I was keeping one tutorial elsewhere on the web, that page is shutting down, so I've moved the one that's actually complete over here. If you work hard, you can get a little reindeer done in time for the holidays. Here are two versions, the tutorial shows a third variation- make them your own, try and make eight (I have not succeeded yet they turn up missing after every party). Paint em, stain em. wax em, or leave them as they are. Carve in eyes nose mouth, or woodburn if you can, draw them in if you like-
I couldn't resist writing a little more about this knife, HappyHal on the other forum made him as part of my Crazy Train Knife Project. Before HH started he asked if I had any other hobbies besides whittling, said he would try to use the info when carving a knife for me- result is the chess themed knife here, HH calls him King Egghead and he came with a little story:
He's the meanest king on the chessboard. If he doesn't like how things are going he will blow his stack and carve the offending piece into a pawn.
That's my kind of king. The reference to blowing his stack refers to the fact that Egghead's head is a blade keeper.
Check on the right for a link to a new page, just added: Crazy Train Knife Project photos. I have photos of all my carved knives there, thanks to all who particpated. Many more knives due to come bin, I'll post pics there as they arrive.
With a dozen or so knives back from my Crazy Train Knife Project I couldn't resist shirking my obligations to take some time to do a little whittling. Here's the latest:
He's a little 3" tall Gnomish bottle stopper in basswood, finish is an experiment with tinted water based urethane. Dry time is 30 minutes or so, clean up is soap & water- I have no issues with water base raising the grain since I do not use power tools or sandpaper. He was fun, I'll do more- next one won't have such a flat nose.
I also did a 'commision' piece for my daughter, she asked for an elephant a while back. Since she is old enough and has started to develop a taste for wine, I made him a bottle stopper too- just cant stand the thought of a lazy whittling sitting or standing around doing nothing when there is work to be done. He started life as a 2 inch cube, more or less-
While cruising the WCI forums the other day I was reminded of a finish I have not used in years that holds excellent promise for use on carvings. This one's gonna take some work, we have to mix it, and some extra materials, but I think it's worth it. We'll start with the recipe:
Polyurethane, spirit based, not the water based kind
Mineral spirits (commonly called paint thinner too)
Mix equal parts of all three items.
We're gonna get a penetrating finish that hardens in the surface of the wood, and leaves a nice oil patina. It offers more protection than the oil alone, imparts a nice low luster shine, enhances the grain, but does not build on the surface like the urethane alone would.
I've been looking back over my work, both in carving and knifemaking, and recognized repeated bits of Japanese influence. Its not constant, but it is more prevalent than any other influence (I think). Oriental art has always faxcinated me, I've spent time at Origami (Japanese paper folding) and Tangrams, a Japanese puzzle game. As a bachelor my pad was decorated with fans and oriental style art.
This little reindeer, a holiday project and blog entry, reminds me of an Origami animal. In Origami, imagination is required; my whittling require it too. The legs, the tail here in particular make me think of folded paper. The roughly triangular profile to the body is similar to many origami figures too.
I've blogged about my knives, you can visit one or both my knife pages on the right side over there. I was heavily influenced by the Kiridashi Kogatana images I saw on the web. Fishknife here is my one and only successful attempt to emulate those knives. There will be other attempts- thick tool quality steel is not so easy to come by, and sculpting a knife like this without heat treating takes considerable time. I've gotten my hands on a piece of leaf spring from a truck, stay tuned...
Wow, almost a year has gone by since my last (successful) post. I can partially blame Blogger.com for technical problems, but the truth is they corrected their issues months ago, I've been busy not whittling.
I'm still (mostly) not whittling.
I did get a request for a dozen beginners knives from a friend who teaches, the parameters were good blades, simple walnut handles, medium size Wharncliffe blade made from a Personna floor scraper blade. Faced with keeping costs down, I finally motorized my honing and stropping processes.
Shoulda done that sooner. Saved me hours on those 12 knives.
Mechanizing also provided a new learning curve. In the interest of getting over the curve as quickly as possible, I posted to the WCI forum offering to send 2 Personna knives to anyone who wanted one- both would have 1.25" square Basswood blanks for handles, the recipient was to carve two knife handles and return one to me. I figured Id end up with another dozen knives to make, and would work the kinks out of my improved process toot sweet. In addition I'd get an awesome collection of unique knives- I seem to have trouble making any for myself, thought this win-win situation would round out my tool bag.
So far 33 people have signed up- that's 66 knives. I'm gonna need a bigger shadow box. Pic shows three steps- blades & blanks separate, blades glued in but not sharpened, knives with rubber corks on the ends are ready to ship. I'll post pics here and on the WCI forum as carved knives come back.