Year 11, Week 33, Day One (week 607) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 08-27-11 Saturday
90 degrees and blue skies in the morning with a nice breeze. 95 degrees in the afternoon with little puffs shooting by. Hurricane Irene passed this week, giving us some weather we are well used to, squall lines and the winds involved. Other than the fact that these lines of thunderstorms were passing over us at three times the normal pace, it was weather we are well used to. This weather report is brought to you by the city of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
We went yard sailing after breakfast. At one yard sale, I got a battery powered drill, DRILL MASTER, that Harbor freight sells. It fits all my batteries. I have to make sure the charger works. the LED was broken off and was inside. I now have 5 batteries and three drills. I should take one set home.
We stopped at a church sale. bit mistake. They had a bin and two bags of yarn. the yarn bug hit and I got all of it for $14. I had a year's worth of yarn. Now I may have a life time worth of yarn. This is known as going crazy with yarn. I told Mom that if I ever reach for yarn again, to tackle me and call the men in white coats.
It took me some time to sort out the yarn, take pictures, and put it all back in place. I now have to come up with projects that are worthy of using up this yarn.
The bags of yarn I got
All the yarn laid out
Other things that was with the yarn. I think this was Knitting
Battery powered drill I got. This is a drill one can get at Harbor Freight.
I finally took grinder to the dragon wood. It already is not the dragon I thought I saw. as one removes wood, the real for starts to show. I mainly did work on the muzzle, and marked out where the legs are on one side. This project will take me till Christmas most likely. It is a big project compared to most of my carving projects.
the original piece of Dragon wood before any work is done on it.
The start of the carving on the dragon. A little bit of the head and a few marks for the arms and legs.
I decided to make some quick crochet hooks. I made the handles and was going to make the hooks themselves from dowels I made. I then remembered I had a really small metal crochet hook.
I decided to make a handle for it. My closest sized drill bit was just slightly too small. I then found that all my drill bits were too short.
I ended up taking a wire and using a grinder to make a form of a cutting end, and drilled through the whole handle. It mostly burned its way through but that is beside the point.
Since the hole was bigger than the hook, I filled the hole with filler, and then stuck the hook in. Hopefully, the hook will be nicely locked into place.
# B crochet hook with wooden handle added.
During the week, I tested the Crochet hooks I made last weekend. One of them had too long an overhang on the hook. Nail clippers shortened and shaped it, then emery boards for finger nails cleaned up the hooks of all of my creations. I sanded them all over, varnished them a few times and sanded them again. I think they are now ready for use.
I took it fairly easy the remainder of the day, making a phone call to a friend in the path of Hurricane Irene.
Tomorrow, I should work a bit more on the dragon, might finish the hooks I started, and might do a little wood turning. I have that piece of Norfolk Island Pine with 10 knots around it. I should make it round. I do not know if it is too big for my lathe so I may have to fit it on a face plate, turn the lathe head sideways and make it smaller. I want it bigger than I normally make my vases, which means as close to 12 inches in diameter as possible. that will give me the maximum space between the faces.
I still have a lot of unfinished projects laying around. I have to make some Christmas ornaments that I made last year and ran out of. I never did make as many as I normally do. I need to come up with a new set of Christmas ornaments for the coming Christmas and I don't want to wait until November to make them. I have loads of wood to work with. Like my yarn, I have several years worth of wood laying around if I choose the project based on what I have in stock.
I will have to see what I will do tomorrow.
Year 11, Week 33, Day Two (week 607) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 08-28-11 Saturday
94 degrees, blue skies with smears of white here and there. The puffs started showing later in the morning and built up to where they covered half the sky by noon. A little liquid sunshine came down right after I put the lathe away and it died down fifteen minutes later. It was just enough to wet the ground. Driving away, I saw it was not a tower- thunder boomer, as usually hits. it was a pillow with a grey bottom. This weather report was brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
After feeding and petting the beast of the back yard, I drug out all my equipment.
I started on the head of the dragon. I now knew his mouth was open. I had not seen that last week or even yesterday. I worked the top of the muzzle more to get it into the right angle, and then tackled the inside of the mouth. the shape of the wood forced me to modify the shape of the muzzle when seen from above. I used the band saw to cut some wood off the bottom under the chin.
I used a belt sander to flatten the bottom of the piece, to make it sit nicely. I ground more all around the head and touched the piece on the sides a little as I was learning how the limbs would be positioned for the way he is laying.
Left side of dragon head. I dipped it in water for these pictures.
Sanded bottom of the dragon.
Looking face on to the dragon
Right side of the dragon
Many people are purists. In Austria, their carving associations have to certify that the carving was made without the use of power. As for me, I am more interested in removing the wood than to be pure. I will use band saws, grinders, wood lathe, sanders, along with the knife to get the job done.
I learned long ago that removing bulk wood is not really carving. The actual carving is really in the last quarter inch of surface. That is where the actual surface and details happen. It is normal in the American carving field to use band saws to create a blank, a piece of wood that has something of a shape of the figure, with the worst of the excess wood removed. To make one, you draw the profile, side view, of the figure on one surface and cut following the outside lines of the figure.
One then draws the front view of the figure on the wood and cut along the lines. Now that the worst of the wood is gone, one can get into the actual shaping of the figure. For the face, the cuts followed the nose hair and mouth. The cheeks and eyes are set in. One has to cut deeper into the wood to get to them. The front view followed the hair ears and such. One has to cut in for the side of the head, the nose and such.
The blank allows one to concentrate on where the actual skill is, making a figure that looks like a person, or animal, if that is what you are doing.
While I will do some carvings completely with the knife, I will use other tools for carving. This dragon and my face vases, are almost exclusively power grinding, mostly with the dremmel and grinding bits.
I decided long ago that learning to use chisels and gouges to carve was too difficult to learn. One has to know when to use which gouge and when. A knife gives you two options, point and flat of the blade, and you have to figure out how to get the results you need with those tools. I will use a chisel once in a while, but nearly always a V tool.
I decided to do a little turning, and took the log with the ten branches on it and realized I had to remove the branch stubs. I was going to bring out the chain saw, then remembered I had a CRAFTSMAN SAWS-ALL. I stuck a new blade on and it sliced the nubs off with ease so the wood was near round.
I worked to balance the log between centers. I have two drive spurs, one has a long point and close set spurs. the other one is wider in diameter, has a disk that the point and spurs are made out of. I decided to use the small one.
Once I got the piece centered so it did not touch the lathe bed anywhere, I started it spinning and knocking off the high spots on the wood. I got the very worst part of the high spots off, especially at the knots when I decided I had done enough.
One problem of the drive spur I used, is that it slowly digs in deeper and deeper. the close set spurs don't have a lot of leverage to keep from spinning in the wood. The spur ended up going nearly all the way in. I had stuck the spur into my chuck, which when almost closed, will hold the spur nicely. It was near the chuck when I stopped wood turning.
Ten knot Norfolk Island Pine log slightly rounded.
The branches of the Norfolk Island Pine goes into the trunk on an angle. For my face vase, I really need to figure out which way the knots angle into the wood. When I carve the face, If I have it one way, as I work my way to the eyes, the knots will drift up to the forehead. If I do it the other way the knots will drift down into the cheek. It important to know where the knots go and adjust the design accordingly.
For the little time I applied myself today, I did pretty good. Anyone can now see the dragon as a dragon. The face vase has been started. It will be another done near Christmas project.
For next week, I will be visiting the Antique shop on Friday, bringing a few of my latest pieces with me. I may swap a couple pieces out and I might change the design around. I will have to see.
I have the dragon to work on, the ten knot face vase, a tea pot to finish, a vase that needs to be carved or otherwise decorated, lots of wood that needs to be turned into sawdust.
I will see what I actually do next week.