Friday, January 30, 2009

Special Photo Gallery Note

Since a number of you have experienced problems with the Photo Gallery section of this Blog I have switched to a Picasa photo storage format. If you look to the right of this post you will see a column titled "Out West Woodcarving Photo Galleries". Under that title there are two links, the new Picasa Photo Gallery and the older Original Gallery. From this post on all new photo entries will be posted to the Picasa site while all photos up to this point will remain in the Original gallery. Just click on either gallery depending on the photos your looking for. Hopefully, with will solve the problem. I think you will like the newer version much better than the old, at least I hope so.
Thanks for you continued interest in my carvings and techniques.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Holy French Revolution Batman....the guy finally carved something!!! Well, he ain't no Cowboy but I at least did something!
-Last night we watched a movie titled "The Emperor's New Clothes" starring Ian Holm about the General's escape from his island prison and his quest to reestablish himself as the Emperor of France. Well, things didn't go exactly as he was hoping but I think it turned out okay. Anyway, I really liked his hat and thought it would make a good carving, especially as the Great Plains Woodcarving Show in Wichita that comes up in a couple of months added a new "Bust" category.
-As the ground is covered with snow and the roads are too slick to drive on I spent the day in the shop literally whipping this thing out! With the base he stands a little over 12" tall so he's a pretty impressive piece. As the hat is really the key to this carving I wanted to get the folds just right. To do that I took and old felt hat and folded it to resemble the one he wore. Of course it didn't look exactly like it but it was enough for me to see how it would look. With that information I sketched out the shape on a 4" thick piece of Basswood and cut the side and front profiles.-
I wanted to head to set deep into his overcoat so I oversized the coat and used a Forstner bit to drill out the cavity for the head and neck. It took a lot of fitting and refitting to get the head to settle down into the coat but I think it really turned out well.-
The hat will be black, the coat a brownish gray and his uniform dark blue with red pipeing. I haven't decided on how to do the fine details of his badges yet but there will be a rosette on the hat front and some medals somewhere. There will be a different base, the one in the photo was just a couple I had laying around.
So, I think this should be a neat little study of an interesting little man with a monsterous ego. As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated. More photos in the Picasa Gallery link to the right of this post.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wild Bill

I was looking through my older photos to put on the Blog and came across Wild Bill
Hickok which I had fogotten about completely. He's another piece I did before I had access to a digital camera so I don't have that many photos. I probably did this one shortly after I read the book "Wild Bill Hickok" by Joseph Rosa. A real good read if you want to know just about everything about the man. Another one is "Deadwood" by Pete Dexter. This is the book the HBO series is based on and also the movie Wild Bill starring Jeff Bridges.
Remembering back, I was probably first made aware of Wild Bill back in 1949 when my parents took us on a trip up through the Black Hills. I can remember going to Mount Moriah Cemetary but not much else about Deadwood. Judy and I have been back twice since retirement and while Wild Bill would probably approve of all the Casinos in the city now it's just a little too commercial to me.
There are a couple more photos in the Gallery and as always comments are welcome.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Buffalo Soldier

Having finally gotten the recent problems with this Blog straightened out with the valued assistance of my Brother, I thought I'd better post something quick before you lose interest.
I did this piece a couple years ago. I've always had a fasination with the Buffalo Soldiers. You probably already know that they acquired that name from the Native Americans who associated their dark skin and woolly topknots to the animals that roamed the plains. Here are a couple of great sites where you can learn just about everything you might want to know about them plus find some great reference material:
The title of this carving is "Smoke Break". While we don't know this fella's name we can see he's the First Sergeant of his Cavalry Troop by his arm and Kipi insignia. He's carrying a Sharps Carbine and looking forward to a cool drink out of that regulation canteen. If you look close on his right side you will note the rifle clip next to his sidearm which hooks to the sliding ring on the side of the rifle.
There are a few other photos in the Gallery. As always, your comments and opinions are welcome.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Lack Of Inspiration!

You've probably been wondering when is he going to post the next lesson on "Stretching His Rope"! Well, I'm having a problem there which is summed up by the title of this post. I'm sure you've all had this same sort of experience with projects where, for some reason you just can't seem to regain enough interest to carry on. I'm sorry to say that I am at that point with this one and I think the only thing to do right now is to just walk away from it for a bit and concentrate on something else for a bit. Sorry!


Considering my stocks and other investments seem to have gone to hell I thought it might be a good time to grab my gold pan and hit the creek bottom once more to see if I can find my own bailout!
Some of you might recall that in back 1997 I was fortunate enough to have a similar carving of a gold miner featured on the cover of Chip Chats. I did this one a few years later. While this fella is standing on the creekside instead of kneeling most of the other details are quite similar to the earlier piece, i.e., the pick, shovel, gold pan and mount. I did add a sidearm as the claimjumper problem has increased. The creekside is set in a hollowed out walnut base and surrounded by clear resin. As before I used some goldleaf to cover a small pebble which I secured between his fingers and then sprinkled some flakes of the goldleaf on the creek bottom and in his pan before I poured the resin. It gives a great effect to see those pieces sparked underneath the water.
When using resin or clear epoxy to make a water effect it's always good to remember to do it in stages. In this instance I mounted everything in place first as once the resin is poured nothing can be moved. I added just enough to the bottom of the creek to allow me to position my rock and gravel detail so it would be locked in place. Once that was dry I added a little more in several steps to build it up to the level I was after. With the creek done I added a little gravel in the pan and then enough resin to drip over the edge into the creek below. As a last step to make the water rings from the dripping pan and the drop from the pan edge once the resin was completely cured I mixed up a little 5 minute epoxy and with a toothpick worked it into the rings and that drop. All this might sound a little involved but the effect is worth it and its also a lot of fun. Oh....almost forgot.....take an old brush and paint some resin up over his boots so they look like he was standing in the water.
In the Gallery are a few other photos along with the cover of the Chip Chats issue. As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.