Acanthus Leaf - Black Walnut

This is a project very close to my heart. I first saw the acanthus leaf perched at the top of columns in old buildings in London. There’s something about the acanthus leaf that makes it stand out - the incredible fractality throughout.

I had a lot of fun carving this. And carving such an old ornament (found in sculpture as early as 1000 BC), you can’t help but feel humbled – 3000 odd years ago, someone like me was making the same thing. What were their dreams like? What drove them and their creative pursuits?

Here’s the leaf in her full glory - the chosen ornament of Western civilization, the muse of the great architect Callimachus, the artistic vision for over a hundred generations of mankind - acanthus.

Mahogany Paisley Carving

I carved this out of a slab of mahogany. The paisley shape originated in Persia, was adopted heavily in Indian design, is a regular feature in henna and other art forms, and was adopted heavily by the print industry in Glasgow.

For this couple that contributed heavily to my life and my mental health, this was my way of saying thanks.

I was operating on a very tight deadline so I couldn’t clean things up as much as I wanted.

As we say, the next piece will always be better.

Basswood Carving

A basswood carving. Finished first with polyurethane, which was a disaster. Rescued (sort-of) with a gel stain.

Kitchen Tools - Spatula And Serving Board

I want to share a couple more woodworking projects.

The first is a jatoba spatula, the second a bloodwood cutting board.

Jatoba is a stunning wood - after sanding down to 1500 grit, when you run your finger on the surface, it has this velvety, posh, expensive feel.

It feels gorgeous to look at, it is amazing to touch.

The bloodwood board was rescued from a scrap bin and cleaned up.

Removing the dirt and grime revealed a surface full of character and vibrant colors. The contrast between the live edge and the grain, the reds, the blacks and the yellows - this is a masterpiece forged by nature - one no man can produce.

Cedar, Maple, Purpleheart Coasters

After my recent bookstand project, I was looking for a simple project to put left-over lumber to good use. These coasters are what I came up with.

A tree is the epitome of a selfless life - it provides shelter and sustenance for decades and it is sad to see any part of such a worthy being go to waste.

In this post I describe a quick project combining cedar, purpleheart and maple. The combination is aesthetically pleasing and can be put together in a few hours with simple hand tools.

I was building this project on a tight schedule and thus things don’t line up 100% - someone with better skills or more time should produce better output.


I finally put together my first complex woodworking project with moving parts. The result looks gorgeous to me - I have rarely seen 3 woods with such different textures complement each other so well.

A Segmented Flower Vase

A couple of weeks ago, a friend came up with a challenge. Produce a low-cost, minimal flower-vase.



I just finished a new piece - peacock - laser etched on birch wood:

The peacock is India’s national bird, features in marketing copy for a couple of Florida counties and is the de-facto ruler of a county in the LA area.

As a bird, the peacock is rather unremarkable - it has a voice that inspires no positive feelings, it can’t reach great heights when it takes flight and it can’t cover long distances. It has widespread popular appeal merely due to its looks.

The superior appeal of the visual permeates all aspects of life - architecture, music videos, election campaigns, software, tools, apps - you name it.

Man will put up with anything if it just looks good.

Henna Baby Elephant

I just finished this new piece. Smaller versions were made for friends’ birthdays. The larger version was etched using a laser cutter on this beautiful piece of birch I found.

Fortior Per Mentem
(c) Shriphani Palakodety 2013-2018