Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Should We Read Him His Rights?"

Poor old Alkali Jones. He should have known better than try to sneak that heifer past those two ranchers. At least one of them is having second thoughts about whether they should go ahead and string him up so maybe there's still some hope for him. Unfortunately, we'll never know.

This was a real fun scene to construct. I had carved the steer earlier for the Auctioneer scene in the previous post. However, once that scene came together it became apparent to me that the cow was too small next to the other figures. As I had already carved Alkali Jones I just added the Longhorn as evidence of the crime!

These figures are considerably smaller than those I normally carve. The Cowboy with the rifle stands about 8" tall and the overall height of the scene is about 18". While large it would still fit nicely on a desk corner or a sideboard.

The tree is a cedar branch I picked up at the National Pea Ridge Battlefield Park in Arkansas. My wife and I ride our horses over there and there are lots of dead cedar trees I use in scenes for fence posts, gates, etc. The branch that will soon support the weight of Alkali was added on and then modeled to match the larger trunk. The two vultures are held in place by metal rods which I epoxied to the branches. The Wanted sign is made out of metal. I guess poor old Alkali wasn't much of a rustler as, from it's absence on the poster, no reward was offered.

I spent an entire afternoon carving Alkali's gun and holster laying next to his hat. I had hoped to have some bullets on the belt but it just became too fragile to handle by the time I got to that step. The hat and six-shooter do a good job of filling up that empty spot.

So, the next time you're on your knees giving thanks for all your blessings, put in a word or two for Alkali. Maybe it's not too late for him to see the light and mend his ways.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Gus" How he got his Hat!

A number of you have asked me to explain how I put a hat on a Cowboy. Well, this post should answer all your questions.

First, let me explain why I do it this way. When doing a figure or bust the grain of the wood almost always runs vertically. This is great for the body and the head. Unfortunately, for the hat it presents a problem. The brim of a hat is very thin and this vertical grain will make it extremely fragile. It also prevents you from getting a real "razors" edge appearance that really looks great on a piece. Through a lot of experimenting I've come up with a solution which, for me anyway, works out perfect.

Now some of you might consider this cheating. However, I think after you review my process you'll see that doing it my way involves a lot more effort than doing it in what's considered the normal way. It gives me the effect I'm after so I'm sticking with it. Besides, a lot of people don't consider me normal anyway!