Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

Archive for the tag “cowboy carving”

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.


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.

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.


The Cowboy Hat

Now that the head is at least roughed in for our little cowboy hound, it’s time to start thinking about a hat.  The hat is made in two pieces along the same lines as described by Lynn Doughty on his website OutWestWoodcarving.  Basically, the side view of the brim was outlined on a piece of basswood with the grain of the wood running from the front to the back of the brim.  After cutting out this profile, an elongated oval was cut ( looking from the top of the hat ) so that I ended up with the cut-out shown in the second photo, below.



Following that, I took a little bit off of the top of the hound’s head to make a flat area to sit the hat upon.  Using the method of applying some pencil lead to the top of the head and slowly chiseling away the impression of the lead that’s left on the hat, I ended up with a depression on the bottom of the hat brim that made a nice tight fit on the head.  This might seem a bit unnecessary to you, but you’ll find that having this depression makes the hat sit nicely on the head in a way that leaves you with the impression that the hat is fully covering the head and not just sitting on top of it.



The crown of the hat was pretty simply made…just a quick cut out of an almost rectangle on the bandsaw and then some knife carving to get the rounded shape from the top view.  I say, rounded, but it actually is round with a bit of a point at the front.  That just seemed to look about right to me.  Then, I just used the same method of applying pencil lead to the brim and let it rub off onto the bottom of the crown so that all of the high points were highlighted by the lead markings.  A few ( actually, quite a few ) swipes with a shallow gouge removed those lead marks and ended up with the crown sitting nicely on the brim.  I should also mention that I added a hat band using a carving knife and a quick pass with a burning tool.

Hope you like things so far.






Roughing in the Head

The Wrangler Hound is starting to take some shape.  The general outline of his head was marked out on a piece of basswood and cut away on the bandsaw.  I intentionally cut the outline a little bit larger than I expect the carving to be when it’s completely so that I have room to cut in some deep wrinkles and folds that these little Basset Hound carvings end up having.


I started off using a Typhoon bit and the Foredom tool to move some wood away quickly and do some general shaping.  I’ve mentioned before that Typhoon bits are very aggressive carbide tipped bits.  If you decide to use this method of blocking in your carving, you need to wear the appropriate protective gear…safety glasses, gloves, leather apron and either leather or very heavy sleeves.  Of course, you can use your regular knife to accomplish the same thing.

The roughed-in surface after the shaping with the Foredom tool and a bit of refining with a carving knife is looking like this.  Next step will be to cut a flat section along the top of the head and add in a weathered, droopy, cowboy hat.








Chief Dan Turtle Rock

And, here’s my third carving finished in 2012…Chief Dan Turtle Rock.

The Chief is wearing his favourite deer skin and is proudly holding his favourite pipe.

I’ve enjoyed carving all of my caricatures this year, but I think that Chief Dan might be my favourite.  I like the proud look on his face and all of the bead work was a lot of fun to carve and paint.

I’m still just setting up this web-page and I’ll soon get some other photos of these carvings loaded up for you to see.

Chief Dan Turtle Rock


This is Zeke…my second carving, and, as he turned out, a bank robber.

As he came together earlier this year there was some hope that he may become a sheriff protecting the loot, but his looks just didn’t lend themself to the good-guy kind.

So, off he goes with the Wells Fargo sacks of cash.

Chico and Poncho

Well, here’s my first post of my first caricature carvings.  They’ve all been carved this year and I’ve had the chance to show them at the Pickering and Ottawa carving shows where they were able to pick up a few ribbons.

I’ve actually been whittling for many years, but I only began caricature carving and attending my first carving competitions this year .  Both a lot of fun…wish I had started sooner.

I got interested in the caricatures when I saw a number of outstanding carving photos on the web and when my daughter bought me a new carving knife this time last year.

This is the first carving following the new knife and inspiration…Chico and Poncho.

You’ll notice right off that Chico is the brains and Poncho’s the muscle.  Together they’re a scary duo…just be sure to stay clear of that bone.

Poncho and Chico

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