Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"JJ's Wild Ride"

"JJ's Wild Ride" turned out to be one of my most ambitious carvings. Normally, I like to make carvings from one piece of wood. I gave up on that idea with this piece and went with two separate pieces, the "rider" and the "scooter."  (I figured what the heck, I'm getting older why put myself through that much frustration.) I'm glad I did. It made the piece(s) all that much more fun because it was much easier to handle and worked up much quicker.

At first the "rider" was to be fastened to the seat. You can see the initial plan to carve a gluing plug at the "riders" butt which would be glued into his seat in the photo below. I decided against gluing the rider to the seat. The rider can be easily place on his seat by placing his hands on the handlebars and pivoting him down onto his seat.
 With the design laid out, removing excess wood on the band saw was simple.
 The scooter is carved in tupelo wood. The rider is carved in basswood.
(And it will be the last carving I undertake in basswood!
I worked extra hard to remove all the "fuzzies" from carving him with burrs.)

Once again I was fortunate enough to be able to trim the sketches off the piece for references.

At first, I can get reasonably aggressive removing wood on both pieces.

To begin fitting the rider, I had to stop at the stages above to give me some room to "fit" him to the scooter.
About this time I began to give serious thought as to what I can get away with regarding the handlebars. It's safe to say they'd be broken by the time I could get them thin enough to do the job.


Working my way into the handle bars and the gauge cluster I reasoned it best to use a piece of metal for the handle bars. But, how do I glue a round tube so it will not rotate in its place.

Thanks to a local craft store, I picked up a selection of soft (bendable) aluminum rods.
They fit the bill perfectly. I bent them with pliers so I could make tighter bends however, the soft metal marks easily. (I can live with the marks!) The way the aluminum marks so easily gave me the idea to make bigger "gouges" (similar to knurling) using the plier jaws in the center of the rod which will be glued to the top of the "forks" giving the glue something to "bite" into and prevent the handlebars from rotating. The notch for the handlebars was completed by first drilling a  1/8" hole through the point where the handlebars would be fitted. Then using a tiny rotary saw made two slices to make a notch to slide the handlebars into the fork area.
After adding lots of instant glue, I fit a small piece of wood (with a fair amount of pressure) into the cut out for the handlebars and finished it off.

 After much finishing with fine and extra fine burrs the pieces were ready for sealing and color.
You may notice at this point, I removed the base at the tires. I originally planned to leave the base on so I would have a reasonably good support on the finished mount rather than tiny spots at the bottom of the tires. It worked out better to remove the base. Plus, I had better access to the underbody of the scooter. 

 At last, both pieces are ready for sealing.
 All along I kept planning how to secure the scooter to the base so it will hold up under being handled. I came up with the idea to run a long thin woodscrew through the mount and into the most central solid section of the scooter, in front of the rear wheel. I added a 1/8" dowel to the front and rear wheel to prevent the piece from pivoting.
I learned a good lesson when tightening the screw to hold the piece to the mount. I needed to draw the piece down strong enough to "bottom out" the dowels in the tires. Then I fitted the rider only to notice....  he didn't fit properly from the seat to the handlebars. He was sitting almost on top of the rear seat back rest! The scooter was flexing due to the force pulling down on the center of the scooter.
Thankfully, the piece didn't crack! I backed off the screw and the fix was in
Here's "JJ's Wild ride."

 Oh, as you can see "JJ's" having a bit of trouble controlling his "wild ride," he can't stay in his own lane!

Of course, every motor vehicle is required to have a license plate...
And... of course working for Disney, you have to have a "hidden Mickey!"

And, of course, for safety, the headlamp must work! It and the gauges are painted with "glo-paint!"

So long!




Sunday, January 17, 2016

"Andy of Mayberry"

"Andy of Mayberry" is going to an Andy Griffiths super fan. "Andy" is carved from a 3"x4"x7" piece of tupelo wood.
Starting out on the band saw, "Andy" is trimmed and the carving blank is ready for carving.
The next stage is where nearly all of my pieces begin to change their shapes from my first drawing. The "front view" is always my most defined view of the piece. Once I begin to cut into the piece I loose the guide lines.
I almost never draw a side view before I take the piece to the band saw. Now I establish the center lines of each side.

Now for some side view drawings.
Side view drawings are typically rough and mainly to provide a "depth gauge" as to how best to remove excess wood to a point where I can "see" the bulk shape of the piece.

Roughing the piece.
This piece and a few others I was afforded the opportunity to remove the front drawing to help with the detail of the image to transfer the (hoped) appearance of the piece as it was first drawn.
This stage of carving is where you make or break the outcome of the piece. Cutting too much wood away is what you strive not to do. At this point, it's best to work the overall piece as you go.

Now you can begin to make out the "rough" image. Sometimes, I find myself always wanting to cut arm holes, leg spacing, etc. too soon only to notice I've made the forearm longer/shorter than the upper arm. Or too much is cut and the arm/appendage is too thin on the inside surface.
I'd say the "roughing" stage is the most frustrating part of any piece for this carver.
Rendering the piece.
But, once I'm past the roughing stage the Mastercarver rotary tool is working overtime!

Now, it's a matter of working the piece to its finish.

Not being an artist, I realize carving a person's face is not this carver's forte. Hence, I like to carve caricatures. With that said, I cover for a lack of facial image quality by adding supporting details that
bring the carving all together, i.e. (in this carving) fishing rod, badges, etc. For that matter, any detail that can be added to make a piece more visually desirable for a given recipient helps draw attention away from artistic flaws. Call it "artist expression!"

 "Andy's" fishing rod is complete with a rod, reel, fishing line and bobber.
(I admit I gave up on the idea of fishing line hoops and simply glued the line in a cut line in the rod.)
"Andy" is positioned on the base and the base lightly outlined in pencil.
A point is marked on the base that is at the thickest part of the carving that will allow one or two screws to be run through the bottom of the base and into the piece. The base will also be glued to the piece. After fitted to the base, "Andy" will be sealed with #209 stain and ready for paint.
"Andy" is finished and ready for his new home.

"Andy of Mayberry" was a fun piece to carve.