Saturday, May 19, 2018

"Triple H's Soft Side"

"Triple H's Soft Side" is being gifted to a rather quiet Cast Member with a fun-loving
off-stage personality. Stephanie, thanks to info from her close friend Rod, we find out loves WWE, video games, Impressionist artists and craft beer.
Hearing the above suggestions, the ideas for the pieces of this carving came together quite easily.
Triple H is one of Stephanie's favorite WWE heroes. The photo selected made for an easy rough out.
So, the unique and subtle details will be the trick to get all the pieces to come together.
The photo is trimmed and traced onto the tupelo block.

The sketch is cut from the block and trimmed as a template. The piece is just over 1/8" thick. This template holds up better than the paper to give me the front outline.

The template is traced on the front, then the figure is coped out with the band saw.
Now for the profile. Once the side of the figure is reasonably established its back to the band saw.
The wooden template on the left will be utilized quite often for
overall figure sizing as the piece is reduced.
Next, the roughing with a course burr can begin. 

Depending on the intricacy of a piece, the roughing stage can be somewhat more frustrating as the piece is reduced in bulk. Leaving enough wood in the right places must be well thought out. It helps to work the entire piece down to size then comes the detail.
Once all the arm, leg bands, wrist tape and face are clearly showing, the fun begins...
finish shaping and smoothing.

As for the rest of the pieces, the craft beer bottle was simple. The actual WWE belt is extremely detailed. It was decided to "KISS" the belt! (Keep It Simple Stupid)
The WW emblem was easy enough. The side plates are simply the initials of the recipient.

Holes and studds to secure the belt will be added.
Below are the six pieces that make up "Triple H's Soft Side."
At the bottom left is a Villain from "The Legend of Zelda" video game.
The poor fellow with a broken sword is about to be "stepped on" by Triple H.
However, the simple looking painting easel and frame took over three hours one Sunday morning!
Three or four prior easels found their way to the trash bucket! 
Here are the finished pieces.
The bottle is stained and the label is from a photo printed on regular paper.
The Villain with a broken sword is "squished" beneath Triple H's foot.
Van Gogh in his place of honor.
"Triple H's Soft Side"
The piece measures 9 1/2"W X 8"H X 7"D.
Triple H is 7" tall.
(Note: Every carving this carver creates is a gift. The enjoyment of each project comes from selecting the  unsuspecting recipient and the well researched and personalized suggestions that goes into each carving.
"Triple H's Soft Side" is the 81st carving since 2009. Except for but a few special request carvings, each carving was a complete surprise to the recipients.
I'd like to take a moment to send out a special thank you to all my unofficial "Sleuths" who can keep a secret and who make all this so much fun and deeply rewarding.)


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Oliver & Daisy at the Shore

Oliver and Daisy are just about one month beyond my intended completion date. Some of the delay was partially due to frustration thinking about carving two of the same figures! As you might have guessed, I used the same photo and simply reversed one of them. You'd think that carving the same figure would be easier. However, after fussing with the details of the first piece, there's a tendency to carve the second one faster. Of course, that leads to some differences and/or mistakes. In the case of Oliver and Daisy, thankfully they worked up quite well.

The idea for "Oliver and Daisy at the Shore" came from a good friend of recipients, Tom and Laurie. Sadly, I learned Oliver is no longer with us. But Tom and Laurie's love of their Dachshunds is very deep and close to their hearts. This is one of the few pieces I've carved intended for a couple. I'm confident "Oliver and Daisy at the Shore" will more than meet my expectations when it comes to what this piece will mean to Tom and Laurie.

Oliver and Daisy are carved from a single piece of tupelo wood. Each piece is roughly 3 1/2" high and 4 1/2" long.
After tracing and a few minutes on the band saw Oliver and Daisy are ready to come to life.

Can you pick out a concern with each pooch's legs? Look at the left pooch's rear left leg and the right pooch's rear right leg. The photo used for the templates is taken at angle above the plane they are standing on. Hence the legs mentioned are not long enough to be standing flat on all four legs. Problem solved with a couple of "extensions" added.

The slow process of "roughing" begins. (It's only slow because you try to not cut off or into, the wood you need for other features.)

I decided to rough both pieces at the same time, which helped in some of the tougher spots.

Below, this point of the pieces is where the fun begins. The final reduction of the features begin to move quicker and the piece takes on a "life" of its own.
The piece is ready for its final finishing with a 150g burr and subtle details are added.
The pieces are typically somewhat larger than what is anticipated. As the piece gets closer to its final shape, consideration is given to just how small you want the delicate features to be. This carver tends to leave finer details thicker/larger so the piece can be handled with less chance of breakage.

Oliver and Daisy will be held in place by 1/8" dowels and glued in place.
The sign post will say "Jersey Shore" because both Tom and Laurie's other love is the Jersey Shore line. Placement of the pooches and the sign was simple but something else was needed to "balance" the shore scene. My wife Pat, suggested a beach pail and perhaps a starfish crawling out of the pail.
The base is covered with glued-on sawdust "sand." The "footprints" of the pieces are left open for gluing.
All of the pieces are sealed with sanding sealer and when dry, smoothed out with a 400g burr,
painted with acrylic colors and sealed with water base clear satin.
"Oliver and Daisy at the Shore"

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Voices For Generations

The enjoyment of being able to gift a craft to someone is greatly enhanced when one is able to match the theme/meaning of the piece to the recipient's own experiences and/or likes. In the case of "Voices For Generations," this became especially true for this carver.
Frank, the recipient of this piece is a Disney Tour Guide. He has the good fortune to assist many very special guests and over the years he's met and become quite close to celebrities that we can only dream of meeting. The idea for "Voices For Generations" is from Ken, our coordinator. Once Frank was identified to be the next carving recipient, Ken provided me with an idea that truly made this project a must do piece. For nearly a dozen years, Frank was the Guide for a wonderful couple who just happened to be a big part of the Disney Legacy. Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor, the voices of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Frank's relationship with them grew over time and they became Frank's most enjoyable and memorable couple to host. (A simple search on the internet will tell their beautiful story.)

"Voices For Generations" began as a 4" X 8 X 31/2" block of tupelo. I decided to make the two famous mice out of a single block of tupelo which meant each piece had to be smaller and more intricate. With photos from the web, sized to fit the wood, I traced the cut outs onto the blank.

From there it was trimming on the bandsaw.

Of late, I've begun cutting off the drawings with the band saw leaving them thick enough to allow me to trim them to redraw the image onto the blank. When a character/object is carefully cut and trimmed, I'm able to use the template for the back and front of the blank enabling me to keep the "lines" of the piece from front to back.

With the image on the blanks it's possible to "guesstimate" where to remove bulk wood to begin the process of roughing out the characature.
This is the reverse usage of the template.

Mickey is beginning to shape up (so to speak).

Soon, we're making quick progress.

It's Minnie's turn!

Being a good companion, Mickey took special interest in Minnie's progress.

Minnie needed just a bit of "surgery!" Due to some rushing on the part of this carver, Minnie's right arm and hand were somewhat misshapen... so, off with her arm! To boot, her right ear was also in need of care.
As you can see, the "surgery" went well and the two will live "Happily Ever after" they say!
I guess Mickey and Minnie had as much fun going through this project as I did!
Oh, about their tails... their tails are curled up under their clothes.

Minnie and Mickey are ready to share a long term pose to honor two people who made them come alive and become a part of the lives for generations of people of all ages.

"Voices For Generations"