The Tree of Humanity Walking Stick.

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Project by RusticJohn posted 11-28-2012 10:52 PM 3968 views 2 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This has been occupying much of my spare time during the last 6 months. I grew the wood, made all the knives and chisels used and did all the carving. The wood is Sycamore. The smallest face is about the size of a small finger nail and the largest is about 75 mm high.

The stick depicts a vine like tree growing from the bottom to top. The origin of man, somewhat like a Neanderthal, is represented at the top and all types of modern and medieval people down the top half. The faces then become more abstract and primitive for the next quarter till they reach the representation of the ground at the top of the bottom quarter. The vine/trees then break up into roots with various faces, bones and stones, as may be found in an archeology sites, scattered amongst them.

As I have progressed I have had to keep developing new knives to deal with the challenges faced. For example some very small, thin, stiff knives were needed to cut the fine detail on the small faces. I find normal ones, such as the commercial versions, too thick and tend to push the wood sideways and break off. Some features are only 1mm wide and 1 mm deep. Therefore any sideways pressure will cause them to break away on a wood like Sycamore. Getting small and stiff and strong-ish steel is quite a challenge. Flexible makes for poor carving and brittle causes the blade to break. My versions are based on eye surgeons’ scalpels but are stiffer. I also use 3.5 times magnification glasses with a further 1.75 times head mounted viewers. Works fine but my eyes give up after about an hour.

Hope you like it. I am entering it in a competition next week and am crossing my fingers for a good result.

-- RusticJohn

19 comments so far

View bonobo's profile


299 posts in 2798 days

#1 posted 11-28-2012 11:16 PM

Love the variety in the faces. Lots of distinct characters.

-- “The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” ― Mark Twain

View solardave's profile


77 posts in 2785 days

#2 posted 11-28-2012 11:22 PM

I think its fantastic! Best of luck in the competition.

View farmerdude's profile


674 posts in 2781 days

#3 posted 11-29-2012 12:02 AM

Wow! Amazing carving. I cannot imagine the patience you must have to do this type of work. Great job.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3860 days

#4 posted 11-29-2012 12:49 AM

SPECTACULAR, amazing carving, I have not seen the other entries, but, believe this is a “NUMBER ONE” for sure, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30546 posts in 3079 days

#5 posted 11-29-2012 01:07 AM

Well I would vote #1 on this. Absolutely spectacular carving.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View a1Jim's profile


118047 posts in 4318 days

#6 posted 11-29-2012 02:36 AM

This is a real work of art,fantastic carving.


View Birks's profile


109 posts in 2970 days

#7 posted 11-29-2012 02:42 AM

This is excellent work. The idea is dreamlike in conception and execution, and the fact that you made your own tools to do it, for me and I would guess many members of this site, adds to the excellence of this piece.
Thanks for posting,

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

7452 posts in 4094 days

#8 posted 11-29-2012 02:43 AM

You got my vote! It’s already a winner in my book! Great job!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View RusticJohn's profile


219 posts in 4332 days

#9 posted 11-29-2012 02:54 AM

Thank you everyone for the kind comments. I need some suggestions for the next one. I have been toying with the idea of a Grinling Gibbons like fruit and vegetables one or perhaps my family history. Not sold on either yet.

-- RusticJohn

View Woodbridge's profile


3718 posts in 3159 days

#10 posted 11-29-2012 04:11 AM

Fabulous work, truly imaginative and skilfully crafted!

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

484 posts in 3076 days

#11 posted 11-29-2012 04:23 AM

My hat’s off to you RusticJohn. I know all about the challenges of carving small scale and fine details. You’ve got my respect. Very fine work.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View RusticJohn's profile


219 posts in 4332 days

#12 posted 11-29-2012 04:47 AM

Thanks again Guys. Some of the Knives I have used are shown in previous projects.

-- RusticJohn

View Eli Adamit's profile

Eli Adamit

743 posts in 4031 days

#13 posted 11-29-2012 08:27 AM

John, don’t hope – be sure, I like it very much. I know and appreciate how much it is difficult to curve small scales. I like the idea behind the curving and the result is marvelous. good luck with the competition.

-- Eli Adamit, Israel

View Egor's profile


135 posts in 4691 days

#14 posted 11-29-2012 10:47 AM

Awesome job. Your concept and work are great. Thanks for sharing

-- Brock, Illinois

View jackthelab's profile


313 posts in 3434 days

#15 posted 11-29-2012 12:57 PM


Nice work. I like the execution with the theme in mind throughout all of it. A possible suggestion? How about considering the life stages of a butterfly or something else in nature? Since the medium is organic, then perhaps the theme should represent something else in nature. Just a thought – keep up the beautiful work and thanks so much for sharing.

-- Dave in Minnesota - If it ain't broke, improve it!

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