Thursday, December 31, 2009

Downloading Videos - One Possible Solution?

I'm not sure just who posted this comment but it seems to be a good one to pass along. I checked it out this morning and it worked for me. It installs a toolbar on your computer and the process outlined below is quite easy to do. Anyway, here it is in case you want to try it:
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"I installed a program a while back that is free:
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www.applian.com/asktoolbar/ .
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Once it is installed, there is a Save Video button on your toolbar in Internet explorer. I watch the videos either from the blog or Vimeo and then click Save Video. A window opens, you select the video you just watched and click the save icon, which will let you rename it. It saves it as an MP4 file. It also installs flvplayer.exe which can be used to watch these videos. I copy the videos and player to cd or a usb drive and watch them in the garage, without being connected to the Internet. Here's the part that surprised me.... the files I save this way are much smaller than the ones on Vimeo.....Bottle stopper 5a is about a 580MB download from Vimeo that takes 20 minutes or so on a really fast connection. I watched it in about 6 minutes and clicked the Save Video... it is already cached on your PC and it saves to a file that is only 58MB in size. Perhaps there is some difference in the quality, but I couldn't tell! Might be worth checking out, since it seems to save some time."
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I think I've figured out a way to upload the files in the MP4 format which is a much, much smaller file than the Mp2 I was using before. There is a loss of quality but not so much that it prevents anything. I put a test video in MP4 in the library you can check out. I'll use this on future uploads.
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I know a lot of you are having problems with these videos and I sure wish I was a little more computer savey so I could steer you to solutions. Unfortunately, this stuff is a Greek to me as it is to many of you. It seems just about everyone uses something different than everyone else so it's almost impossible to pin down one simple solution. I'll keep trying though.
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Oh....and whichever "Anonymous" posted this suggestion....Thanks!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Downloading An Out West Video

Maybe I should have let you know this first! Anyway, here's how to download a video off my blog:
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1. First, you have to join my video host site. It doesn't cost anything. Just go to http://www.vimeo.com/ and sign up for the "Basic" Vimeo account. As I said it's free and if you have videos of your own it gives you a place to store them just as Picasa or Flicker does with photos. Once you've signed up you can then download the videos.
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2. When you see a video on the blog you wish to download just click on the video title in the upper lefthand corner next to my photo and a new window will open with that video. Scroll down to the lower right hand corner and you'll see "Downloads". You can join Vimeo here if you haven't or log in if you have.
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3. Now right-click on "Download MPG version". Once the small window opens select "Save Target As.." and choose where exactly you want to save it.
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4. Click "Save" and the video will be downloaded to your computer.
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As you can see once you select a video to download they are quite large. Part 5A of the Pancho Bottle Stopper video is 429.7MB!!! I have a DSL line and download at a speed around 5.0mps and it took 15 minutes for that 7 minute video. Yuk!!! I hope to change the way I compress these videos when I upload them to the Vimeo site to where they are not so large and can be downloaded much faster. This will no doubt cut down the quality some but then there are trade-offs in everything I guess. I think the best thing is to just talk the wife, husband, Mom or Dad into letting you buy that new laptop and a wireless router so you can set the computer next to your carving station and bypass all this digital baloney. Oh for the days of the hand-cranked phone! Yes.....I'm that old!
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Anyway, I'm trying to make it as easy as possible for you to enjoy this site more although sometimes it might not seem like it. And don't forget.....I'm always open for suggestions on ways to improve it so your comments are appreciated.

An Out West "Tip Jar"

If you look over to the right of this post you will see a new "Donate" button under the label "Out West Tip Jar". Here's the story about why it's there:
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From the very beginning of my starting this Blog those who visit it or are familiar with my work have been after me to publish a how-to book or, since I've started posting videos, coming out with DVDs. Naturally, I'm quite flattered by that and have given it a lot of thought. Unfortunately, to do such projects would require a lot of time which is something that I seem to have less and less of each day. While I am retired and while you might think I have loads of free time on my hands, it just doesn't work out that way, any retired person will tell you. I'm busier now than I've ever been. I mentioned earlier when first starting the video projects that if I found they were beginning to keep me from my carving they would have to stop. Well, it's just about reached the point where I spend as much time here at the keyboard loading and editing video clips or answering questions about what's going on on the Blog as I do down at the shop making chips. So here's what I'm going to do.........
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Starting with the new "Pancho Bottle Stopper" videos I have removed the copy protection so you are now free to download these to your computer for your "personal" use. Future videos will be available to you also. Hopefully, you won't take this as a greenlight to make additional copies for your friends, etc. There's really no need for that as they too can have free access just by visiting this site. As for the "Donate" button.....that has been placed there should you want to make a donation for the use of the tutorials, videos, etc. on this site. Nothing is required, just the opposite.....whether or what you drop in the jar is entirely up to you. Whatever is received will go to help cover the costs of operating this Blog as there are costs involved.
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In picking the best method I could find I settled on PayPal as it's been around a long time and is considered just as secure as the checkout counter at WalMart. You can donate via a PayPal account if you have one or by credit card if you don't. My wife and I have been using PayPal for several years without any problems. It's free.
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Again, anything you wish to give is completely voluntary. This Blog will continue whatever you decide to do. It's worth it to me to share what knowledge I might have with those who wish to receive it.
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Any comments on this are appreciated.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Out West Challenge - The Rules


With the commencement of this contest just a week away I thought I'd go ahead and give you the rules that will govern it. That way if there is any questions about what's involved we can get them out of the way before the gun goes off.
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- The Rules
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1. Who: Any non-professional carver. By that I mean if your name appears in the back of Chip Chats under the Seminar section or has ever appeared there or in any other publication, internet site or otherwise as an instructor.....forget it! Same goes with belonging to any juried or restricted carvers organization. This contest is strictly for the non-professional who carves for the fun of it and wants to improve.
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2. What: The subject to be carved is the character "Roy" Quigley from the movie "Quigley Down Under". He's a real interesting fella that's easily recognized. The carving is to be a bust under 15 inches including the base. In this case anything above the figures knees will fit that qualification. While non-wood attachments can be used the figure must be composed of at least 95 percent carved wood. Multiple pieces of wood may be used but once the figure is completed they should not be evident. The figure may be painted. left natural or a combination of the two. On completion the figure is to be mounted on a wooden base. This base can be carved, turned or may be a combination of the two. How the figure is presented and carved is completely up to the carver.
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3. Where: Thats up to you as long as it's not setting next to or close by one of those who aren't eligible. This is the carvers project no one should seek help.
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4. When: January 4, 2010. On that opening date All carvers participating are to forward to me via email at: ljdoughty@outwestgallery.com, their name and both their physical and email addresses. A brief note about your carving experience would also be appreciated. No entry applications will be accepted after that date. On January 5 I will publish the names of those participating. An additional mandatory requirement will also be announced on that date to ensure that nobody starts earlier than they're supposed to. The contest will run for 31 days and end on February 3, 2010. At the end of the 30th day, February 2, the carver will forward to me via email 5 photos showing all four sides of the piece along with an oblique frontal view which will be posted on my Blog. At the end of the 31st day the contest ends and no more submissions will be accepted. There will be only one prize..."The Out West Challenge" trophy for 2010.
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In judging the carvings I'll be looking for three things: Originality, quality of worksmanship and overall presentation. Once the judging is complete I'll post the results on the Blog.
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Should further explanation of the rules is necessary please drop me a note in the comment section below. Hopefully, if things run smoothly we'll do the same thing the following year with a different character.....sort of a "Super Bowl" of woodcarving.
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So, you have a week to read the rules, sharpen your tools, do your research and plan out your project. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Have fun & good luck!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pancho Bottle Stopper – Part 4

Pancho Bottle Stopper – Part 3

Pancho Bottle Stopper – Part 2

Here’s part 2. 

Pancho Bottle Stopper- A New Video Project

Back in November of 2008 I did a pictorial tutorial on how to make a Bottle Stopper.  I thought it might be a little more helpful if I did it again but as a video this time.    In this first part I’ll outline just what’s needed and how to go about making your own version of my Out West Bottle Cutter.   Also, I’m going to keep the video segments short this time to speed up the process of uploading them. 

Anway, hope you enjoy this new project.  It’s a good excuse to go out and buy a sixpack of your favorite beverage.  Just don’t drink it all at one time!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Slightly Demented!


I don't exactly know what happened to this wrangler. Whether he's been up at the Line Camp too long, got a hold of some bad Chili, nursed a bottle of Pulque just a little too long or maybe this is what happens when you switch back to those fancy carving knives after experiencing the joys of the Utility knife! Whatever, he's definitely gone south and looks like someone I'd suggest staying away from.
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I've had this old head laying on my workbench for the past few months and thought I'd try to express my feelings about this new Health Care legislation. Maybe this is what we'll all look like after a few years of that. I sure hope there's some mental benefits in that thing cause if it's messing with your grey cells as it seems to be with mine we're all going to need some just like this poor fella. I'm not sure what your feelings are on this upcoming change in something that will affect us all but it's really got me worried.
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As always, your comments are welcome and there are a few more photos in the Gallery.

Friday, December 18, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

With next Friday only a week away we thought we'd take a moment and wish you all a very Merry Christmas. We hope you enjoy all the blessings of the season and find lots of new carving equipment under the tree on Christmas morning.







Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Tour of the Out West Gallery

I shot this video quite a while ago when I first bought my camera but never really considered uploading it as I thought it was kind of amateurish.  But today, needing something to test a new modem AT&T just installed that would take a while to run, I thought I might as well put it on the Blog just in case some of you might like to see it.   Kind of choppy in places but it gives a pretty good idea of what's inside that little red building. 

Thursday, December 03, 2009

How About A Carving Challenge?


While I think most of you here also follow the WCI forum I'll repeat what I posted there earlier today just in case some didn't happen to see it there.
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As I was jumping around the net this morning looking for new reference material I came across the photo below. Wow! Now that would make a great carving. Then I thought...Wow! That would make an even greater challenge. Here's my idea ..... Let's make it a bust, painted and under 12 inches including the base, put a 30 day limit on it, professional or recognized carvers would be excluded to give everyone an equal chance. I would be the judge and the prize would be my version of the same figure. Hopefully, this doesn't sound to egotistical as it's not meant to. The way you do it would be completely up to you ... NO extra points if you follow my methods. On the 30th day you would have to submit to me via the web 5 photos, a view of each side plus an oblique frontal view. Prior to judging I'd post a photo of each carving on the blog so everyone could see who has done what. To make sure there won't be any early starters I'll toss something extra in just before the start. Also, as a lot of you have mentioned that you're tied up with Christmas carving we'll plan on starting after the first of the year. Once a starting date is set I'll ask for your names so only those signed up will be eligible.
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I think this will be a lot of fun. Hopefully, it will give you an opportunity to try something new while exploring areas of our craft that you normally wouldn't consider. From the response I've seen on the forum site it looks like quite a few are interested so it should be quite a competition.
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So stay tuned and we'll see what happens.

Carving A Cowboy Head – Part 9 – Finishing Up!

With this installment we’ll finish the Cowboy head and this series of videos.  I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did making them. 

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If you’re interested in the San-O-Flex sanding wheel you can get all the information at http://www.meritabrasives.com/product/sand-o-flex.aspx.  I use the 320 grit refills.   You won’t be sorry in getting this tool as the more you use it the more uses you find for it.

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In the future I hope to do additional videos with this same head where I’ll show how to give him a hat, a bust-type body and finally, a paint job.  However, that will be down the line a bit as I have to get some things ready for the upcoming Dayton show in November. 

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As always your comments are welcome especially as I’m trying something new.  I appreciate your input.

Tex - Saddled Up & Ready To Ride


I finally got old Tex over to the paint table for a little makeup. I really like this figure and some of you might recognize him if you happened to stop by our table at the Dayton show. I had his head and hat finished but completed the body Saturday afternoon while the show vacated due to the Ohio football game.
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I really like this figure....think he's one of the best busts I've done. I won't call him a classic but he comes pretty close. With the base he sets about 10" tall so while just a bust he's still pretty impressive.
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I hope you like him and your comments are always welcome. More photos in the gallery.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Carving A Pair Of Cowboy Boots – Part 8 – Finishing Up

As I’ve received several inquiries about where I got and get my Sand-O-Flex wheel and Brass Nameplates, here are the links:
Sand-O-Flex Wheel & Inserts: http://www.meritindustries.com/mstools.htm#slr    I only use the 320 grit inserts.
Brass Plates: http://signsbygwynn.com/brass_plates.htm  I use size A-30 as it’s large enough to be seen but small enough to not dominate the carving.  They have a 3-4 day turnaround and I doubt if you’ll find a better or cheaper product.
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Yipee!!  All done with this one and time to ride on down the trail to see what’s around the next bend.   Personally, I think this set of videos was a lot better than the one on Shifty.   I haven’t decided on the next project but have received lots of suggestions.  I want to keep the first videos fairly simple and easily accomplished by a beginning carver so things might be a little boring for you advanced whittlers but stick around…..things are sure to pick up. 
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Anyway, I hope this has been worthwhile for you and that in some way it helped add a little more enjoyment into your carving.   As always your comments are appreciated especially when suggesting ways for me to improve any future projects.

Carving A Pair Of Cowboy Boots – Part 7 – I Get Preachy!

We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty with this video in that we finish up with the carving.  Also, for some reason I go off on the growing use of Vet tape.  But I think it’s a really important point to use the best available protection to keep from ending up in the Emergency Ward with a bad cut.  So if you think I’m going a little overboard on expressing my opinions about the many aspect of carving I’m afraid you’re just going to have to put up with them as I’m much to old to change.

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Only one more post to go on this project.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Carving A Pair Of Cowboy Boots-Part 3 – Starting at the Bottom!

We finally get around to actually doing some carving!  I’m going to limit these videos to about 10 minutes as the upload time becomes quite long otherwise. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Carving A Pair Of Cowboy Boots-Part 2-Layout & Cutting The Blanks

With this video we wrap up the base and then, using our boot pattern, we layout the boots on the basswood block and cut them out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Carving A Pair Of Cowboy Boots – Part 1 – Making The Base-A New Video

Cowboy Boots

For our second video attempt I thought I would keep it pretty simple and redo an old project of a pair of Cowboy Boots. Little projects like this might seem unchallenging to some but they’re an excellent way to hone your skills and we all need to do that occasionally. This project will also show how to make a really nice base that will turn those simple boots into something really special.

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I’m going to do this in reverse by showing how to make the base first as that’s really the most difficult part of this piece and even that’s pretty easy to do. I will be using some rather large shop tools that some might not have access to but even this hurdle should be easy to get around.

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So, let’s get started! Here’s the first part:



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Dayton Show 2009


This year's show in Dayton was well attended but they evidently left their wallets at home. Sales were way down for just about everyone. However, the ribbon count, at least for my booth, was pretty good. Here's a rundown of how I fared in competition:
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The Ranch House Cook- First, Human Caricature
- Second, Best of Caricature Category
Goin' Courtin'- Second, Human Caricature
Johnny Reb- First, Caricature Figure over 15 inches
Black Hawk- First, Caricature Bust
The Horse Soldier- Second, Caricature Bust
No Swimming- Second, Caricature Group
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Dave Stetson took First Place in the overall Caricature Category as well he should have. His piece of an old couple on a park bench was quite impressive.
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There were some really fantastic carving in the show as there always are. I apologize for not having more photos. It was great to meet a lot of this Blogs Followers, WCI Forum members and other friends we don't see often enough.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tex


This is the project I'm taking along to the show in Dayton to hopefully complete but also to use in explaining the various techniques I used in making the videos should someone happen by ande ask a question. I haven't glued anything together yet so it can be taken apart to show how the brim of the hat, it's crown and the head all go together.
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Everything is packed up and ready for the trip east. Will be taking along a bunch of pieces that I exhibited last year as I haven't been able to carve that much this year. Still, I think I'll have a pretty good exhibt.
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Special note: I've added a new link on the right to the Vimeo video host site titled ...."Out West Videos". Clicking on this link will give you access to all the videos I've done without having to search through the Blog to find the various posts. A DVD of these videos is in the works but it may be a while before it's available so stay tuned.
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Anyway, I hope you can make it to the Dayton show cause I know it's going to be a good one. I also hope you like Tex......he's going to be a good one too.
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Comments always welcome and more photos in the Gallery.



Friday, November 06, 2009

Pride of the South!


Having just completed a Union trooper I thought it best that I also do a Confederate one so here is the result. I tried to find the most colorful uniform I could to give it lots of color and I also incorporated the Southern flag to try another trick I thought of.
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To make the flag and especially to get the folds to look natural I first Googled it, blew it up to a good size and then printed it out. After that I just folded it to what I thought looked best and then positioned it on my generic bust template to give me the shape to cut out. I think it worked out great as it certainly looks natural laying over his shoulder. There are a couple of photos of the flag pattern before and after I made the folds in the Gallery.
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This Reb will accompany us to Dayton and hopefully a Southern sympathizer with some ready cash will stop by the booth and make an offer!
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As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Bust – Part 11 – Wrapping Things Up

Hooray!  We’ve finally arrived at the last post and the last video.   To me it seems this project has lasted about a year…not that it took long to do the actual carving, painting and the filming but because it took so long to upload things to the web. 

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One thing I noted on this video is that I repeated part of the varnish section.  That’s okay as that step is one of the most important in getting a great finish on your carving.  Also, when I show how to make the eyes sparkle the video is kind of fuzzy as the camera couldn’t focus in close enough but I think it shows what I’m doing well enough for you to figure out the rest.  Hey……I’m just learning this video business!

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So, I think this first experiment on doing an instructional video turned out pretty well with only a few minor hiccups.    It’s been fun making them so I’m sure there will be some future attractions down the trail.  I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed following along and always look forward to your comments.   I’ve put some still photos of Shifty in the Gallery.  Until next time.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Bust – Part 10 – Paint!

Yes, I’m actually going to paint something!  Unfortunately, it will just be the head as the video camera ran out of juice just as we were getting ready to paint the body.  Not to worry!  both the body and the hat are pretty cut and dry compared to the work on the head so I think you will get the general idea of how I get the results I do by watching the color being applied to his noggin.

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Carving A Cowboy Bust – Part 9-Burning & Paint

With the carving part of this project finished it’s time to prepare the bust  for the painting table.  To do this I’ll explain and show you how I burn in some detail lines to help with the painting and also make certain areas really stand out.   While I use a Burnmaster unit to do this I am in no way advocating this product.  Any pyrotechnic pen will do the same thing.    I also explain my painting setup and discuss the methods I use to get the results I’m after. 

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As always, your comments are appreciated.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Horse Soldier - Finished


He dismounted long enough for me to take some more photos. Unfortunately, to get some light on his face I had to use more light than normal so his uniform appears much lighter than it actually is. The problem of the darker wood for the head actually worked out in a way that makes the carving look even better than it would have if the wood had been the same as the lower body. At least I think it does.
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I have also included a page out of one of my notebooks which I used as a reference for the uniform. I didn't mean for the carving to be my version of John Wayne but from the comments so far a lot of you think it is. Thats okay with me as I admire him a great deal and certainly consider such comparisons as a compliment.
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Anyway, I hope you like him. Like a lot of you I really like that hat and the gold braid really makes it "snap"! Lots of photos in the Gallery and your comments are always welcome.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Horse Soldier


Still trying to flesh out my display at Dayton I was flipping through my reference notebooks and came across a couple photos of John Wayne in his uniform from the movie The Horse Soldiers. Wow! That would make a great carving, especially as a bust. So here it is prior to heading over to the paint table.
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It should be a pretty colorful carving with the dark blue shirt and hat, the yellow bandana and the gold shoulder insignia and braid on the hat. I made the braid out of twisted wire. In the photo it has been sprayed with primer.
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One thing you will note is the dark color of the wood used for the head. This head has been around for a couple years waiting for just the right figure to put it on. I think I carved it from a piece of basswood that didn't come from my Heineke source. I painted it this afternoon and it looks fine.
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Should have the finished article up tomorrow or the next day. As always your comments are welcome and appreciated. More photos in the gallery.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Black Hawk


This is basically a copy of my carving "George Whitefeather" which I did back in 2006. As George is part of my Gallery collection I thought I'd do another similar so some collection can own one of his cousins.
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With this one I'm going to give him a scarlett coat vs. a blue one being as Black Hawk fought on the side of the British during the battle of 1812. However, I am also going to give him a Jefferson Peace Medal to indicate that he realized the error of his ways and made friends with the winning side. With the gold epaulettes and the colors of the hairpipe chest protector it should be quite colorful.
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I should have him completed in a couple days so he'll accompany me to the Dayton show. As always your comments are appreciated and there are more photos in the Gallery.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cowboy Bust Patterns


I've been getting lots of requests for the patterns used in making this Cowboy Bust so here they are. Just copy and paste and then enlarge to the size you want.

Smoke Break


I've always been fasinated by the Buffalo Soldiers, probably because they were headquarted just up the road from us in Fort Scott, Kansas. They patrolled the military highway between there, Fort Gibson, Ok, and Fort Smith, Arkansas. Just maybe they rode right by the Out West Gallery. Whatever, I carved this First Sergeant back in 2002, no doubt after I saw some movie on the Western Channel. I tried to put as much authentic detail on him as I could: his Springfield Trapdoor Carbine, sidearm, canteen & cup, and correct uniform. These are the things that really make carving enjoyable to me. I've also attached a reference photo I used to create this guy. Here is a terrific link for research material: The U.S. Springfield Trapdoor Rifle Information Center.
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In the associated photo album in the Gallery I've included a reference photo that I used when creating this guy. While its of a Spanish American War soldier he's carrying a Springfield Carbine. My Grandfather fought in that war and is buried in the Fort Scott National Cemetary.
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Here's a challenge for you.....For your next figure why not pick a historical character and do the research to fit him/her out with the correct gear, uniform, etc. I'll bet anything that you will find out pretty quick just how much more enjoyable this extra effort will make your carving adventure.
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Anyway, I hope you like this character and will look forward to any comments you might have.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Opps! Out Of Memory

In uploading the new videos on the carving of the body and hat I came up against my allowed weekly memory allocation of 5 gigs so it will be next Thursday before I can add the last two segments on the carving of the hat. After that it will be on to the painting and then wrapping the whole thing up. I hope you're enjoying this series as much as we are making it. Stay tuned!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Bust – Part 6 – The Hat Brim

With the lower body now done we can concentrate on the hat.  In this video we lay out  the brim and carve it’s general shape. 

Carving A Cowboy Bust – Part 5 – Finishing Up The Body

This video will wrap things up for the body portion of the project.  Up next will be the hat and with that things will really start to get interesting. 

Carving A Cowboy Bust – Parts 3 & 4 – The Neckerchief

In these two videos we’ll choose just what type of Neckerchief we want, lay it out on our blank and begin the roughing out process. 

Also, the hole for the head drilled and the proper head position is chosen.  Things are moving fast!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Bust – Parts 1 & 2 – Laying Out and Cutting the Blank

With the head carved in the first group of videos we can now move on to the lower part or body of the bust.   This segment will show you how to lay out the blank using a paper pattern, how to cut the blank out on the bandsaw, and how to begin roughing it out.

  One thing I’ve notice about these videos is that they are a high enough quality that you can open them up to “Full Screen”  and not lose that much detail.

More coming…..and comments always appreciated.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Ranch House Cook


Every once in a great while I do a carving that I think really stands out and represents the best of my efforts. This, I think is one of those. Everything about this little scene just seemed to fall in place. From the spilt soy sauce on the floor to the coffee grinder to the gold tooth gleaming from Chang Li's wide grin. This is a carving that just makes you smile and I'll bet anything that if you could step into the picture you'd be looking for an open seat at the breakfast table to partake of some of his cooking.
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For this piece I built the stove first as it is the anchor of all the action. It is made from several pieces all pegged together. I had originally planned on having the oven door open with biscuits baking inside but to do that would have caused the cook to stand further back from the stove and that composition just didn't work. The loaf of bread carries the oven. The same goes with the Quaker Grits container. Seeing that you can easily tell what is boiling over on the stove. The coffee grinder and Arbuckles crate on the floor ties in with the coffee pot and the bacon with the eggs. Even though there's no bacon visible thats been fried we know that it eventually will be. The spilt bottle of Soy Sauce I just added as it's something that a Chinese cook would have. There is also a bottle of Brandy setting on the stove top. I don't really know why thats there......Maybe Chang likes a little morning nip once in awhile.
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I think I'm going to hang on to this guy for a while but I'll take him to Dayton to give him some exposure. There are lots of photos in the Gallery and, as always, I'll look forward to your comments

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Skipper


I did this one back in 1998 for the Oklahoma Director of Tourism . He'd seen my display in a local store and, as he was into boats, asked if I could do something of a nautical nature. I told him sure as long as I could stay within the time period I like to carve. This is what I came up with.
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I really liked the idea of the ships wheel dipping beneath the floor. Actually, if I had made the wheel in the exact scale with the figure the figure would have been lost as the wheels were quite large. To keep the piece within size limits I reduced it.
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If there was one thing I would do different if I could it would have been to use a better piece of wood for the mid portion of the mount. By the looks of it I just used a piece of 2/4 which had a really heavy grain. A hardwood would would have worked much better. Anyway, I think it worked and the important thing was that the buyer really liked it.
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There are a few more photos in the Gallery and as always your comments are appreciated.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Renegade


Well, here's one I completely forgot about! Probably one of my best horses too....certainly the paint job. I didn't feel an actual rider was necessary as by seeing his hat on the ground you can let your imagination figure out what happened to him.
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More photos in the Gallery and comments always welcome.

Pop-A-Top!


It's about Beer-30 and time for a cold one after a dusty day in the saddle. No long-neck for this wrangler...a frosty can with a pop-top will do just fine.
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I did this one back in '03 and it's probably setting on a bar somewhere in Virginia, at least that's where he was heading with he left the Out West Gallery. One of the things I really enjoy doing is to see just how realistic I can reproduce various objects I put in my figures hands or scenes. In this one he has a great looking can of Coors along with a nice headstall and bit. I also made sure that the lariat hanging on the fence post exhibits the weight of the lower part of the rope. He's holding his right-hand glove, having removed it as those little aluminum rings are hard to grab hold of with gloved fingers. It's the little things that some might miss completely but mean a lot to me.
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A few more photos in the Gallery and as always your comments are welcome.

Friday, October 09, 2009

A More Detailed Look At Carving Eyes

Some of you out there ask if I could go into a little more detail on carving eyes so here’s a video that I hope will answer that question.
As always, comments are welcomed and appreciated.   And I apologize for those little flurrishes at the beginning and the end of the video.   I just couldn’t resist the impulse.  Give me a movie camera and I think I’m John Ford!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Head – Part 9 – Finishing Up!

With this installment we’ll finish the Cowboy head and this series of videos.  I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did making them. 
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If you’re interested in the San-O-Flex sanding wheel you can get all the information at http://www.meritabrasives.com/product/sand-o-flex.aspx.  I use the 320 grit refills.   You won’t be sorry in getting this tool as the more you use it the more uses you find for it.
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In the future I hope to do additional videos with this same head where I’ll show how to give him a hat, a bust-type body and finally, a paint job.  However, that will be down the line a bit as I have to get some things ready for the upcoming Dayton show in November. 
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As always your comments are welcome especially as I’m trying something new.  I appreciate your input.

Carving A Cowboy Head – Part 8 – The Eyes

Okay….here is how I carve eyes.  I sure hope it’s easy enough to understand and follow.   It’s a really simple operation and with some practice I think you’ll be able to do it without much difficulty.   In this first part I show how to carve the platform for the coming details which will be in the following, and last, video on carving this head. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Head – Part 7 – Style & Hair

This video has a hiccup in the beginning.  But it’s not so bad that I need to go back and redo it.  So I’ll just apologize for repeating myself.

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In making hair I keep it quite simple.   The reason I do it this way is that for my carving style I think its all that’s needed.   And speaking of style I expound a little about my thoughts on developing one of your own.  There is no greater satisfaction than when people recognize that something you made is truly yours.

Carving A Cowboy Head – Part 6 – Ears & Eyebrows

With this we finish up the ears and start fiddling with the eyebrows. 

We also start adding some distinctive features to the face.

Carving A Cowboy Head – Part 5 – Cigs & Ears

This one starts off with the appearance of a bad habit.  I’m not sure whether all cowboys smoked but I’ll bet a large majority of them did.  Well, this fella is in that last bunch.  To make his cigarette I used a piece of coat-hanger wire.  The reason I use wire vs. wood is that wood breaks and wire doesn’t.  I’m carving for the long-haul and I want my pieces to stand up to any possible wear or abuse as much as possible.

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I also outine the sideburns and set up the ears for their final, inner details which we’ll do in the next one. 

Monday, October 05, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Head –Part 4 - The Mouth

With this post we start carving the facial details beginning with the mouth.  Again, it takes two videos to do the job.  I’m just about to give up on my 5-minute time as I never seem to stick to it. 

We’re starting to get into the detailing now.  Just take your time. 

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Head – Part 3A-The Nose

We’re zipping right along with this project.  As you will see I’m having a hard time sticking to that 5-minute time limit……maybe I talk too much?  I also noted in this video that I have a tendency to move that head around so much that it sometimes completely goes out of the frame!  Sorry!  I’ll try to reign in my movements.  Its just that I want the camera in close enough so you can see exactly what I’m doing. 

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Once more this will be a two-parter as those short segments just don’t seem to cover enough time for a separate Blog post.  Hopefully this isn’t presenting a problem for you.  We have a pretty high-speed DSL here and I forget sometimes just how slow some of your circuits are.  I already have one dedicated follower pulling into McDonalds each morning on his way to work to watch the videos on their wifi network as he can only get dialup at home.  Now that is true dedication!

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My wife continues to do a great job trying to keep up with me.  Hopefully you won’t experience a sudden loss of picture due to her throwing the camera across the room in disgust because I can’t keep my hands in one place.

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Again, I really appreciate your kind comments and suggestions.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Head – Part 2 – The Ears

In this post we will locate the ears, block them out and indicate the hair

and jaw.  I had to do this in two videos to keep the download times within limits.  Once these steps are done our head blank is set up for the upcoming details, i.e., the nose the eye plane and a big decision…..whether our figure will have a mustache, a beard or just a 5-o’clock shadow. 

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In the first video of this post I talk about knives and how you should only carve with a curved tip blade.  Just disregard that.  Carve with whatever you want.  One of the things I’m finding as I do these things is that I have a tendency to preach to the viewer.  I certainly don’t want to do that.  I even caught myself wagging my finger in the first one!  Yikes!  Fortunately, my editing program allows me to delete these embarrassing scenes before anyone has a chance to see them. 

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One more thing…..in doing these videos I want to let you see the whole process from start to finish with all the details in between no matter how small.  In doing this the series just might seem to run on forever, but that’s okay, I’ve got plenty of time.  Also,  the videos have been tagged to not allow any copying, at least I hope they are.   My plan is that once the series is finished I can combine them all onto one DVD which will be available for a small charge.   But that’s down the road a ways so right now lets just have some fun.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Head – Part 1

As this is the first instructional carving video I’ve made other than that Boot experiment I placed on YouTube quite a while back I’m not really sure how many parts it will take to complete it.  Whatever, I’m going to try and keep the time of each

video around 5 minutes otherwise it will take forever for you to download.  I’ve already gotten a few comments from those of you using dialup that the download time is long.  Unfortunately there is just no other way I can do a video.  My suggestion is to upgrade to a DSL or Cable modem connection.

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So let me know what you think. 

Moving Around The Blog

I've been getting a number of questions lately about just where things are on this Blog and how to access the different parts of it. So here are some tips on navigating around this place.
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Each Blog post usually shows a photo of the topic being discussed, let's use Deets as the example. Now if you want a closer look of him without having to go to the Gallery then just move your cursor arrow over the photo and click on it. It will be enlarged.
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When I say there are more photos in the Gallery I'm talking about my Outwestwoodcarving Picasa site located at a completely different location than this Blog. To get there look over to the right side of this page directly beneath my Profile and you'll see "Picasa Photo Gallery". Again, just move your cursor over those words and when you see them underlined just click and it will take you to the Gallery. Once there you will see a collection of album photos associated to the various Blog posts. Normally, the most recent will be the first one you see. Move your cursor over the photo or title of the album you want to see and click and that album will be opened. Now you can move through the photos clicking on the wants you want to see. You can enlarge the photos by clicking on the little magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner. To get back to the main album page just click "View All". To get back to the Blog just click on your back arrow at the top left of the page.
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The "Daily Hit Counter" shows how many hits or visits the Blog receives.
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The "Out West Posse" is a group of followers who visit the Blog on a constant basis. It's easy to become one ... just click on the "Follow" button and follow the directions. You can click on each individual photo to learn more about these people and quite a few of them have their own sites and Blogs you might want to check out.
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Beneath that is another counter which shows where the last 100 hits came from and as you can see they come from all over the place.
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Next is a Google Search box where you can look up or search for something you might have a question about.
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In the next box are Advertisements I've allowed Google to place on my Blog. They're usually associated in some way to what the post is about.
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"Great Links To Visit" are some of my favorite sites. To see them just move your cursor over the one you want to check out and click.
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"Great Carving Blogs" work the same way.
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Last comes the "Blog Archive" . This is a list of all the Blogs I've published over the years. One thing I should mention is that a year or so ago I had a major crash of my photo site which resulted in the loss of the photos I had stored. The Blog posts are still around but the photos might not be.
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I hope this helps you out. Hopefully, I'm going to start posting more videos in the near future so it will probably get even more confusing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taking Photos!

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I think I finally may have figured this video stuff out enough to post something useful.  As I just finished photographing my newest piece I thought showing how I did it would be a good place to start.   One thing I forgot to mention was to make sure you use a tripod.  You want that camera to be steady as a rock when you press the button.
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Let me know what you think about this type of post. 

Rise & Shine!


Now that's a stretch! I think this carving really turned out great and even though I didn't add that second figure it ended up just the way it should have.
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One thing we have to remember is that the larger the piece the harder the sell. That is another reason I decided to keep it in the single figure category. I have no doubt that this cowpoke will not be around the Out West diggs for too long.
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In figuring out the details to add to this scene I knew that there should be a coffee pot setting on the stove but that left the two areas on either side. The basket of split wood took care of the larger spot and a spilled bottle of whiskey the smaller one. The little can of beans was something that could have easily been left out but its addition really finishes everything off nicely.
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I weathered the stove with a little Red Iron Oxide to indicate some rust and then dry brushed it with straight White. Once it was in place I filled the ash pit with a dollop of ModPodge and then sprinkled in some ash from my real stove. Once that was dry I lightly sprinkled some more ash on the stove tray and around the floor where ash would normally accumulate when loading wood. Very carefully I sprayed it down with Testors Dullcote and once dry came back and hit it again just to make sure. Once the Dullcote dries the ash looks as it should.
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This was a fun piece to do and in the Gallery there are quite a few photos. I hope you like him and look forward to your comments.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Oldtimer


I'm into the O's now and here are a couple of Oldtimers,
the one on the left done in '04 and the other in '02. Same basic colors but still each is unique from the other. Thats important to me and to a collector. Hope y0u like them and your comments are always appreciated. Also, I note that the Out West Posse is up to 61 members. That's great! For those of you who haven't joined this wild bunch you're certainly invited to do so. I like big numbers!

Friday, September 25, 2009

'Round The Bunkhouse Stove


Just finished this first character for my Bunkhouse Stove scene. Had the wife come down and model her longjohns so I could get the folds right. I had some worries about the face and whether I could capture a yawn correctly but it turned out just right. There's lots of fine detail in that mouth but it should turn out okay once it's painted.
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I think there will be one more figure to go on the other side of the stove. I'm thinking a fella pouring himself a cup of coffee. I even have a thought of maybe dog laying on the floor. Will have to wait and see about that one.
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That's not the base I will use just a piece of scrap to take the photos. As always your comments are welcome and appreciated. Lots of photos in the Gallery and please, no comments about my wife in her underwear!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Making A Bunkhouse Stove

I came across this photo the other day while looking for Bunkhouse reference material. While I've made potbelly stoves in the past I'd never considered a box style. It's clear that the fellas gathered around this heater are not Cowboys but it would be an easy matter to make some substitutions and come up with a real interesting western scene.
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When making a scene I almost always start with the main detail and then work in the other parts and characters. In the associated photos with this post you will find the measurements of my stove along with pictures of the raw blank and the finished product. In sawing out the blank I left the overall block square and cut out the shapes of the legs first. Next I sawed off the bottom of the stove with the legs attached. This left the stove in two pieces. I did this so I could make an ash pan openin
g at the front of the bottom which extended back underneath the box. It also makes it much easier to carve.
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Once the bottom was complete I whittled out the top and then the box shape and finally the details. I didn't concentrate too much on the outside stove ornamentation as it just isn't necessary. What little I did will be enough. To make the circular lid opening I used two forstner bits: a larger one to make the retaining ring and a smaller one to make the actual opening. I then cut a thin wooden circle for the lid to match the larger hole and then made a metal handle out of some steel rod.
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To finish it up I made the front latch out of a piece of coathanger wire and a piece of wooden dowel. The stove pipe is just some scrap wooden dowel from what I have no idea but it works.
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With the stove complete I'll now just set and wait until some character or characters show up to tell me what to do next.
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More photos in the Gallery and your comments are always welcome.

Flying With Steve

My good friend Steve from Madison, VA paid us a long anticipated visit this past week and brought along his airplane, a 1946 Globe Swift. Steve and I worked together in Chile and the old USSR back in the 70's. He is on his way to meet up with a group of other Swift owners in Santa Fe. From there they're off to California.
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Naturally, we had to fly over the Out West homestead so here's a photo of our place off of the right wing-tip:
From the bottom-right is the Out West Gallery, my workshop, and the barn. Our house is just up the drive. That bare earth spot out from the barn is where my buddy Boomer is buried.
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While Steve and I always remained in contact we hadn't actually shaken hands for over 30 years. Needless to say it was great to be able to set down and exchange old recollections of some of the troubles and fun we used to get into. Those were experiences I'll always cherish as they are experiences that can never be repeated.
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Good friends are hard to come by so keep the ones you have close cause in your later years they become even more important.
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Have a safe journey Steve!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bitter Creek Newcomb - Part 2


I got old Bitter Creek painted up and ready to face his ultimate end which in a lot of people's opinions is long overdue. I apologize for not taking more photos as I finished carving the final details. The camera was setting right next to me but I got so wrapped up in being able to carve again I completely forgot about it. I think you can see by the painted product just what I did. I did manage to capture a couple photos of the hat blank before I cut it out. It's carved just like we did the sombero in the "Pancho-Bottle Stopper" album. I just oriented the flipped up brim to the side a little go give this one a rakish look.
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Anyway, I hope you like him and your comments are always welcome. Lots of photos in the album.