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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring is Sprung- sort of

It depends on where in the country you are, our neighbors to the south are planting spring crops already, I'm not sure they can grow tulips outside there. Up in the still frozen north, well, we're still frozen, and the tulips are not blooming yet. This little guy is basswood, whittled in 4 parts and assembled with a hot glue gun, then painted with washes. I originally was going to whittle it as all one piece, and cut the roughout with that in mind. Once i picked up a knife and thought about actually starting I went back to the saw and cut it into parts. things went quickly after that, I don't time myself while whittling, but I'd say it took one afternoon to do. Overall 4" high and about 2.5" around at the leaf tips. I like the way acrylics work when the wood is wet first, seems like they penetrate better, and more evenly. You can see the wood color showing thru in parts of the leaves and stem, that was actually intentional. After painting I put on a clear coat of Fabulon Crystal, a clear water based urethane originally formulated as a floor finish. I was not real happy with it, and whittled the finish and paint off the flower to start over. It didn't brush on evenly, the drips looked awful. I'll reapply it with a rag, very thin coat, just a little protection for the paint. The pic, BTW, was taken before the clear coat. I had to work to type the word 'it' when referring to this piece in this blog entry, funny how even inanimate subjects take on a personality, isn't it? He's cute, not even sure why he's a he and not a she. That's just the way it is. I can envision a little garden full of little flowers, that's the first time I've been tempted to do a scene or collection of items. Would look cute on the windowsill all winter. So whittle something already-BfloBif

Sunday, March 27, 2011

5,000 Words Worth

If a picture is worth thousand words, then this entry is longer than the analysis I wrote on Faust in my last year of college. By a little bit. Technically, I think the pic is supposed to be painted... The controller is assembled, and has the first coat of finish. The bands of curl are starting to show nicely, and I like the contrasting buttons.
Joystick on the right is made from the same piece of redwood the body of the controller is, I scorched it with a torch then wire brushed it. The soft grain (fast growth, spring and summer)burns more readily than the the slow- growth winter grain, leaving a highly textured surface. I thought of doing that to the entire body, but the dark color wasn't working for me. I think the curl would have disappeared too.
Curl shows well here. The white joystick is a piece of lilac I took from mom & dad's yard 20 years of more ago. Its hard like a rock, very white with some color surprises inside. Kinda like Cracker Jacks.
Other woods: Alaskan yellow cedar, zebrawood, tulipwood, ebony, sycamore cocobolo, purpleheart, bocote (I think) and jaelo. I've never seen the last one, if it wasn't labeled in the grab box I got I'd have no clue.
Been a fun project. The redwood was a surprise to work with, very soft, the curl caused some consternation. One or two more coats of finish and off it goes, on the road to California. I have no problem letting go of something I've worked on, tho I'm usually face to face with the receiver. There's always a little nag in the back of my mind, wondering if the finished product matches what the customer really wanted.....

Happy carving. Don't be afraid to color outside the lines.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

XBox + Buttons

I was struggling with shaping and sizing the battery compartment and I realized the job could be done quickly and easily if I just cut the darn thing off and deal with the parts separately. Finished it up toot sweet, and glued it back on. There's the batt box, back where it belongs. Started adding the exotic bits for buttons, the bocote out front, zebrawood on the flat joystick and Alaskan yellow cedar for the power button. Purple heart triggers never made it to the photo shoot. Still some shaping to be done. The body and the joystick bumps are smoother than they were, but not quite finished yet. Stay tuned..

Saturday, March 12, 2011

XBox Progress

New pics and progress on the XBox controller, the redwood is pretty easy to carve except for the curly grain. Grain direction changes every 3/4" in places, makes it a challenge to use a knife.

I've had to expand my list of tools on this one, a knife was not going to do the job. Bandsaw and handsaw for roughing, router bit in the drill press for the flats, gouges rasps and files for the rest.

The rough shaping is pretty much done, the battery box needs a little more work, as do the bumps for the joysticks and buttons. Sanding and some wire brush work still to go. I've started to work on the add ons, joysticks and buttons will be of different woods for contrast and interest. Purpleheart and Zebrawood are definitely on the list, I'll have to dump my box of extics and other interesting woods for them.

I've done a little experimenting on finishes too, nothing to show for it yet; I'm interested in keeping the redwood as light colored as possible.

Definitely stretching my legs on this one.