I have left the inside cuts un-cut as yet and have proceeded to carve out the chain link and swivel, just in case the swivel was not possible to free. I had to use my hand-made bent (heavily bent) chisels, made from piano wire, to get access to the area deep in the cleft of the large heart.
White beech is the softest timber I have carved so far and I'm finding that this softness presents its own problems. To begin with it is much 'easier' to carve, requiring less strength but even greater care is necessary because; cuts can go deeper, a slip can leave a damaging gash, non cutting parts of tools can leave dents, files have to be used carefully and without undue pressure or they will compress and burnish the timber surface rather than cutting and a little more 'on-the-fly' planning has to employed in general as you carve.
I am more used to the quiet violence of imposing form on the valiant resistance of hard timbers than the easy surrender to every errant cut that the softer wood continually threatens. I'm sure this experience will be valuable but I'm also hoping that the entire design will hold up in this timber.
At the bottom of the right hand corner of the design is a knot that I had hoped did not go all the way through or at least became solid toward the centre of the timber block.
Unfortunately it does go all the way in a raggedly open form and so this portion will have to be removed changing the design.The change will only be minimal however, just a small part of the smoke cloud from the dragon's breath.