Basic LuRon Guidelines


These are very basic guidelines. They are not meant to cover all the techniques that the NWDA uses, but rather to state the most basic fundamentals of going from raw found wood to finished sculpture.

The goal of the LuRon method is to reveal the inner beauty of the wood itself as it occurred naturally. When shaping the wood into sculptural forms, it is the LuRon tradition to make any changes appear to have occurred naturally.

1. Preliminary cleaning:
Hose off the piece, use a stiff brush, a chisel or screwdriver to remove all loose dirt, bark and rotted material before bringing the piece indoors. Naturally occurring objects may remain in the wood.

2. Shape:
Remove any material that conflicts with main image or design. Use saws, electric grinder, hand or power chisel or heavy rasp.

3. Scrape:
Remove dead cells with router blade scrapers or whatever works for you.

4. Cleaning oils or products:
Use feeding oil or a cleaning product such as Murphy’s soap, or environmentally safe cleaner and water. Continue scraping and repeat until all dead material is removed.

5. Smooth surface:
Smooth surface with increasingly finer grades of sandpaper as needed.

6. Finish:
Create a natural looking finish

7. Presentation:
Overall statement of the sculpture; its artistic appeal, continuity and balance with a good integration of the base and sculpture.
Additional clarifying notes:

In Driftwood Sculpture, the artist tries to bring out the design that is inherent in the wood. We do not carve specific details or add anything to it such as eyes, feathers, feet, etc. That is one of the differences between a carving and a sculpture. A woodcarving’s main emphasis is on mood, expression, balance, design movement and form. Each piece is unique. It cannot be copied.

We do carve, but our tradition is to make the sculpture look like it was created by nature.

Another specific requirement of the LuRon method is the finish. We do not like our sculptures to have a hard surface finish that reflects the light as shellac or varnish that gives too high a gloss. We try for a soft finish that gives depth to the wood, the hand-rubbed look of fine furniture.

The sculpture itself should be the main focus of any mounting. No visible, extraneous or distracting attachments such as screws, nails, glue, etc.

In following the LuRon method: No foreign objects (except those that are naturally occurring. No obvious carving although shaping is fine. The sculpture must be carefully cleaned with no tool marks or scratches. The finish must be soft and natural looking.

Our Teachers Manual encourages us “to do as little or as much as we wish toward changing the original form.” We are encouraged to open up areas, enhance focal points, eliminate unnecessary wood and shape “with gusto.” Each individual is challenged to become a “seer” and bring out the hidden grace and beauty of their wood.

Arline De Palma