Sunday, January 31, 2010

Out West Ramblings

My roof leaks! Ice dams suck! Where's Global Warming when you need it? Couldn't even get out of my front door last night as it was frozen shut! This is not supposed to happen in Oklahoma!!
Sat down at the workbench the other day and recorded a 30 minute video on carving Pancho's poncho only to find out that the camera operator forgot to push the record button! Sorry folks, you're going to miss that portion of Pancho's creation. Not to worry though, we'll make it up with a later version I'm sure. We'll pick it up with the hat in a day or two. As for that camera-person I'd fire her but it would be too expensive and she owns half the house and cooks all my meals.
Here's a great joke for us older folks:
"A group of 40 year old woodcarvers discuss and discuss where they should meet for dinner. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at Gasthaus Gutenberger restaurant because the waitress’s there are very shapely and there's free pretzels!
10 years later, at 50 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gasthaus Gutenberger because the food there is very good and the wine selection is good also.
10 years later at 60 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gasthaus Gutenberger because they can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke free.
10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gasthaus Gutenberger because the restaurant is wheel chair accessible and they even have an elevator.
10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gasthaus Gutenberger because they have never been there before."
Only three days left of the Out West Challenge. Hopefully, I'll be covered up with submission photos in a couple of days. Have got some great ones already.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Whiskey Jim Paints the Town!

From the color of that nose it looks like old Whiskey has been sipping a little to much of his samples. Either that or he's hit every saloon in town.
I'm going to have to do a full figure of this fella. Give him some plaid pants, some mule-eared boots and a long tailed coat and he'd look pretty spiffy.
More photos in the Gallery and your comments are always appreciated.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Favorite Movies of the Old West

I was recently ask what my favorite top 10 western movies are. I really can't tell you cause I haven't seen them all yet. Probably never will as there are just too many of them. One thing I will tell you is that not enough credit is given to that guy on the left... William S. Hart. He was the first "Big" cowboy star and even though his movies were made during the silent era they can stand up against just about any made today. If you haven't become acquainted with him you don't know what you're missing. Search out the movie "Tumbleweeds" and you'll see what I mean. That movie has everything in it. Here's a short cip from Youtube to give you a taste. And while Hart clearly steals the scenes watch for a little comic relief when a fly shows up when the dusty cowpoke pulls out his handless watch. Classic! And what about Hart's angora chaps? What modern day star could pull off wearing those?
Here's another link to a short he made when he retired from the silver screen. Luckily there is audio for this one:
I still almost tear up when he signs off at the end. What a star.
Judy and I, while attending the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival several years ago were fortunate enough to take a tour of his home which was located nearby in Newhall, CA. Being the detail nut that I am there wasn't a nook or cranny that didn't draw my interest. One of the really neat things I found in one old dusty display case was a carving by H.S. "Andy" Anderson. I pointed out to the docent just what they had there but there was no real interest. A shame but at least I know that Hart had the same appreciation for certain things that I have.
Of course John Wayne is right there next to Hart and one of his films which I really like is "The Big Trail" made back in 1930 before he was "discovered" as the Ringo Kid in "Stagecoach" in 1939. He did manage to make a few stinkers, one being "Riders of Destiny" back in 1933. In it he plays "Singing Sandy" and no, that melodiac voice is dubbed. Here's a short clip worth putting up with just to see and hear Gabby Hayes' comment at the end:
No, it would really be hard for me to come up with a list of only 10 favorites. That would be like asking me which of my carvings was my favorite. They're all my favorite....from the very first to the one I'm working on now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Whiskey Jim

I got a call last night from one of my best collectors who said that even though funds were tight he sure wanted a new carving. As I had a head already in the works and laying on the carving table waiting for Pancho to leave the scene I told him I had just what he was looking for.
This shifty character out to be pretty neat once he's painted up. With his beaded hatband and that turkey feather you just know he's been selling some of his rot-gut to the unsuspecting natives. I remember a scene in the movie Little Big Man when Dustin Hoffman's character, Jack Crabb, had hooked up with a shady medicine show huckster and just before they were tarred, feathered, and rode out of town on a rail someone kicked their whiskey barrel over and out poured snake heads, rusty horseshoes, and God only knows what else, mixed in with that rancid mixture. No doubt this fella uses the same recipe.
If you haven't seen that movie you don't know what your missing. Chief Dan George who plays Old Lodge Skins steals the show but there are lots of other really classic characters. I had read the book prior to seeing the movie and like Lonesome Dove it was one show that actually measured up to the printed version.
Anyway, stay tuned to see this reprobate if his true colors. Comments welcome as always.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Out West Challenge - Quigley Down Under

When you forward your photos via email at the end of the contest make sure to take the time to submit the best quality photo you can. If you have any questions on how to take a nice photo just check out my Blog post on taking photos. Here's the link:
A piece of posterboard and a couple of easy steps will give you excellent results. Also, keep them under 800 pixels tall or wide so my email connection doesn't flame-out. Thanks.

Pancho Project-Part 8-Pancho Gets A Poncho

Here is the video on Pancho’s new poncho.   No carving this time….just a lot of talk.  But sometimes that’s necessary.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pancho Goes On The Wagon

I was down at the shop this morning looking at Pancho laying on the workbench and thought ..."Boy! That head is just too good to waste on a bottle stopper!" So.......kicking ideas around while thumbing through my reference photos I found this photo of a "Saltillo" or Mexican poncho that I downloaded back in 2001. See, you've got to hang on to those photos when you come across them. Anway, I thought with a little modification it would make a great bust and turn an otherwise common bottle stopper into a really nice carving.
In the "Pancho Bottle Stopper-Bust" Picasa folder you'll find photos of the blank I cut out along with the measurements. I've also included photos of my blank. If you decide to do it this way be careful cutting that blank as it takes some tricky saw work. I knocked off the corners of mine but just as easily left them and carved them off. The web link at the bottom of the sketch is no longer valid. But you can find lots of photos of various Ponchos on the net.
The remainder of this will be done with videos, I just wanted you to see the pattern and the blank. The only thing different we'll be doing by switching to a bust is the lack of instruction in carving the neckerchief. But we did that in the Shifty series so we covered there if you want to continue with the bottle stopper.
I finally got my new editing software and we're on a pause with the kitchen cabinets till the countertops are made so maybe I can put up a new video soon. Now get back to work on those "Quigleys". Just a couple of weeks left!!!
Comments welcome as always.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Sorry about the absence of any new Blog posts recently. We're in the middle of a kitchen cabinet upgrade and the place has turned in to "Crazy House"! Hopefully, by the weekend, at least the new cabinets will be installed so things can get back to a degree of normality until the countertop crew shows up. Also, my new video editing software has been lost in the black hole of the U.S. Postal Service just when my free trial version expired. Why is life like this? And to think they want to run our health care. God help us all!
Anyway, sorry for the lapse in posts. How's those Quigley carvings going?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

New Video Format Test

Could you please check out this video and advise if you have any problems viewing it?  It’s a highly compressed file compared to the one I’ve been using and there is a slight loss of video quality but not so much as it detracts from the content.   If it works it will save me a lot of time and effort in uploading as I presently have to monitor the modem due to the length of the uploads.  Thanks.

Pancho Bottle Stopper – Part 7

With this post we’ll finish up the head.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Out West Challenge - The Participants

Here is a list of those signed up to participate in the Out West Challenge. If you sent me an email and your name doesn's appear here let me know and I'll make sure it gets added. No more names will be accepted once this list is published.

Mike Pounders, Little Rock, AR
Andy Snowden, Florence, Mt.
Jim O'Harra, Grove City, OH
Wayne Smith, Nova Scotia
Jim Quilici, Manteca, CA
Ed Redwine, Augusta, KS
De Mobbs, Melbourne, FL
Yaki Tzur, Israel
Dave Gilb, Phoenix, AZ

Terry Vance, Warner Robin, GA
Jeff Bailey, Tazewell, VA
Kris Brown, Walla Walla, WA
Glen Roe, Lebanon, TN
Brandant Robinson, Cedar City, UT
Alvin Belflower, Amarillo, TX
Rod Martin, Elkhart, IN
Chuck Brooks, Wilson, NC
Robbie Reed, Tahlequah, OK
Keith Stewart, BC Canada
Myron Compton, Pekin IN
Hal Allen, Shoreline WA
Tom Ellis, Spokane, WA
Joe Davis, Maryville, TN
Terry Curtis, Baldwin, MS
Debi Heney, Battle Ground, WA
Bob Tamillo, Ellettsville, IN
Jim Gleason, Waterloo, IA
Jim Daehler, Davenport IA
Robert Johnson, Quartz Hill, CA
Mark Lovell, Elm Springs, AR
Dave Dunlap, Kingman, AZ
Jerry Myers, West Alexandria, OH
Earl Benton, Springfield, MO
Jody Sebring, East Stroudsburg, PA
James Hooper, Edmond, OK
Jeffrey Day, Scenery Hill, PA
Peter Grant, Windsor, Ontario
Joe McMullen, Lincoln, NE
Tom Hindes, Delaware, OH
Ed Kantola, St. Maries, ID
John Smith, Anchorage, AK
Mark Dellinger, New Castle, IN
Tony Agatucci, Springfield, IL

Fred Krafton, Marshfield, MA
Loren Stiegelmeyer, Cedar Rapids, IA
Wow! Quite a group! My job is going to be much harder than I thought! A couple of you didn't give your complete information so if you could forward that I'd appreciate it. Once received I'll update this list with the missing information. Again, if you send me your name and it's not on the list please let me know.
If you have any questions just let me know. Now get to work!

Monday, January 04, 2010

It's On!!

I hope you've got your tools sharp, your research done, and your ideas all sketched out. It may not be High Noon yet but that Challenge is outside in the street waiting for you to show up. From all the names received so far it looks like it's going to be a great challenge. From British Columbia to Nova Scotia, from the United Kingdom to Israel, that street in front of the Out West Saloon is filling up fast.
Now for that "Kink" .........The kink is that there is no kink! There is a little detail on the hat that I'll be looking for so if you haven't done your research in that area you'd better go back and search some more. It's not required but you'll get extra points if it's on your piece.
So have fun and again, if you have a question just drop me a note.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Early Morning Snow Out West

Woke up this morning to 4 inches of fresh snow and snapped this photo of the shop and Gallery about 6:30am. Thought it was pretty enough to pass along. Shortly after taking it though I fell flat on my patootie on the way to the barn to feed the horse!! Fortunately, only my head hit the ground and not my wrist.

Tomorrow is the Big Day!!

Don't forget!! The Out West Challenge starts at tomorrow. Take a moment and read over the rules once more. Hopefully, they're clear but if you have a question just let me know. As I stated in the rules we'll be carving a "Bust" and this will be considered as anything above the knees. It could be a Bottle Stopper with the head and scarf, it could be the head and the
shoulders, the head and the body down to the waist, or, like my carving, clear down to the knees. You can paint it or leave it natural but it should have a finish coat on it. It must be mounted on a base.
I know some of you have to go to work tomorrow so you can start sending me your names now if you want. Send them to:
Do not put them in the comments section of this Blog! Like I said in the rules I'll publish all the names received tomorrow on Tuesday and once that list is up no more entries will be accepted.
So, good luck and most of all.......have fun!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Pancho Bottle Stopper – Part 6 – Mustache & Nose

Finally!  I’ve been at this since 6 this morning but at least part 6 is finished.   So here they are.  If you’’re wondering why I’m wearing my “Wellies” it’s because when we made the movies there was 6” of snow outside.  Anway, have fun!

Getting Confused?

If you've been into the video library and are wondering why the last few videos appear and then disappear only to reappear again in another format it's because I'm experimenting with a new program to try and find a better way of uploading things so you can gain access to them easier. I've tried MP4, AVI, and the Windows format and for some reason the program I had hoped to use uploads them in a 16:9 aspect ratio vs. the 4:3. This results in the pictures being stretched. Well, that just won't work as some of you have already let me know. Also, the MP4 format, with allows for much faster uploading due to the reduced size of the file cuts the quality way down. I've been notified about that too. So, until I find a way out of this digital morass I'm going back to the MP2 format which is gives great clarity but unfortunately very large files. Luckily, through suggestions from you we have a couple of ways to fix that problem or at least make it less of one. You can scroll down and find them. Here's their links:
- Realplayer from
I tried the first one and it worked for me. Haven't had a chance to check out the second.
Anway, I hope to get the remaining Pancho Part 6 videos up today in the MP2 format and will stick with that method until I can find something better.
Special Note: Remember......Only three days till the big event! Hopefully you've got your ducks all lined up!