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Sculpture/Oberammergau wood carvings

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woodcutter carving
woodcutter carving  

woodcutter carving
woodcutter carving  
My Aunt has two carvings (see attached) she purchased in Oberammergau, Bavaria(Germany)  The frame of one in particular is very dried out.  We have no idea of the type of wood in the carving or framing around it.  She wants to know how to clean both pieces and what to do about the dried wood.  Beeswax, polish, stain,etc.?  We haven't done anything and want to wait for an expert's opinion.  Thank you for any help you can give us.

Answer
Hi Laurie....the typical wood used in Bavaria is lindenwood but the grain lines lead me to believe it might be a golden oak.  It is very difficult to identify wood by a photo.  I suggest you visit a good carpenter in your area for a definitive answer.  As for cleaning and restoring.  Boiled linseed oil will bring The frame back to life. You don't boil it, that's the product name. Wipe on a light layer and then wipe it off using a soft cloth.  Cleaning is more involved.  It is usually advised not to clean a vintage or antique carving however if it is covered with dirt, smoke, grease and grime a little light cleaning can be accomplished with out destroying the original finish.  First dust then using a soft toothbrush and a very diluted solution of water and liquid dish detergent , brush gently. Be sure to absorb any excess water. After this light cleaning, you should apply either some beeswax or uncolored paraffin and then buff it out with a soft clean cotton cloth.  Be sure not to leave excess wax in the corners and crevices. All of these products should be available at your local hardware store.  
If a more thorough cleaning is desired, please allow an expert to do the work.  This is a beautiful carving. Thank you for sharing and for the interesting question.  Have a good day.

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maura macaluso

Expertise

I AM NOT AN APPRAISER and will reject most questions of this sort.....I am am passionate woodcarver and historian, I place no weight on monetary value. I can answer most questions, regarding, wood sculpture, wood carving, carving tools and accessories and different types of woods. I am not an appraiser of carvings nor an antique dealer. Most carvings are unsigned and otherwise anonymous and most carvers were independent artists and craftsmen of whom no records were kept. It is usually not possible to tell you who carved it, where it was carved or how much it is worth.

Experience

I do full design work, custom carving, restoration, fabrication, repair and refinishing. I can take a piece of raw wood and turn it into a work of art and I can help you do the same. I am "the" carving instructor for the new york city parks dept. I am heavily involved in carving on the internet and belong to many, many mail lists which are quite active. I am also an international promoter of woodcarving and am affiliated with many master carvers, notably nora hall, originally from holland, now in the U.S. and kalina pavlova, a bulgarian master carver. I routinely communicate with the top names in professional woodcarving nationally and internationally.

Organizations
the national association of woodcarvers. the woodcarvers of queens NY, the staten island woodcarvers. the northeast woodcarving association. the world wide carving internet list

Publications
chip chats-the national magazine of woodcarving. also at www.carvinginnyc.com

Education/Credentials
Self taught artist and sculptor, 40 years of drawing and painting as a hobby, 10 years of serious woodsculpting. I have a website and have written a 300 pg book on carving. I have published online tutorials and pictorial projects.

Awards and Honors
many first place awards

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