I've learned a few things during this process of making my own Runes. First, but not related directly to making the Runes, I need a better camera. I tried taking some pictures of the practice Runes I made today, but they are pretty blurry... sorry about that. I wanted to show you pictures of my efforts so you could see what worked and what didn't. That will have to wait until next time.
Second, if you decide to make your own Runes, make sure you have plenty of practice wood, unless you are a woodworking expert. As I explain my progress today, you'll understand why and, I can tell you, I'm going back to my practice wood next week, to practice carving the angles of the Runes.
Carving out the space on which to carve the Runes is pretty easy with the right tools (see Runes 301 - Making Your Own Runes 3 for information on the tools I'm using). I'm simply making a flat rectangular space on the staves. The carving spaces are roughly 2.5cm (1 inch) long, covering the full width of the stave. Remember, my staves are not all the same width. To compensate for this fact, I am carving the thinner Runes, such as Isa and Laguz, on the thinner Runes (see picture below) and saving the widest staves for Runes like Dagaz and Mannaz. However, having said that, I recommend highly that you plan to have 24 four-inch long wooden Rune staves that are 2cm (3/4 inch) wide, with approximately a similar amount for practice, if you are going to follow this process.
Now, on to the practice. This is a picture of the three Runes I made today; these runes will not be part of the final set. I colored them in using a red pen, but that was just so you would be able to see the carving. When I complete my actual Runes, I will be staining them.
Again, I apologize for the quality of the picture. I will get better ones when I make the real set. These were made just for practice carving the Rune shapes. As you can see, I chose some of the easier Runes - Ehwaz, Laguz, and Isa. The staves are thin, 1cm (~1/2 inch), which is another reason to try the easier Runes. The only trouble I had with shaving the space to carve the Runes is that on the one where I carved Laguz, the bark came off all the way around the carved section. You may decide not to use the bark at all (shave it all off) or just not worry about whether or not it stays on. I am going to try to keep the bark on, because I like the way it looks, the contrast between the shaved spot and the rest of the Rune, and I like to think that it holds in the power of the wood.
When it came to carving the Runes into the wood, obviously, the straight line that is made with the grain of the wood was pretty easy. Isa was a safe place to start. For that, I used a combination of a gouge and small scratch awl. (I'll post pictures next time.) You can see the result in the picture. Making the angled lines was not as easy and, I think I may wear leather gloves next time, because I came close to cutting myself a couple of times. I may lose a little dexterity, but I'll keep my fingers intact. This time, I was just scratching in the shapes freehand. Next round, I will try sketching them onto the wood first to see if I can follow the line or if winging it is the best way to go.
I'm not disappointed with this first practice effort. In fact, I am happy that I have learned so much through the experience that I can incorporate and try the next go round. Please stay tuned for the next step in the process and look for more information on working with individual Runes mixed in with my usual readings. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know. I'm available via email. Have a wonderful week.