Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wiz Part 6 - More Roughing and Vice Failure

The part of carving I really enjoy is getting to the level where the final form lives. I really hate roughing out and I tend to look for any way to speed that part up. I also enjoy carving by hand, that is, not owning a Foredom tool, though sometimes I wish I had one. I realized I had some rasp bits I bought years ago and a trim router and a speed control, so, for a small amount of the project, maybe I could use that to speed things up? To my surprise, it worked pretty well. Still have to pay attention to grain, so I couldn't go everywhere with the bit, but it took off a lot of material in some tight spots.

Now it's time to take this guy off the carving vise. I'm having some trouble with the vise anyway. There seems to be a problem getting the clamp tight enough to keep the main armature from moving. This forces me to have one hand on the carving to support it, which defeats the purpose of the vise and feels very unsafe. I kept trying to tighten the nut on the eye bolt to the point of it bending. I think some welding will be in order if this vise is ever going to work for me. That will limit up/down movement of the armature, but that's an adjustment I'm willing to give up.

After taking the carving off the vise, I'm using a bench knife and some palm gouges to continue working on the carving. As I mentioned before, this carving has a number of delicate areas, so I will proceed cautiously.  Final shaping of the sleeves, for example will be put off for a while, but now is the time to drill out for the wrist sections of the hands. Then I can hollow out the inner sleeves before carving down to final size on the outside of them. I used a 3/8" brad point bit for this and drill in about 1/2" deep. This should be plenty to glue in the arms. The brad point bit gives me a center to align a smaller bit, which I will use to drill into the arm as deep as possible and insert a hidden dowel. This will hopefully strengthen the cross grain of the arms so I don't have another catastrophe. The bottom of the robe is also extremely fragile. Very short grain there. I think this piece will need a base to support that. I'll think about that later...

I have started to add some pencil lines to where I want the hair, beard and hat to be. I think this is the next logical place to proceed. The shape of the robe will also be established at this stage. I have drawn a outline on the bottom - the easiest way I have found to do the robe shape. I found drawing the curves in the fold based on sizes of gouges I have is the best way to go.

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