Mansbendel Studio-Congress Ave. elevation-Fehr archive

Mansbendel Studio-Congress Ave. elevation-Fehr archive

Mansbendel Studio sign in Cypress-approximately 3' H x 2'W

Mansbendel Studio sign in Cypress-approximately 3' H x 2'W

Mansbendel sculpting in studio

Mansbendel sculpting in studio

Clay bust by PM...possibly Cardinal Newman

Clay bust by PM...possibly Cardinal Newman

Mansbendel's carving tools-most European made

Mansbendel's carving tools-most European made

L. Marcotte and Co. carving studio in NYC where  PM worked  1907-1911

L. Marcotte and Co. carving studio in NYC where PM worked 1907-1911

Example Frame

Mansbendel Studio

Architect/Builder: Peter Mansbendel
Year: 1915
Style: Classic
Areas of Significance: Art
City: Austin

The Mansbendel Studio

From 1915 until 1940 and just 9 blocks from the Texas Capitol building the "Mansbendel Studio" was located at 109 East 9th on the corner of Congress Ave. Potential customers would walk into the studio for a visit, and would often sit in his beautifully carved Queen Anne chairs and watch in amazement for hours. Mansbendel, always the showman, would often sing in his wonderful baritone voice, tell stories or smoke his beloved pipe and the wood chips would fly.

Before him he would arrange on his carving bench some 75 carving gouges and chisels. These gouges and chisels were primarily made in Germany and Sheffield, England and ranged in all sizes and shapes with different shaped beech wood handles. The same hand tools are used in wood carving today.Each tool has a different shape and curvature of the blade, and this allowed the carver to achieve different movements and shapes within his carvings and sculptures. Mansbendel would line up the tools with the gouges and chisels pointing them towards himself that way he can easily distinguish the blades of the tools saving him valuable carving time. Standing at his workbench he would carefully layout the pattern on the wood. He would then reach to the back of the carving bench, select a tool and pressed it gently into the clean wood and scoop out curly chips of virgin lumber. If it was to be a relief carving with a V tool, he would outline the shape to be carved and set it in with stop cuts around the edge. Then, working across the grain he would strip away large chucks of wood leaving the background. The visitors often thought Mansbendel was simply butchering wood to make shavings, but by the time he stopped the visitors were open mouthed as the desired object materialized before their eyes.

       He would say with much flair "the design is in the wood and I just knock the portions away that aren't of importance" After the rough out work had taken place, final modeling and shaping to the work was executed. This was usually done with single, uninterrupted cuts of a gouge/chisel to leave clean surfaces  that would unify the detail. Except for portrait carvings surfaces were never sanded, crisp tool marks were left for texture and effect. He was asked "how do you know where to begin?

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