Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

Archive for the tag “banjo carving”

Photo-Op for a Country Hound

Our little Country Hound is finished and has now sat patiently for his photo-op.

I’m pretty pleased with the way that this little carving  has turned out.  Thanks to Lynne for her ideas on this carving as I would not have come up with this composition on my own.  It was fun to carve and complete.

I’ll put some additional photos on the Flickr site ( link at the side of this page ) a little bit later today.




Some Painting for the Country Pup

Here’s a quick first peak at the little pup with much of the painting completed.  This weekend, I’ll apply some satin clear urethane to seal and brighten the colours and that should be about it on the figure before I start into the base on which the rocking chair will sit.  I have some ideas for that but I’m sure they’ll change as I get started and add more to the scene.

So, here’s what I’ve been up to…

The hound got a base coat of ivory lightened with a bit of white.  Then, in many individual washes ( very diluted paint ) of alternating milk chocolate and asphaltum browns, he got his colouring and little “spots”.  Then, the figure received a very dilute wash of asphaltum brown over everything to bring out all of the little contours in the carving.  Finally, I applied some yellow ochre and raw sienna in little smudges just to show that his paws, in particular, are a bit dirty here and there.  After all, he is a Country Hound and should have spent at least a little bit of time close to the earth!

The overalls were  painted in several washes of midnight blue.  I darkened up the recesses and wrinkles with extra washes of the same colour, and then added some whitened blue to show where the high points were and where those denims may have been worn away a bit.  I also added a nice green and yellow plaid patch to the knee patch that I had carved earlier.  After a few hints of yellow ochre and raw sienna “dirt”, a dry brush of slightly darkened ivory was used to give the overalls that dusty and worn look that I like on the clothing that I carve.

For those interested in seeing these methods used in outstanding fashion, be sure to watch one of Lynn Doughty’s videos which you can link to off to the side of this page.

Well, that’s about it for now…hope you enjoy the progress so far and are having fun with your Christmas and Holiday preparations.



All Prepped for Paint

Well, I think that I’ve done about as much as I need to before putting a bit of colour to this little hound.  Let me tell you what I’ve done since my last post.

The little handkerchief got a bit of checker-board paint.  The colours are barnyard red and butterscotch, with a bit of highlighting over the butterscotch with bright white.  Finally, the whole thing got a dry brushing of ivory to make it look a bit used.  I still need to put a coat of urethane on it to brighten up the colours further…but, I like the result so far.

I also carved in a hint of some claws on all of the paws and then epoxied all of the pieces in place…the ears and the one back paw that cuddles the banjo.  After that I gave the whole thing a coat of very thinned gesso.  Again, I like to use the gesso where many others like to paint directly onto the bare wood.  For me, the gesso serves to seal the wood and make a good base for the acrylics and it also tends to highlight any imperfections so that I can deal with them before the final paint.  Normally, the imperfections are little stray knife marks or some wood “fuzz” that I don’t like.  Normally.

This case wasn’t normal…once I put the gesso on I noticed for the first time that I forgot something…a tail!  I guess that the overalls threw me off…but I corrected that after I stopped laughing.  I made the tail in my typical fashion with some copper wire twisted together and coated with epoxy.  I wrapped it around the back of the chair and I like the way that it balances the handkerchief on the other side of the carving.  I’m still chuckling a bit because I have been accused in the past of omitting tails!

Hope you like the way that it’s turning out…I’m enjoying it.





Pickin’ and a Grinnin’…

Our little hound will soon be pickin’ and a grinnin’ with this little banjo on his knee.

I cut the heads off of some very small, shiny finishing nails and arranged them around the tin section of the banjo.  This is meant to resemble the small bolts found on full size banjos that are designed to keep the drum skin tight.  Each nail is epoxied into holes that I drilled around the banjo skin.


I carved some “ears”, or tuning mechanisms, for the banjo out of oak and gave them a dark stain.


I then bundled some very fine wire together in five strands and epoxied it in a hole that I drilled in the base, or end, of the banjo and glued that bundle in place.  Then it was a matter of fashioning a very small bridge and gluing it to the banjo body skin to route the little strings across.

After drilling some holes in the tuning mechanisms will a pin, I threaded each wire through and wrapped it around the tuning dowels and epoxied them in place.  Finally, I arranged the strings evenly across the bridge and epoxied that end and the other end of the strings at the neck of the banjo so that everything would stay put.

A few twists of the remaining wire around a little dowel to make the curly bits at the end…and we’ve got ourselves a little banjo.

Now, that was fun.  I really need to think up more reasons to make banjos.  I wonder if they’d make nice Christmas Tree decorations?


Some Final Fitting

The banjo is looking so nice that I couldn’t resist doing some final fitting with everything together.  I added a bit of colour to the skin of the banjo to make it look well used.  I also added some of the aluminum tape to the frets to give them a metal shine.  To make the frets, I had started with a wood burning tool and a bit of silver paint, but just wasn’t satisfied with the look.  So I carved out small channels and inlaid the metal tape.  I’m a lot happier with that look.

If you remember the term “letraset”and the letters, numbers and figures that came with this product, you’ll remember this print application that basically rubs off on the item that you want to add some printing on.  Well I have a bit of that left in my shop and found a little swirly application that I added to the head of the banjo.

Still quite a bit of work to do on the banjo but I’m also getting very close to starting the painting on the hound.


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