An Ear for Music
This hound definitely will need to have an ear, or two ears, for music…so, here’s the start of that tale.
The outline of the ear was drawn out on a piece of paper and cut on the bandsaw from a block of basswood such that the grain of the wood ran along the length of the ear outline. Remember, this is important because the strength of the wood is greatest along the direction of the grain and you would prefer to have as many items as possible on the carving making use of this natural strength.
After a very rough approximation of the contour of the ear around the shoulder and front leg ( I want to call it an arm…I mean, he is playing a banjo after all ) I cut that contour out with a second trip to the bandsaw leaving a lot more wood than I would eventually need.
And the reason that you want to leave a lot of wood initially is that you are going to very gradually cut the inner side of the ear down little by little until it fits exactly and tightly to the shape of the head, shoulder and front leg. The way that you can do this is to take some artist’s lead ( usually comes in a bar, but a very soft pencil could work ) and rub the body with it where the ear will fit. Then, when you place the ear where you want it and wiggle it around a bit, a bit of the artist’s lead rubs off on the inner part of the ear. If you look close you can see the little marks left on the ear that basically represent the high points on the ear that touched the lead. After that it’s a simple process to gently cut away those marks with a knife or chisel. Repeating this process over and over again eventually gives you a super tight fit of the ear to the rest of the carving.
Put some of your favourite music on while you do this as it takes a while…but the end result is perfection. By the way, the lead markings can be shaved away and washed with soap and water. Also…wash your hands well…lead isn’t very good for you, so be sure not to ingest it by getting it on your hands and then eating something.