The ideas for this piece stem from the recipients friends. Chris is in the Airborne, loves to run and has been known to frequent more than a few Craft Beer establishments.
First off, we have the runner in military athletic attire sporting his Campaign hat with a keg of his favorite brew strapped to his back. The keg, I call the "P.I.R.P! Which stands for, Personal Imbibing Runner's Pack! Of course, the tank and carrier are molded to the individual. (You'll notice that the keg is not round at the top of his back.) To continue the storyline, the P.I.R.P. has a special internal regulator that allows the individual to draw in the elixir without the highly compressed liquid being forced into the drinker. It works similarly to the SCUBA tank only with a liquid.
The carving starts out as a 3"x4"x7" block of tupelo. Centerlines are identified on the block and an image of the piece is outlined.
Recently, I've been trimming the entire image from the face of the block about 1/8" thick and then edging it out so I can use the piece as a template. In this case, I used the template for the left and right side of the figure.
Below, the template has been carefully trimmed and then outlined onto the block.
Next the band saw removes as much of the bulk from the figure as possible.
Much of the bulk can now be removed with a burr. This step begins to bring out the overall figure.
Here, you can see by simply flipping the template, the right side can easily be outlined.
From this point on the figure begins the reducing and finish shaping stages
This is the first piece I've carved that will stand on one leg. I came up with the idea to insert a metal rod into the foot/leg the runner will be positioned on. The concern is that the leg may not be strong enough to withstand very much handling. The runners left leg is somewhat thicker than his right leg. Having to run a 3/16" drill up his leg to his thigh confirmed my decision to leave some thickness to his leg. (After all this work, I really didn't want the drill cutting out from the side of his leg!)
The rod is inlaid flush into the gluing extension at the bottom of the sneaker.
The base and runner are sealed and ready for color. The thin plastic tube between the pieces is the drinking tube for the keg.
Here's the finished piece, "The Airborne Runnin' Chugger."