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.
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.
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.
Should have the finished article up tomorrow or the next day. As always your comments are welcome and appreciated. More photos in the gallery.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Carving A Cowboy Bust – Part 8 – The Hat Continued

Carving A Cowboy Bust – Part 7 – The Hat Continued

We’re back with the hat brim.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More photos in the Gallery and comments always welcome.


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.
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.
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. 
If you’re interested in the San-O-Flex sanding wheel you can get all the information at  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.
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. 
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.


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.


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. 


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!


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.


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. 


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. 


One more thing… 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.


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.
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.
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.
The "Daily Hit Counter" shows how many hits or visits the Blog receives.
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.
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.
Next is a Google Search box where you can look up or search for something you might have a question about.
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.
"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.
"Great Carving Blogs" work the same way.
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.
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.