Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

Archive for the category “Wrangler Hound”

A Watchful Eye on the Range

Buford is now complete and watching every move on that open range.  This carving was a lot of fun to complete.  I’ll get some additional photos up on the Flickr Site later today…but here’s a few shots for starters.





End of the Rope

Well, I think I’ve come up with the rope that I’ve been looking to create.  Lynn Doughty also gave me a terrific suggestion with the use of gun bluing that he’s used very successfully in his carving sculptures ( Outwestwoodcarving ) and I do want to give that a try at some point.

I took a bit of a different path and decided to take a stab at using plastic insulation coated wire.  This wire is probably 20 gauge or lighter wire but has a plastic insulation coating surrounding it.  You’ve seen this kind of wire sheathed in a bundle of six or more individual wires and used for telephone hook-ups, 12 volt door bell installations, etc.

I took three of the multicoloured wires, ran some sandpiper over the insulation to roughen it up and wound them together using the portable drill process that I described earlier and that I’ve seen Lynn use.  I then looped and bent the wires into the shape that I was looking for and epoxied  them together in several points in the loop.

The roughened up wires looked just terrific as they looked like the actual fibres that you’d see in a rope.  After a bit of priming and painting of the rope, I did find that the roughened plastic coating took the paint well and I’m pretty happy with the finished product.


A Quick Update

I know that this isn’t the greatest of photos, but I needed to show off how good Buford is looking now that the base is near complete and he’s been fastened and glued in place.  A few items to finish that I’m still not satisfied with…I want to tone down the silver parts with a bit of Payne’s Grey, I have some fake nails to make up for the posts and rails, and…

…I hate to admit it but my rope experiment failed miserably.  The paint just did not adhere to the wire that I used.  So, it’s back to the drawing board but I’ll get that licked this week.


“It’s All About the Base, ’bout the Base…”

“…no trouble!”  I suspect that I’m probably infringing on a music copyright here.  Sorry.

But, when the base is looking right, the whole carving looks right.  You might recall that when I completed the “Hobo and Ned” carving, the track beneath the pump-car had a gravel and sand bed between the rails.  The gravel and sand was actually a stone and polymer mixture that is used between patio stones and pavers.  Once this mixture is swept into the gaps between the individual pavers and water is added, the mixture cures near rock hard.

I used the same mixture for the sandy soil around the fence posts.  In this instance, though, I didn’t want the soil to be coarse gravel like I wanted for the rail bed.  So, I took some cheese cloth and sifted the dry mixture to separate the larger pieces of grit.  I then added a diluted mixture of white carpenter’s glue rather than just straight water.  I felt that this would just make sure that the polymer really bonded well.  I picked out a few larger pieces from what I had sifted out of the mixture and added them, here and there, to the sandy soil with some of the white glue mixture.  Finally, I positioned the hound in place and “pushed” the boots into the mixture until I was satisfied with the overall stance.


Once things dried, I thought it looked pretty good.  I want to add some colour now to make it look more on the sandy side, but, all in all, I’m pretty happy with the result so far.


“I’ve Got Spurs that Jingle, Jangle, Jingle…”

“…as I go ridin’ merrily along…”

You couldn’t possibly remember that song.  I learned it in Grade 3 and we sang it regularly.  I just recently learned that it is a song written in 1942 and made popular by a number of singers, including Gene Autry.  I hummed it over the last couple of days as I made up a set of spurs for Buford.

I started with a couple of brass tacks I found in a shop drawer.  I flattened them out in a vice to learn that the tack pin is actually a nail with a head.  That little nail ended up being a nice “axle” for a spinning spur.


I then took a file and cut teeth around the circumference of the spur.  Following that, I used a bit of lead to fashion the bracket of the spur that wraps around the boot heel.  This bracket is actually in three pieces.  The part that has the spur “wheel” is drilled directly into the heel of the boot and epoxied in place.  The side portions of the brackets are flattened and shaped lead pieces that are epoxied to the sides of the boot.

The bracket portion of the spurs was given a coat of silver acrylic paint and a urethane coating.  I think that it looks pretty reasonable.  Plus, them spurs spin!


First Attempt at Rope

I spent a few minutes today making some rope that will become Buford’s laso that will hang on the cedar rail.  By the way, just try to type “laso” without auto-correct turning it into “also.”  That sentence took a while to complete.

Anyways, I picked up some 18 gauge wire from the hardware store and twined three strands into rope.  I took about three six-foot lengths of wire and put one end of the three strands in my battery operated drill chuck.  I then took each of the strands and wrapped them individually around a nail held in a vice on my work bench.  By using this nail method, I was able to stretch tight each of the individual strands so that the end result was that all three strands ended up being equally tight.  Then I just slowly operated the battery to twine the strands into rope.  I saw this idea on Lynn Doughty’s site some time ago and have been itching to try it.

I can’t remember if Lynn used a nail to wrap the individual strands around, but it seemed to me the only way that you can ensure that you don’t end up with one of the strands being more slack then the others before you start winding.

I think it turned out pretty well.Then I grabbed a cream coloured enamel spray can that I had in the shop and wound the rope around it so that it coiled.  I thought that it would be easier to spray paint this way.



When the cream coloured enamel was dry, I brushed some dark brown paint ( surprisingly the same colour as my garage doors)   over the full length of the coil.  Then, before the paint dried, I wiped it off leaving the dark brown in the recesses of the wound rope.  Looks a bit like a rope doesn’t it?


Painting Completed

Our little Cow-hand’s painting is now complete.  The pants are grey with a bit of burnt umber, yellow ochre and raw sienna.  The boots are asphaltum with black heels and soles and then some yellow ochre and raw sienna added in as mud and dirt.  Finally, the whole thing was dry-brushed with a mixture of ivory and raw sienna to give everything a dusty look.

I made a top button out of a piece of lead and used aluminum adhesive backed tape over the belt buckle to finish that off.  The only item left for me is to fashion a couple of spurs for those big boots and then we’ll be ready to finish the fence rails and base.

Plus, I got some more gardening done today before the rain came down in buckets!


Weather-Worn Cowhand

Buford’s colouring is coming along and he’s looking pretty weather-worn from all of his ranch-hand duties.

I’m still not certain on the glove colour and it might change a bit, but I’m generally happy with the way he’s looking.  The blue vest has a red wash added in several coats to give it some depth and the camel coloured shirt has some burnt umber and asphaltum added in the crevices for depth.  Similarly, I added some purple in the crevices of the red neckerchief for highlights.  Some raw sienna and yellow ochre is added here and there for some added dirt.

I’m picturing grey pants and dark brown cowboy boots as the next steps.

It’s really nice that yard-work is crowding my carving and painting time…it’s been nice to get outside again after a long winter.


Painting Progress

It’s a sunny day, I had bacon and eggs for breakfast, and spent the morning doing a bit of painting on Buford.  What a day!

Although I’m just holding the ears in place, you can see that this little guy is going to make a nice little carving.

The head and ears have a cream coloured background and alternating washes of Chocolate Brown and Asphaltum Brown.  A very, very light wash of Asphaltum covers the cream coloured snout and I was sure to leave a few darker “blemishes” for interest.  The nose and lower lip are Carbon Black with a bit of Chocolate Brown mixed in.  The inside of the ears have Chocolate Brown mixed with a Flesh tone.

His “smoke” is a nail bent up and painted with white, and a black-and-white “ashes” tip.

The eyes got a bit of a Flesh tone treatment at the base and then were covered in clear 5 minute epoxy…which gives it a nice gloss.  If you use this method, I’d suggest you first try it with a bit slower drying epoxy as you have to work pretty quickly with the 5 minute epoxy.  You don’t want the epoxy setting up too quickly and spoiling the clear and smooth effect for the eyes.

Plus…it’s my Birthday today, Paul and Emily gave me two great books to read, and, courtesy of my Mom, we’re having a big dinner to top things off!  What a day!


The Painting Begins

Buford’s hat got a bit of paint last night.

I used Asphaltum brown in several washes ( light, watered-down coats ) to build up the colour in the hat.  I followed that up with a black head-band and then some dry brushing with a colour of Butterscotch.  Remember that the dry-brushing is basically loading up your paint brush with the desired colour and then removing most of the paint onto paper towels before lightly brushing the carving with a light back and forth motion…think of it as a feather soft brushing of the carving.  If you use a fat enough brush and a light touch, this leaves only a hint of colour on the highest points of the carving and leaves a sense of dust or wear.

As a final touch, the acrylic paints were covered with an acrylic satin finish and wiped dry with a paper towel.  Lynn Doughty gives several good examples of this process on his Outwestwoodcarving site.  I tend to start first with a light coat of white gesso as a primer directly on the wood but will try Lynn’s method of painting with acrylics directly on the wood at some point.

I think that the hat is looking pretty good and will suit this little hound cowboy…not quite a villain type but, out on the range, he ain’t no push-over either.


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