Thursday, January 29, 2015

"The Pocket S & W 460XVR"

I was asked to consider carving this gun actual size. However, as you get to know me, I enjoy "developing" a carving to personalize it for the recipient. I add or tweak something to make the gift a little bit more special. In the case of the S & W 460XVR it's very large and looks like something "Dirty Harry" would carry around. I wanted this piece to be unique. I went small. Even though I found it frustrating trying to get a piece of wood to look like a highly machined majestic object, its final dimensions make the piece "cool!"

The Planning stage.
Lets try to make this beast "BIG" for its size. I selected a 1/4"=1" ratio.
The "roughing out" stage

  Now to tediously work the piece down with a Mastercarver rotary tool.

Fine grit burrs will be used to slowly reduce the piece down to size.
 A knife is used to remove most of the rounded edges.
Fine sandpaper was used to reduce the barrel and provide a "machined" appearance overall.
 The mount for the pistol is roughly carved out to make it look "rustic." I also wanted the owner to be able to remove the gun. The gun "sits" partially in the carved out shape at an angle rather than a snug fit in the cut-out. 
The mounting base is roughed out and a friend suggested "you made a nice rock." That stuck in my head. I applied a grey acrylic paint wash to the "rock."
The "rock" base is glued and screwed to the base as well.
The gun is almost chrome like in appearance. I decided to try spray painting the body of the pistol with bright silver spray paint. It worked out much better than I anticipated.
The black rear site and handle will be masked off.

 The letters/numbers were relief carved.

Below is the finished pistol and the template I tried to stay close to for an accurate ratio of 1/4" to 1" but as you can see the piece is larger than the template.
 The carving ready for sealing with Clear Satin water based Polycrylic.
The bright silver on the "metal" of the piece is not water-based so there will be no clear satin applied to it.

The finished piece

Now that's kinda cool!
If you want to see what this thing really looks like, click here:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Marvin's Castle"

This will be a carving to remember. I wasn't prepared for the frustration involved with a carving. To boot, I put myself under a "deadline" to finish this piece. The recipient will be retiring from Disney and I decided to give him a carving on his last day at work. Between trying to work burrs deep into the piece and trying to complete this piece on time I'm glad to have been able to actually complete this piece at all, let alone on time!

The idea of the Castle came from a fellow Cast Member at work, Kambria. She recalls Marvin's managerial connection to Disney World's Cinderella's Castle which is one of his proudest and most
enjoyable time of his Disney career.

The actual Castle is extremely detailed and delicate for my style of wood carving so Kambria suggested the more stylized rendition of Cinderella's Castle. The Castle's logo.

Simple.... so I thought!
First the "roughing out" stage. As much of the bulk is removed with a band saw.
 The few towers in the Logo turned out to be a bit more challenging than at first thought. A number of them are set back which means planning the location for them in the bulk of the piece. At first I was going to carve a relief carving. That meant that I'd only have to "define" the towers rather than plan much differently for the depth of the carving. Well, the piece quickly morphed into a little more than I was expecting... a 3D castle was immerging!

 The back "wall" of the piece began to be reduced in size.
I know, I can save myself some time by making "trees" behind the castle.
 I attacked the "trees" and tried going " freehand sans any tree definition lines.....
Right, that worked! Off with the "trees!"
Now I have to fabricate the rear of the Castle. I struggled with all kinds of crazy ideas so I didn't have to get into too much detail. There are lots of windows on the rear of the actual castle so I thought it best to stay clear of that. As it turns out the day I was ready to seal and paint the piece it dawned on me that a simple second story patio with a curved enclosure would have much closer (and easier than I had first thought) to the real thing.
Oh well, its done!
 The frustration came from trying to "smooth" out the tower walls working with burrs that do not lend themselves to making flat surfaces on vertical recessed walls.

I refined the surfaces to a point, then just gave in and went for the "rustic" look!
I sacrificed detail and accuracy for "uniqueness."
After all, it will be a "One of A Kind Wood Carving!"

I added a staircase in the front of the Castle to draw your eyes to the front of the Castle.

Finally, its ready for paint and on time!
The finished product from a 4" X 4" X 12" block of tupelo wood.
The piece stands 6 3/4" tall from the surface of the mounting plaque to the tip of the highest flag pole.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

"The Man With No Name"

In June of this past summer I closed up my carving bench so we could relocate. I've been dwelling on carving this classic Clint Eastwood character for months. The hiatus gave me plenty of time to work this piece out in my head. I prepped by downloading a few photos from the (so called) Spaghetti Westerns of the '60's. I can remember watching "A Fistful of Dollars" with a friend and we couldn't stop talking about it... until the next one, "For a Few Dollars More" debuted. Of course, "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" topped them all off. Eastwood's wardrobe remained the same for all three of those great westerns. With more than a little trepidation, here is my first attempt at woodcarving an actual person in the iconic pose that made Clint Eastwood famous.

The wood is tupelo and is 4"X 4" X 12". The finished carving including the base is 11 1/4" tall.

The image is sketched on the front only.  
 Once the piece is trimmed on the band saw, sketches on the side were made to show me just how deep I can cut from the front or back.
The more I can outline and trim into the piece, the better I can begin to visualize the piece.
So far, all of the above photos kept me on my toes not to cut too much away. But once the "roughing" is complete, patience becomes more important. Although, that's when you can truly notice that all your work is now beginning to look like the image you have in your mind!
I purposely left the hat brim thick to prevent me from breaking it. There's a great deal of handling as you continue to fine tune the piece.
Power carving makes for some rough surfaces that will need extra care.
The piece is "fine-tuned" and ready for sealing prior to the addition of any color.
The base is fitted to the piece.
The ever-present "stogy" in his mouth (actually a tricked out end of a toothpick) is attached.
The piece is sealed with Min-Wax Clear #209 wood stain.
The area under the feet is cut in a shape that I choose and the base is cut out with a router to fit the shape at the bottom of the piece. I prefer to inlay my carvings to the base for longevity. I typically add a screw from the bottom of the base into the piece for more support. The screw hole in the base is countersunk and plugged.
The paint is acrylic.
I hope you enjoy....
"The Man With No Name"