Friday, July 28, 2006

The Importance Of Details! - Grunt Work!

I have attached a number of photos of a carving I did a couple of years ago which, I think, illustrates the importance of adding details to your carvings to carry the theme of just what you're trying to capture. Having strung a barbedwire fence around our property a few years back I can symphathize with the attitude of this Cowpoke. It's not fun! However, it does make a good and amusing subject for a caricature carving.

The first step in creating this piece was the construction of the Post-Hold Diggers. I brought my diggers into the shop and worked up a cardboard pattern of the metal part of the blades. I then cut two blades out of some thin tin and bent them to shape. After whittling down the handles and putting the pieces together the thing worked just like the real one! Neat! The barbedwire was made by wrapping wire around finished spool and then adding barbs to the last foot or so. The hammer...well, it's just a hammer. The fence pliers were made to match the ones I used when putting up my fence. The staples are just bent pieces of wire and the can was made like I made the cup for the Chuckwagon Cook. The label on the can was painted and then applied.

If you could look down from the top you'd see that the hole he is digging goes down almost all the way to the bottom of the lower base. I put all the pieces together before any finish was applied and drilled the hole. I spent a lot of time on the figure to make it match the digger. To do that I carved the arms and hands separate so the hands could be rotated to match the digger. It would have been almost impossible to do it otherwise.

All in all it turned out to be a real 'classic' and was given as a Christmas Present to a Rancher in West Texas. It was kind of expensive and he kept coming back to look at it over and over during the three days we were at a show in Amarillo. About ten minutes before the show closed he came back one more time and I was sure he was going to carry it off. He didn't! However, about 5 minutes later his wife showed up and made the purchase. She later told me that on Christmas day he about passed out when he opened the box. He said it was the best gift he'd ever received. It's events like that that make carving worthwhile. Not for the money received but for the reward of something you created being really appreciated

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Western Saddle - The Final Touches

With this post we complete the Western Saddle. While this is a fairly easy and small project I think it makes a nice little carving to set on a shelf, table or desk. As I said earlier, there are all kinds of saddle designs so, with this basic blank you can carve just about any one of them.

The silver conchos which hold the ties are decorative nails you can find at Lowes or Home Depot. The leather I used for the ties came from a women's leather coat I bought at a thrift store back in the 70's! It's very thin and I've used it for different things to numerous to mention. Only paid $20 for it and still have enough 30 more years!

I hope you've had fun with this project. I also hope you've picked up a little knowledge about the Western Saddle, it's different parts and just how it goes together. Later on we'll try and carve a horse to put under it!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Carving The Saddle

You will note right off that this saddle design is different from the two saddles in the previous post. Saddles, like a lot of things, come in all shapes and sizes. This saddle is known as a Half-Seat style as the stirrup leathers and fenders come up over the top of the seat jockeys. If you're wondering what all these terms mean you are just going to have to do some research. I suggest you do a web-search by typing in "Western Half Seat Saddle" and then do an Image search. You will get all kinds of photos showing all kinds of details. Just pick the ones you like. That's exactly what I did. This type of saddle isn't used much anymore. It's a true Oldtimer. By doing a Full Seat saddle you can eliminate a lot of the carved detail on the top of the seat.

There are lots of photos for this post, two pages worth! I've also been having a problem with the Album associated with this post moving around on me. So you might have to page through the entire list of albums to find it. If it's not at the top it's probably found it's way to the bottom!

The next post will deal with mounting the saddle on the base and finishing it up.

To be continued.......

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Let's Carve A Saddle!

Got that knife sharpened and ready for some carving? Okay! Let's get started!

In the photos associated with this post you will find the pattern for the Saddle to the left. I've given both the side and front profiles. It's going to take a pretty thick piece of wood so some of you might have to do a little glue-up before you start.

In cutting the blank you will need a Bandsaw that has a 6" cutting capacity. Hopefully, this won't present a problem. Also, be extremely careful when you cut this blank, especially on the end profile. A Bandsaw that is opened to accept a wide piece of wood will grab it if you aren't careful. So get a good grip on the blank and keep your fingers far from the blade. Follow my cutting process and you shouldn't have any problems.

Saddles come in many styles but as this is in the Caricature style we have a little more latitude than someone carving one to scale. Still, we want it to look like a saddle so we'll try and make sure it has all the parts a regular saddle has. I've turned the Stirrups so they hang straight to make the carving a little easier for beginners and we will make the Girth strap out of leather to keep it simple. We will also use the same style of base for the Saddle as we did on the Boots. That metal Horseshoe really ties everything together.

Now, before you begin, I'd like you to do a little homework. Go to the Google Search Window over on the right side of this post and type in "Western Saddle" and do a little research to learn about just what you will be carving. Some of you probably own horses and already know all about this piece of Cowboy gear. For those of you who don't a little trip around the Internet will give you a lot of information that will help you complete this project. Just a suggestion!

So...Let's get started!

To be continued.......

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Don't Go Roping During A Storm!!

As I've been a little slack on my posting, I thought I'd better put something up or run the risk of losing my subscribers!

Here is a figure that everyone seems to get a kick out of. The idea came to me one day while I was setting at my carving station staring at a head I'd carved and wondering what it would look like if I took a butane torch to it. After the head was pretty well blackened by the flame the light came on and I immediately started carving the figure.

I never actually put the flame to this figure but used flat black to indicate the scorched areas. The yellow slicker was given numerous coats of gloss polyurethane to make it look as wet as possible to contrast the flat finish on the blackened areas. That technique worked pretty well. I did go ahead and paint the entire figure before applying the black so the actual flesh of the face and other areas would peek through. I placed him standing in a puddle of water, clear resin, to carry the theme as much as possible.

The umbrella was made from wire with the burnt cloth pieces made from pieces of copper sheeting soldered to the frame. The little balls on the ends are beads glued on. His rope is twisted wire and I dripped some clear epoxy on it so it would look like water dripping.