Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pancho-Part 7-A Little Smoke!

A few of you have been asking me to explain how I burn my figures so this post should answer some of those questions. While we won't be doing a lot of burning I think you can get the general idea of whats involved.
I use a Burnmaster system as I can use any type of pen with it. I used to have a Detail Master but found that replacing the tips got quite expensive over time. With the Burnmaster you can take advantage of the replaceable tips which are fairly cheap and you only need one handle. I wrap the end of the pen with a little extra heat protection as it gets hot if you use it a lot. The important thing is to make sure your tip is sharp to get the best result. Again, the Burnmaster tips seem to take a lot of sharpening before they wear out.
The last step prior to painting is to run your carving through the Sand-O-Flex brushed back sander. This is one of the most important pieces of equipment in my shop. I use it constantly for a variety of things. I actually have two sanders, one for the carving and one with a heavier grit paper for all the other times I need to sand something. If you have a few extra bucks I'd suggest seriously consider buying one of these. Mine are installed on a couple of old electric motors and permanently mounted on my work counter. Here is the website where you can find them along with all sorts of interesting sanding supplies: For the carving I use the 320 Grit Slashed Glue Insert Part No. 12060. For normal use the 180 Grit Slashed Glue Insert Part no. 12058 works fine. Make sure you specify the "Slashed" insert as this give you the contour sanding that you're after. I think the unit comes with an adaptor for your drill but if you want to mount it to a motor you'll have to buy an additional adaptor depending on the size of the motors shaft. Tell them Lynn Doughty sent you!!!
There are more photos in the Gallery and comments are welcome.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Goin' Courtin'! - Painted!

After a quick trip to the Florist for a new bouquet this figure is ready for the display table. I had originally had only Daisies but as the white of those flowers along with the white of his shirt were just too close together I thought a little variety would look better. So, after a quick Google image search I decided that Texas Bluebells would fit in quite nicely and would be a flower he might find along the roadside on his ride over.
I really like the relaxed yet somewhat tense feel of this character. While he might have an overabundance of confidence herding a bunch of longhorns or riding an unruly bronc, that quickly melted away when he stepped on the front porch of that cute little filley who lives at the ranch over on the next section. Now he's feeling what a lot of us felt back when we faced a similar situation. That knot in your stomach or lump in your throat can get pretty uncomfortable.
Another thing I really like about this one is his haircut. I'm going to have to play with that just a little more especially to see how it would look under a hat. The days of my long-haired wranglers might just be coming to an end.
Anyway, I hope you like him. He'll be on display at Dayton in a week or so and if you're there you can give him a real once-over to see if he measures up for that buxom lass who's got her hand on the door handle at this very moment. Good luck cowpoke...I'm pulling for you!
Lots of photos in the Gallery and comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Goin' Courtin'!

After seeing the movie "Appaloosa" I was really taken by Vigo Morganson's haircut and just had to try a version of it. As it looked like he just walked out of the Barber shop I thought doing a figure getting ready to see his sweetie from the ranch just down the road. He's standing on the front porch waiting for her to answer the door. On his ride over he paused by the roadside to pick some local flowers. Maybe with those, that box of candy under his arm and that scented concoction the Barber splashed on his neck he'll get lucky.
This was a fun character to create and should really look neat once painted. I made the flowers out of copper sheeting soldered to some cooper coated welding rod. I also used copper sheet to make the belt tips and will use it to make the spurs. At the moment there's nothing holding his hat but his hand but I'll have to figure out some way to dowel it to his leg so it will be firmly held in place. With the base he stands about 16" tall. Alone he's about 13" tall.
Anyway, I hope you like him. More photos are in the galley and comments are always welcome.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pancho-Part 6-Off With His Head!

Well, part of it anyway. With this post we'll carve the sombrero and position it on his head. This will complete the carving portion of this project.
When cutting off the top of his head the best advice I can give is to make sure your mark is where you want it and high enough to where you won't cut off his ears, get a good hold of the head, keeping your fingers away from the saw blade then very carefully run it through the blade. I left the neckerchief in place to give me something extra to hold on to.
When carving the hat brim make sure you use the gouge across the grain not with it. If your tool is sharp it will just slide right across and the job will be very easy. So, while this part of the project might seem intimidating it's really the easiest part of the whole thing.
So, sharpen your gouge, check out all the photos attached and go make a sombrero!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oldtimer Shows His Colors

Finished this fella up today. For a Bottlestopper I think he looks pretty snappy. With the base he stands about 9 inches tall. Several have commented on how difficult the hat brim must have been to carve considering it's so thin looking. Well, in the next installment of the Pancho tutorial you will see how it was carved and just how easy it is to get that thin look.
One thing I would like to mention is the importance of applying the proper finish to a piece. I'm sure you all know my feelings about Boiled Linseed Oil so I won't go into that here. However, in the instance of the hat brim it's easy to see how BLO would not measure up to something else that dries hard. I have used Polyurethane every since I started carving. When applying it to the brim I brushed it on liberally and allowed it to soak reapplying if necessary. Once the wood would absorb no more I let it set a bit and then wiped off the excess with a paper towel. When dry the poly creates quite a bit of strength in the piece which is what I want. I could have used Super Glue out on the edges but once you apply that it takes on a different appearance when paint or varnish is applied.
There are more photos in the Gallery and you can click on the photo above to get the BIG picture. Comments are welcome as always.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Oldtimer and "Appaloosa"

I'm still turning out Bottle Stoppers with the hopes that they can pay for our trip to Dayton in November. Planning on pricing them low so we can get back home!
The wife and I went to see "Appaloosa" last night. It was a pretty good film. I really liked the character Viggo Mortensen played and especially his haircut. Also, in one scene he's tieing his neckerchief in a way that I've never seen overhand knot on one side with the other side just stuck through it. Interesting. Another thing I noticed was at the end of the movie when Hitch faces off with Bragg he stands sideways to lessen his profile. That little detail probably reflects what a professional gunfighter would actually do but I can't remember ever seeing it before either. One thing that I didn't like was Rene Zellweger in the role of Ally. She just couldn't carry it off. Maybe it was those beady eyes. And wouldn't you know it....her one nude scene in the movie I missed by the result of overindulging on Dr. Pepper. Oh well...the wife said I didn't miss much. Anyway, watch out for that haircut....I think it's going to appear in a carving real soon!!
More photos in the gallery.

The Dude Gets A Haircut!

Okay.....if he's getting a haircut why is he wearing his glasses? Well, if he's anything like me he's blind as a bat without those spectacles so to look in the Barbers mirror to review the results of having his ears lowered he had to put them on. Sounds good to me!
This was fun to do and mostly happend by accident. I had originally wanted to do an old lady with beer can curlers in her hair but while whittling a neckerchief for another stopper and seeing that head laying on the workbench things just "clicked"! I think it's pretty neat! I used an old brush to clip off some bristles for the hair and locked them in place with some ModPodge. Someday I might try and do a complete figure...that would really be a winner.
More photos in the Gallery and comments welcome. You can click on the photo to see a monster-sized photo of the piece.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Helllllloooooo......Is Anybody Out There?

Could you folks who read this Blog do me a big favor and send me a comment to let me know just how many of you consider this effort worthwhile? I hear from a few of you on a constant basis and I really appreciate that. However, sometimes after I punch the "Publish Post" button I wonder just how many carvers take a moment to read what I write. I have a counter attached but I'm more interested in actual people than counter numbers. So, if possible, take a moment and send me a note. Also, if you'd like, give me some suggestion on what you're interested in that I might be able to helpyou with.

If you're unfamiliar with making a "Comment" just type in what you'd like to say and check the "anonymous" spot. A name and where your located would also be appreciated. Thanks.

Pancho-Part 5-The Neckerchief

This will be easy for you after Part 4. Here's some good advice prior to picking up your knife....go find some photos of Cowboys wearing neckerchiefs so you can see how the cloth hangs. I've said this before but as it's one of the most important things to remember when carving I'll said it have to take into consideration the "WEIGHT" of the object you're carving. That neckerchief, while just a piece of cloth, still has weight and that weight will determine how it hangs from the neck. In a back-issue of Cowboys & Indians magazine there was an article on the TV movie Monte Walsh, starring Tom Selleck. The photos in the article were some of the best to show the various parts of a working cowboys attire, especially the neckerchiefs. I've included one of them in the Gallery but if you can locate that issue I'd sure suggest latching on to it as it's one of the best for reference matter. Also, if you haven't seen that movie.....well....let's just say you'd better start looking for the DVD before you're banned from this blog!! Along with Lonesome Dove watching that movie is a Blog requirement!
If you plan on carving more cowboys I'd also suggest going out and buying a one yard square of satin or a commercial neckerchief to use as reference. You just can't beat the real thing and you'll look cool wearing it!
Now, go have fun.

Note: For those of you who might want to pick up that Issue of Cowboys & Indians that featured Tom Selleck as Monte Wash it was the January 2003 issue. C&I is one of the best magazines out there that covers all aspects of the Western culture from art to movies to really interesting articles on just about everything.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Bullfighter - Painted

Here he is all painted and ready to face that horny hunk of bovine coming out of the chutes heading straight for the barrell. If you look close you can really tell that his guy is sweating the encounter.
I had a lot of fun with this piece. I guess the hardest part of it was all the painting but that's the part I really enjoy. While it doesn't show up too much in the photos he's wearing overalls, a yello polka dot shirt and a dark blue polka dot tie. I stuck that arrow through his hat just for fun and if you could read the hat band it would say "Eat More Chicken!"
Lots of photos in the Gallery and as always, comments are welcome and appreciated.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Pancho-Part 4-Facial & Head Details

Now we're getting down to the nitty-gritty part of this carving. DETAILS! We're going to finish the head by carving the eyes, the mustache, the hair and a couple of other nicks here and there that make the carving snap. The most important thing you need for these steps will be a very sharp knife. As you go through the photos you'll come across one that shows me stropping Old Reliable. While you might not prefer this tool take a moment every once in a while to do the same with whatever you use. If you use a utility knife that blade needs to be stroped to really get the full benefit of the factory edge. I first run a new blade over the polishing wheel, in my case a hard cloth wheel with osme ZAM compound applied. Then the leather strop. It will stay sharp a long time until I bang it into something then I reverse it and if that's already been done I toss it and chuck in a new one. The cuts we will make here are, if at all possible, made with one pass so a sharp edge is essential.
There are loads of photos in the Gallery, showing just about every cut I made to detail the face and other areas so I didn't bother adding any text to the photos. I think the pictures show clearly just what I'm doing and the result of it. If you need the captions just let me know and I'll go back and add some.
I received several comments about photo size and how larger photos would be better. I agree, but this Gallery software is limited in size and if I used fullsized pictures it's storage would quickly be used up. I've cropped this bunch down and think it will work okay.
So, sharpen your knife, take your time and have some fun making Pancho come to life.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Bullfighter

Had the opportunity to spend the whole day in the shop so was able to get this one off the craving table and onto the photo stand. This will be a real colorful one and I'm looking forward to painting it.
To do the barrel I first turned the basic shape on the lathe and then used my largest forstner bit to drill a hole about 1" deep to accommodate the head and hands. After that I whittled the surface and added the details. It looks kind of plain now but there will be lots of lettering and color to busy it up.
I'm still kicking around whether or not to have it stand alone or to use a background. I have a Rodeo Gate left over from a previous scene that I could put behind him so maybe I'll do that. We'll see.
More photos in the Gallery and comments welcome.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rodeo Clowns

I'm working on a new Rodeo Clown and as this was laying on the worktable for reference I thought I would take a few photos so you can see part of a scene that I did several years ago. There are a number of other photos of him in the Gallery along with the head of the new piece I'm working on.
Comments always welcome.

Derby Dingus & Cowboy Bob

Here are those two scallywags all painted up and ready to head to town. Both turned out pretty well and should move off the display table pretty least I hope so. I have to pay off that new air compressor I just bought.
There are a bunch of photos in the Gallery section and comments are always welcome.

Pancho-Part 3, Detail Platforms

We've roughed out the shape of the head and with this post we'll create the platforms for the final details. To me this is the most important step in the process of creating a nice looking carving. Like most carvers I love to do the details. However, I've learned over time that you have to have a good foundation in place or things will just not work out the way they should.
So, take your time, plan your steps and check your reflection in the mirror occasionally to see that the shapes you're carving actually reflect the shapes of a face.
Lots of photos in the Gallery.