tributesinwood

Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

A Few “Props” And It’s Done

The “Props” were actually a lot of fun to make and they turned out ok.

The Vicar’s wine goblet was just carved and sanded and then painted with silver acrylic paint. I mixed a few drops of reddish-brown into a little pool of clear epoxy and dropped it into the cup. The outside of the goblet got a coat of clear epoxy to give it an ultra shiny appearance.

The shot glass was carved and then I built up just about a 1/16th of an inch of epoxy around what would be the rim. I sanded the epoxy as flat as I could and then painted the wood and again covered everything in epoxy. I’m not over-the-moon about it…but it’s ok.

The beer mug was also carved with the handle being added separately. I hollowed out the rim area and after painting the wood, I added some flour to the epoxy and “frothed” it up by stirring it for a while. When I came back to check it, a little drip had formed over the edge of the “mug” and I thought that looked pretty good.

I think that the ashtray is my favourite piece. Just carved and painted it followed by a satin urethane finish.

So, here’s how it all came together. I should mention that I went with the very long caption on the carving so I ended up painting the caption on a base that I made. To get a bit of a template for the script, I printed it out on a Powerpoint program ( in reverse ) and then rubbed the ink-jet printed paper onto the base. It came out pretty light but I just wanted it as an indication of how to space the script…I followed up with a small brush and black paint.

Time for Some Drinks

Well, first you start by putting a bottle on your work table. Then, without touching the bottle, you carve the shape of the bottle and then sand it. After you sand it and, again, without touching the bottle, you use some asphaltum, burnt umber and black to get the right shade of the bottle. Then ( don’t touch the bottle ), you use a light beige to create the label and outline it in gold. And then, with a soft HB pencil, you draw in the label script. Apply a bit of satin urethane on the painted label and paint the rest of the bottle with 30 minute epoxy to give it a nice gloss.

Now you can have a swig from the bottle.

Building a Bar

The Vicar followed the same steps as I took in making the Admiral and the Cowboy. I gave him a little cape to bring some colour into the figure and then it was on to building the bar.

The “box” of the bar is just a solid piece of basswood. I used a dremel tool to router some inlays into the front of the bar. The top is a separate piece of hardwood and, again, I used the dremel tool to make a bit of a decorative edge.

I painted the bottom with some house latex paint that I had laying around and then added some highlights with asphaltum, burnt sienna and raw sienna. I then dusted it up a bit with some “desert sand” dry-brushing. The top of the bar got a walnut stain.

After beating it up gently with a small hammer to give everything a well-used-bar look, I put a coat of satin urethane over everything.

I still want to add some details ( like drinks for the poor fellows ), but I’m really pleased with the way it’s looking.

The Cowboy

The next in line for this project is The Cowboy.

Again, I started with a quick clay model and then used it to make a very simple line diagram on the front and side of a block of basswood that I brought to the bandsaw to do its magic. After some roughing out with a Foredom tool equipped with a very aggressive Typhoon bit ( and, again, be careful using these ), this is what the rough-out looked like. I had already carved the head for this piece, so I just drilled an oversized hole for its placement.

The hat was created in the usual manner with the crown and brim separate so that the grain matched the strongest direction. The head is cut away to accept the brim of the hat.

Then, with knives and a few small gouges, I started adding detail. The neckerchief, gloves and vest were a must for this ranch-hand. I used a dilute coat of urethane over the entire carving to seal things up and to harden any “fuzzy” sections that I later sanded lightly away.

Yellow ochre, chocolate brown, asphaltum ( why is it so hard to get that colour at stores right now? ), midnight blue ( light washes ) and dabs of yellow ochre and raw sienna here and there gave the little guy a nice set of working clothes. The final finish was with some dry-brushing to highlight the high points of the carving followed by a satin urethane finish. I really like Lynn Doughty’s methods and, in particular, his application of the urethane…so, check out one of his tutorials on Outwestwoodcarving to get a step-by-step “how-to” on this method.

Lord Horatio Weatherbee

I’m moving slowly along on my game show idea featuring a British Admiral, a Sherlock Holmes type Investigator and a Cowboy. I did get one point wrong on my last post, though…the original 60’s and 70’s gameshow wasn’t called “What’s My Line” ( that was another show that I used to watch )…the one that I’ll be mimicking was called “To Tell The Truth.”

So, you’ll recall that I started off with the three heads that I carved, one of which looked like a Naval Officer…thus, Lord Horatio Weatherbee of the British Admiralty! I got things started with some clay to get a bit of an idea of what I was after as well as to set up a paper pattern to cut out the basswood blank.

From there, a combination of a Foredom “Typhoon” bit followed with a knife and gouge resulted in the basic hat and body. By the way, I found out in the process that the hat is called a “bicorne”…didn’t know that. I used the usual method of transferring lead pencil markings from the head to the hat to seat the hat very precisely on the head. Check out one of Lynn Doughty’s great videos on Outwestwoodcarving if you need a bit more of an explanation on this method. You can see that I also used a burning tool to clean things up as I went.

The final piece prior to painting looked like this.

For final touches, I added some copper wire which I twisted together into a braid by chucking the wire into a battery operated hand drill and operating it at a low speed. Brass decorative finishing nails and some acrylic paints with a satin urethane finished it off.

‘Heading’ Into A New Project

This is probably the first time that I’ve just started carving heads not knowing what the project would end up looking like. Now that the heads are fairly complete, though, I’m starting to get some ideas.

Do you remember the old game show called “What’s My Line?” They’d introduce someone, say an airline pilot, and then contestants would try to guess who was actually the airline pilot amongst three people…the actual pilot and two imposters.

I was thinking about carving a bust for each of these heads…a Cowboy, a Sherlock-Holmes style Investigator and a Naval Officer of old. The busts would be situated on and behind a panel top with the words “What’s My Line” carved into the front. It would look like the original game show.

Anyways, just a thought that came to me…

Al’s Fender Bender

Well I had fun doing this carving as it was a bit of a departure from my other caricature carvings in that it was meant to resemble a specific person.

My friend, Pat, asked me to do a caricature of her husband, Al, ( also a friend!) doing what he enjoys…rocking on with his Fender guitar and amp. As it was a birthday surprise that he only received this past Friday and as he and Pat tend to follow what I’m doing on this blog, I had to wait to publicize things…so, here it is!

I started with a few photos that Pat sent me and downloaded a few additional photos of the Fender Stratocaster and amplifier that Al owns. Once again, I did the figure in clay and then used the clay figure as a model for the carving. The clay work was particularly helpful when modelling the face…I think that I would have gone through a lot of failed attempts if I had tried to do the initial resemblance in wood!

I actually started with the guitar and amp. The guitar is made from oak and I cut out the blank and added details based on a print-out that I made from a local music shop website…the nice part of doing this is that I was able to make the exact size that I wanted by reducing the print size to what I wanted and then just cut it out on the bandsaw. After some carving, some acrylic paint to simulate the wood grain and several coats of gloss urethane…pins, nails, metal tape and fine wire went into making up all of the details. The amp was made from basswood and includes some screws and metal tape. The amp screen was produced with a v-tool and several coats of alternating white and silver acrylic paint.

I did my typical carving of the head and hat separately using calipers that you see in the photo for measuring from the clay and then started into the body.

Once again, I kept the arms separate so that the grain direction of the wood was aligned as best as possible along the length of the arms. I had considered an additional joint at the one elbow but felt that the grain direction was pretty good and that glueing and pinning the “strumming” arm to the guitar would give it ample strength…plus, Al’s pretty careful with things!

The base is maple with a few lines that simulate floor planking. A few buttons ( decorative nails ) were added to what became a leather jacket and the Fender logos were painted on the guitar, amp and t-shirt.

I really enjoyed this project but the most enjoyment, by far, came from the smile on Al’s face!

Friends in High Places

“Friends in High Places” just seemed to be a more fitting name for the carving.  I added a few dog toys for interest and then glued everything together.  I’m still thinking about adding one or two pigeons and a nameplate for sure.

I’m really happy with this carving.

On The Ropes

Wendell needed a rope seat to lean back against as he’s washing the windows, so I grabbed some household electrical copper wire to fashion the ropes.

I chucked up just two strands of copper wire into my battery operated electric drill and with the other ends of the wire wrapped around a nail that  I drove into my work table, I slowly wound the wires into a rope.  To make the knots that I needed, I just took an inch or so length of this wound wire and curled it into something that looked like a knot.  These curled pieces were later just slipped over the “rope” and crimped and glued in place.

The hooks that were glued in place on the window sills are cotter pins that were cut in half.

Everything got a light sanding, a coat of primer, some acrylic paint and finished with satin urethane.  I’m happy with the way that they turned out.

Fun With Details

I think that I have the most fun with adding the little details to the carving.  I’m just starting to epoxy the pieces together so I want to make sure that I add the smaller details before things are permanently in place and more difficult to reach easily.

The first thing I did before epoxying “Wendell’s” feet to the apartment ledge was to add shoelaces.  The laces are just black 16 gauge wire that you can buy at any hardware store.  With an awl, I poked some shoe lace holes into the shoes and made small “u” shaped pieces of wire and glued them in place with a little bit of CA glue ( “crazy glue” ).  Left as black wire, they look great and look even better with one shoe tied ( just a loop on the wire ) and the other shoe untied.

I like the way that this turned out with the shoe lace dragging on the ledge.  The other side of the shoe has the lace hanging down below the ledge.


The “tied” shoe lace is actually two separate loops of wire with a single larger hole in the centre of the lace where I glued both halves to the shoe.  




I should mention that gluing ( with epoxy ) the feet to the ledge was a bit of an ordeal.  I had to position the figure so that his upturned toes were against the window frame, his hand with the rag on it was in the right plane  of the window both horizontally and vertically and that I had room for the arms and head when I attached the “ropes” to his swing seat.  So, it took a bit of positioning.  Once I had it where I wanted it, I drilled both the feet and the ledge and inserted an inch long nail ( with the heads removed ) into the feet and ledge and epoxied around them.  The toes against the window frames also got a dab of CA glue.  The final thing that will give some added strength to the figure is the seat suspended by “ropes”…that’s next.

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