The Olive Wood Carving Process

In order to preserve the olive trees of the Holy land, civil law forbids cutting down these productive and beautiful ancient trees.  Subsequently, all carved pieces are made from olive wood cuttings resulting from pruning and clipping of the olive trees.
The carving process is labor-intensive and consists of several stages, involving the participation artisans of varying skill-levels.  After the wood-seasoning process is completed, drilling and cutting equipment is applied to produce a rough outline of the intended craft.  Although this takes up comparatively little time, it eliminates the most difficult and time-consuming aspects of the carving process.
Next, the piece is passed along to a skilled artisan who transforms the rough outline into a more detailed form by further cutting and chiseling.  The final steps involve careful attention to details and features, as well as sanding down the surface to produce a smooth finish.  The item is lastly polished, cleaned, and then coated with olive wax in order to give the product a natural shine and protect it from the elements.
Depending on the intended product, the carving process could take up to 7 weeks from start to finish, and most professional artisans go through an average of 6 years of training before they take on a project of their own.