? ? He would normally take out much of the interior with a chain saw, but was concerned that the wood might contain a void as it was not as heavy as the bulk suggested. ? A slower approach was necessary

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This is the bread and butter side of Brads business. ? ? A shallow bowl in ?sapele, roughed out with the angle grinder and then smoothed to a silky finish?using a?Kirjes Sanding?& Polishing?System tool. ? There is a rubber ball inside the specially shaped sanding sleeve which eliminates the tendency for the sander to leave groves in the work. ? With these tools, brad can carve a bowl in 15 minutes, and sell them at a competitive price. ? The bowl would be finished with 70%medical beeswax mixed with 30% medical mineral oil, which makes it suitable for serving food

This is one of several slices of a ash tree that had rotted in the middle and will make exciting sculptures.

Brad brought in a selection of books that have informed his work

Exploration in Wood by Tim Stead, With the grain by Tim Stead. Decorative woodwork by A.W.P. Kettles, Creative wood sculpture by G Bentham, Red, Black, Other by David?Nash,?Makepeace by J Myerson