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A Horse of a Different Color

Ontario Woodcarver
March 1999
by Bernie Iles

Fine old hotels seem to hold a fascination for me, so when I stopped off in Honolulu on my holidays, it was no surprise that my wife and I took time to walk into one of the oldest hotels along the beach. I don't mean by old that it was run-down — far from it! The architecture and the decor were marvelous and it still seemed to retain the dignity of grandeur of years gone by.

What really caught my eye, however, was a beautiful carved rocking horse. About 5 feet high, it was constructed with at least 15 different kinds of woods, all of which grew in Hawaii. No paint had been used, but the selection of various coloured woods gave it the impression that it had been. The grain direction of each piece was arranged so that it flowed with the body, and whilst joint lines could be seen, they were perfect fits and did not affect the overall appearance.

After inquiring at the hotel desk, I managed to get some information on it along with a copy of [a] diagram ... indicating the different kinds of woods used. I had rather proudly named all the different woods to my wife when I first saw the horse, only to find later that I didn't get one of them right. However, I quickly covered up by saying that some countries have different names for their woods. I must check with Dave Eadie to see if that's right.

Holden Wood Design's interest lies in making one-of-a-kind pieces from a wide variety of woods. The artists never stain any of the woods they work with and they select each wood for its grain patterns and natural colour, allowing the different woods to play off each other.

I must say it really was a beautiful job on this rocking horse and I hope this approach will give you some ideas for future projects. If this article doesn't persuade you, perhaps the asking price for the rocking horse may help.

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