Exquisite Carvings From Crude Tools

Plain tools... A Javanese craftsman uses crude handmade tools to create ornate relief carvings in solid teak.

PHOTOS BY fKAPOSI TAN

Power tools arc scarce in rhc small town of Jcpara on rhc island of Java, northwest of Australia. But exceptional woodworking abounds. Using crudc chiscis made from recycled truck springs or other scrap steel, craftsmen create ornate carvings in teak and Philippine mahogany.

And in Java, these traditional carvings are everywhere— on furniture, statues and even buildings. A well-established apprenticeship program ensures a steady supply of gifted carvers.

To carve an ornamental panel, an apprentice draws a freehand outline of his design on a piece of planed teak, using pictures as a guide. He patiently chisels and files the sccnc to completion. A less experienced apprentice then builds a teak frame to fit. The boys are mostly Muslims, but they often

... fancy carvings. Th is jungle-scene sculpture started as a solid log 3 ft. long and 10 in. in dia.

carve scenes from Hindu legend, since consumers favor this older and more distant mythology. Pastoral scenes are also common.

Although by our standards these woodworkers are poorly compensated—earning less than $ 1 an hour—the)' have achieved relative prosperity in Indonesian terms. And their woodworking culture remains rich in detail and tradition.

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

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