Thursday, January 27, 2011

Carving "Thunderbolt" -Saddle completed and starting the head

Finished the simple details on the saddle and have the horn stuck in place temporarily. It may need to be cut down a bit more. I would normally do the stirrups, but you can’t see many saddle details when the rider is mounted.

I used a stoning technique on the cowboy’s chaps to try and give the effect of angora or goat-skin chaps….may need to do it a bit heavier. “Stoning” is a process of using a dremel or other rotary tool with an abrasive wheel or cylinder and using just the edge to create a more realistic fur or hair look by making little squiggles and overlapping groups of hair. I use a process that I was shown, where you deliberately bend the shaft of the burr, so that it wobbles randomly at a slow speed, and creates more randomness in the hair. Takes a little practice, but looks good.

I have cut out my blank for the head a little over-sized and with the neck a little long, so they can be adjusted as necessary. I think I will do more of a flowing mane. You can see some of the starting cuts used to rough out the basic planes and shapes. I use a utility knife for a lot of this.

I like the sharp and slightly flexible blades of this knife and it is really surprising what you can do with it, after a little practice. You have some advantages when using multiple pieces of wood for a carving, in addition to strength. It makes it very easy to modify your design for the best look. I can leave the head straight as shown above, or I can turn it slightly to make the carving more interesting. With the head turned it looks like the rider may be trying to turn him, or the horse is trying to reach back and bite the little fellow! You might give me more points for technical difficulty, if I carved it from a single block of wood, but I feel that you actually have more creative freedom when you are not limited by the physical constraints of the grain and sometimes even the size of the wood. I am more concerned about the appearance and the strength and longevity of the piece, than the methods.

Thanks for looking

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