Here’s the completed carving of the Beach Basset. Enjoy! I’ll get some more photos on he Flickr Site shortly.
Well, here’s something new for me.
You’ll recall from an earlier post that I fashioned a newspaper out of a light sheet of brass, with some soldering and “newspaper white” painting included.
Now comes time for the printed sections. I knew that the printing couldn’t be readable given the size of the paper (!) and that I only needed to provide some chicken scratch for the articles, but, I wasn’t completely sure how I was going to do it. I eventually decided on using a mechanical pencil with an HB lead ( read: small, soft and dark ), followed with a light mist coating of a matte finish urethane to prevent things from smudging.
I’ve completed the front of the paper and even included a couple of advertisements and a “photo” of a doghouse to go along with one of the articles. I’m pretty pleased with the Daily News so far!
I’ve been poking along on my carving in between raking leaves, cleaning windows, raking leaves, getting the house ready for winter, raking leaves…did I mention raking leaves?
The base is my usual 1/2″ oak and I’ve added some sand for the beach scene. The sand is once again a polymer mixed with aggregate that is used in the patio block laying business. The nice thing about the mix is that once I screen out the larger pieces and am left with the “sand”, adding a little water activates the polymer and sets it rock hard. I actually mix it with a bit of white glue and water to give it greater sticking power.
Here’s a photo of what it looked like while it was still drying. Once dry, I’ll give it a couple of coats of sand coloured acrylic paint. By the way, I’ve added a little sand pail and shovel along with some small shells. The shells almost look real because…they are.
Our little hound just needed a drink, that’s all.
A few steps…the coconut was carved and then just roughed up a bit with a typhoon bit on a foredom tool to give the coconut some “fuzz.” It was painted with brown acrylic and then dry brushed with a lighter brown for highlights.
The umbrella was made of a piece of brass that was cut in a circle and then shaped into a point by cutting one radius line and overlapping the brass followed by soldering. The stem of the umbrella is just the rod of a pop-rivet that was epoxied in place. A straw was bent from a short length of metal rod about the size of a finishing nail.
Everything was painted with acrylics and topped with a matte coat of urethane spray.
The drink in the coconut was made from epoxy mixed with some flour ( to give it some “foam” ) and a bit of pink acrylic paint.
I think he’ll enjoy this drink.
It was time to bring out the tinsmith in me if we were going to get any decent looking newspaper for the beach-bound-hound to read. A quick trip to the hobby shop did the trick and I came home with a good sized piece of 0.005″ brass. I could have bought some thinner stock as they had anywhere from two thousands to five thousands of an inch but the five thou felt about right to me for stiffness.
I actually started by taking some aluminum tape and doubling it up. I then bent ( easily ) the tape into the size and shape that I wanted for the newspaper…wrinkles and creases included…and used this as a mock-up for the stiffer and more difficult to shape brass.
Here’s what it looked like at that point. You’ll notice that each of the four corners have an additional layer of brass to give the paper the impression that there are several pages. I did this by just cutting little triangles and soldering the triangles in place and later curling the two layers away from each other. I actually was quite surprised that the brass took soldering but the joints are very strong.
I was able to sand and file the soldered marks smooth and then added a light coat of epoxy as a filler to do any final sanding. Automotive spray paint primer was also added with some final sanding of those soldered seams in between coats. And then, finally, I mixed up some white gesso with an ivory coloured acrylic and painted the primed surface with several coats leaving just a bit of the grey primer showing very slightly through. The whole procedure ended up looking pretty close to newsprint to me.
Well that was a lot of fun. I’ll have to find reasons to add brass to the rest of my carvings. Next step…add some printed sections.
Now that I see this picture that I just added…I should mention that I decided to replace the yellow stripes on his bathing suit with a darker blue stripe. I think the darker suit looks better than the original blue and yellow.
This is my first attempt at making some wire frame glasses to go along with a wood carving. I started by making a round loop in some copper wire by wrapping some soft copper wire around a dowel of suitable diameter. I then used a very fine saw that I have to “miter” cut the excess wire so that I’d end up with a fine and tapered joint to solder against. I left enough excess wire to fashion the arms of the glasses.
That excess wire was then bent back at 90 degrees to begin to form the arm of the glasses. A second loop/arm arrangement was made for the other lens and arm of the glasses. Notice how the solder was filed down to give some shape to the section of the glasses where the lens frame meets the arm.
Lastly, a nose section was made and used to solder the two lens frames and arm “assemblies” together.
With a little bit of filing and smoothing, some “worn penny” acrylic paint followed by a coat of urethane…and we have a pretty presentable set of reading glasses.
The little beach basset painting is pretty much complete. I’ve painted the old fashioned swim-suit with yellow and blue strips with some ivory coloured dry brushing over top for some extra character. On now to a set of reading glasses and a newspaper…which will both be something new and interesting for me.
It’s Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada and we’re well into enjoying our turkey dinner. The weather is just beautiful and we’re relaxing this weekend and enjoying all of the goodies on the table.
I did sneak away to get a bit more painting done on the latest project. I think he’s looking pretty good at this stage but lots of detail and finishing to do yet. The face is mostly white with a bit of off-white for highlights. The ears, face and spots on the legs and paws are raw sienna. The old-fashioned bathing suit is bright yellow and light blue. Lots of highlights and a few spots of additional colour here and there will make the carving really stand out. Oh yeah, and a newspaper and wire reading glasses are yet to come…
I actually tried a number of different paint schemes for the Muskoka chair as they come in pretty much every colour of the rainbow and a variety of different themes…solid colours, alternating colours, stained wood, etc. The one thing in common, though, is that they tend to be well used and having sat out in the weather for the summer season ( and the winter if you forgot to bring them in ), they tend to look a bit weather worn.
I ended up with a red and white chair. The white is actually a bit off-white and the red is Tuscan Red. I then used burnt umber, raw sienna, yellow ochre and a slate grey to highlight some worn areas and add a bit of “dirt.” I then dry brushed the entire piece with a mixture of burnt umber and white and, finally, coated the entire chair with satin polyurethane, being careful to wipe off the excess to ensure a dull finish.
I like the way that it turned out and I think the little hound in his bathing suit is going to look like he’s visiting his favourite spot on the beach and sitting in his go-to chair.
Remember the Monty Python skit with the guys with the knotted handkerchiefs on their heads? Ha! When I was a kid we had a very nice older man as a neighbour who also used to always knot a handkerchief and wear it on his head when he was cutting the grass.
Well, our little Beach Basset is following suit. The handkerchief with the stress wrinkles at the corners where the knots are located was simply carved into the head of the Basset. I cut the edges irregularly to make it look like the material was disappearing beneath itself all around the head.
The knots were made separately from small pieces of cherry. The cherry was used as it is harder than the basswood and will be able to withstand an inadvertent “knock” without breaking off. I just fashioned a knot with the end piece hanging out and a long round section on the other end that could be epoxied in drilled holes at the knot locations of the handkerchief. You can see this in the one photo that shows two knots back to back that were later separated in the middle and glued in place.
Monty Python lives again!