Beckjord casts are of three sorts. He typically makes clay models and studies for carvings. Some of these are sufficiently appealing to be valued in their own right. These he casts for his collectors and patrons.
In the case of most carvings, one exemplar is sufficient if not more than so. However occasionally one succeeds so well that it merits duplication in a cast. The sculptor has made them in plaster, clay, cement, fiberglass and paper mache, but he prefers bronze for its longevity.
Finally, Beckjord makes models that are unrelated to carving. He generally finishes a plaster cast from a waste mold, then makes a permanent silicone rubber mold for casting in bronze and other media.
Beckjord has carved tropical hardwoods and judges them far and away the finest material for wood sculpture. However he questions the manner in which they are taken and opts to do his best with domestic woods of known origin.
Good sculpture can be made from less than optimal wood. Rick carved one of his best pieces in a block of ordinary maple so badly rotted in places that it could not stand up to the sharpest gouge and could only be shaped with sandpaper.
However the sculptor intends to use good woods, of which there are plenty. From apple, butternut and cherry to walnut, each with its own beauty of color and grain.
Stone carvings combine natural beauty of the material with durability. Rick has carved marble and appreciates its ability to take fine detail and its high tensile strength. But because marble can not withstand the modern curse of acid rain he prefers to work the igneous stone available in Sullivan, of which there is an abundance.
Glaciers brought stone of all sorts from the north and deposited it in immense deposits, now mined for gravel. Boulders, a byproduct of this industry, are available for the taking from pits up Punkinville Road. Of these the sculptor prefers the basalts, which are hard but work predictably and take a high polish.’
He has learned to avoid stone that has been blasted out as it has unseen cracks and will break in the carving. Fresh quarried stone is best: unweathered and sound. He gets it from an operator in West Sullivan: The Sullivan Granite Quarry, purveyor of a grey granite that is an excellent material for carving.