Earlier artisans used Burma teak or rosewood for carving. At present artisans are using a tree wood called Vengai tree which is available in local. Big logs of wood are cut into desired size and shape with the help of cutting machine. The paper sheet is first cut into the required size on which animal and floral motifs of the required length are drawn. Then the outer part of design is traced on the wood.
Once the outer sketch is done then it is darkened with pencil and the details are drawn. The unwanted parts are scrapped out with the router machine, which is usually done by trained person. Then the smaller unwanted parts are removed with the help of chisel hammered by a wooden mallet. The designed part are carved slant to scrap the hard outer surface of the wood. Different types of tools like pointed, flat, blunt tools are used to engrave the pattern of design on the wood. Detail and intricate designs are carved in the end, as it involves lot of precision, which needs patience and time.
After finishing the carving work, article is rubbed using sand paper in order to obtain the smooth surface. To enhance the appearance of the woodcarvings two-three coats of polish is being applied on the carved article either by spraying or by brushing on it to enhance the look of the product and protect from termites. At the earlier time polishing was done using natural colors made up or prepared from flowers and leaves. But at the present the chemical polish is used for the polishing which is available in local markets.
Flow Chart of The Process:
The varieties of woodcarving done in Kariakudi have huge range of products. The products are deities, idols, wooden frame, chairs, and Chettinadu antique cupboards, Pooja Mantap, table and many decorative items. In the olden days the Bearu (Chettinadu antique cupboards) and table was gifted to the daughters during wedding.
The beautifully carved wood has skillful effort by the artisans. Earlier design motifs of God and Goddesses, animals and flowers were used, at present the designs improvised with the touch of today’s generation designs.
The products are made according to the customer’s demand. The most famous carvings are - The big doors of Chettinad houses with majestic look and rigidity, Windows with intricate carvings of floral patterns, Pooja Mantap, wooden pillars, roof wood work, furniture and other interiors of the Chettinad dwellings.