Inspiration and Vision
I chose my upcycle aesthetic to be rustic in order to imitate my family’s mountain cabin feel because my inspiration for this project came from wooden chain links in the cabin that my grandfather’s carved. Ever since I was a little kid, I have wanted to attempt this project but it takes a lot of practice and skill to recreate his chains. Since my skills are limited and not refined, I will be making a two-link chain. In order to complete this project, I simply needed a decent-sized block of basswood, some carving tools, a straightedge, and a saw. Technically, this project could be completed with just wood and a few carving tools, but in order to make it more suitable for beginners, I have decided to start removing a majority of the wood with a saw. This last week I gathered the necessary supplies for this project. Fortunately, I have not had to purchase anything for this project since the basswood block was leftover from another project and I am borrowing the carving tools and saw. The pictures below show my supplies.
To start, I began by measuring the scrap wood at its smallest cross-section to determine the maximum width of my links. Then, I used my straightedge to mark centerlines on all six faces of the block. Next, I used the straightedge again to draw guidelines approximately ½” from both sides of the centerline. These outer parallel lines show the maximum diameter of the link’s loops. After drawing the guidelines on all of the faces, I clamped the piece of wood to my kitchen counter as shown from the image below.
I then used the saw to carefully cut the four corners of the long edges to create a cross-shaped cross-section. The cross-shaped block of wood can be seen in the image below. One chain link will occupy the vertical wood section and the other will occupy the horizontal wood section.
Finally, I made a link template out of an index card. Again, I chose the width of the chain to match the dimension at the smallest width of the woodblock. With the template, I folded the index card in half and placed it on the surface of the section of wood I just cut out. I outlined the template with a pencil and then repeated this process until I had the outlines of the two links. These outlines will serve as my guidelines for when I start carving.