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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Whittling Again

I haven't whittled much this year, to busy elsewhere- garden, remodel, having a little fun.  That's one of the reasons I like to be involved in the WCI Ornament Exchange, it forces me to dust of and hone my knives and take on a little project.  Helps me keep my hand in.  Everybody likes ornaments.

Last year's flying reindeer earned me an article in the Wood Carving Illustrated magazine- Winter 2019 issue just came out.  I am honored and humbled and amused they asked- and pleased as punch to write the article.  Had a great time, giggled the whole time I worked on it.

This year I'm adapting a whittling I've done a bunch of- the man in the moon (MITM).  You can put a Santa hat on anything and it becomes acceptable as a Christmas ornament.  Jack Skellington, for instance.

Since it's a little different from my usual MITM, I need a prototype.  Sketch the hat on, and try to figure out how thick the blank should be to make the hat and head look right.  He's gonna be one sided, flat on the back.  Technically I guess you'd call it whittling in the half-round.

I started working at the ball end of the hat, looking for a well proportioned half ball.  Once that's done I can work down the hat, then make the head fit into the hat.  I started with a 3/8" thick blank, hopefully I don't run out of wood .

And of course being a little rusty I broke the ball at the top of the hat clean off the blank about two minutes after I started.  Promptly pulled out the CA/super Glue and proceeded to glue the ball back onto the blank, and my thumb to the ball.

I'll come back to this later.

CA glue takes a surprisingly long time to dry when I'm gluing a whittling back together.  Not sure why.  Lots longer than 60 seconds, that's for sure.  I put a drop on each piece and do my best to line them up.  The resultant glue line is pretty much invisible, and the hat gets painted anyway. As a prototype, it has a 50-50 chance of making it to the finish line anyway.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Put a Santa hat on it...

You can put a Santa hat on anything and it becomes a Christmas tree ornament.  (couple years ago I put one on an elephant).  Nobody minds, someone out there will like it, like my wife.

He's not too big, kind of a use-up-the-scrap project.  I've whittled a bunch without the hat over the years, typically 1/4 inch thick for one sided moon men (fridge magnets) and half inch thick for two sided, like a ceiling fan pull.  the first ornie I tried was cut 1/4 inch thick, there wasn't enough wood to work with.  I don't like my whittliings to look flat, and the thinner piece of wood wouldn't let me curve his face front to back.  3/8 inch thick let me hake him thickest at the cheek and taper to the points at the top of the hat and bottom point.  He's 3-1/8" tall and 1-1/8" wide.  Start at the hat brim, its as thick as the cheek, more or less.  Whittle the head to go into the hat, then whittle the red portion of the hat down to a pleasing taper.  I like to end my Flat Plane whittlings with long smooth cuts to create planar surfaces- can't call 'em planes cuz they're not flat- instead of multiple cuts to create the curve.  Since he's intended for the tree, I like the way the long cuts reflect the lights.  Use a glossy finish to help with reflections too.

Happy Whittling-
Buffalo Bif