Well, as usual, my wife is always right. I told her with my doctor’s appointments and all for Monday and Tuesday, that I wasn’t even going to try going to the shop. I was just going to take it easy. She told me as she was walking out the door Monday to go pick the kids up from school that I’d be over there doing something. She was right. I just couldn’t stand it. I was painting before she got back home.
What you see above is the first coat of paint on the unicorn and the rocker assembly. Both of these will get another coat. The rocker assembly will also get multiple more coats along the bottom edge where it meets the floor.
I have had a concern about this project from the beginning about how I was going to attach the detail pieces. I usually stain instead of painting and have never had this problem. I had a worry about how the detail pieces were going to hold up glued to a painted surface. I done some scientific experiments yesterday. That’s what I’m calling it anyway. I cut a length of wood and painted it the same as these pieces. Then I took several scraps of wood and attached them in different ways. I used contact cement on one, super glue on another. I used my usual Gorilla wood glue on another. I have an electric staple gun that shoots 5/8” brads, so I also tried each of these methods with and without brads. In the end, with two hours dry time, the one I’m going to go with is Gorilla wood glue with brads. I made this decision based on the fact that this particular test piece is still attached to that strip because I couldn’t get it off. The other methods, although a few of them took quite a bit of effort, I was able to break off the test strip.
I was thrilled to get to this point. Now it was time to get over to my best friend, the scroll saw.
I started with the head. In previous photos, the head and tail have just been attached to the body with dowel pins. I wanted to be able to remove them so I can work on the details easier. I will glue them on after all the small pieces are attached. For the head, not counting the eye and nose pieces, there are twenty one seperate pieces on each side for the hair. The pattern you see in the photo is from the carousel horse that the general shape is based on. I am not using the bridle and saddle on the unicorn. I just don’t think all that would look right on a unicorn.
Let’s talk about the hair pieces on the head. For both sides, we’re talking about forty-two seperate pieces. I have learned the hard way that if you aren’t careful, this can quickly turn into a jigsaw puzzle from hell. While there are countless ways to accomplish the same result, this is the easiest way for me. I stack cut all my pieces on a scroll saw. As I cut away each piece, I number them, 1L, 1R, 2L, 2R, 3L and so forth all the way through the pieces. I have them numbered accordingly on the pattern.
After all the pieces are cut I use a spindle sander to remove the “fuzzies” from the back that are left from the scroll saw. I also slightly taper over all the edges.
Then all the pieces get painted before applying them to the head. In the past I have spray painted pieces such as these. All of this project is being hand painted though. The easiest way I have found to do this is to use tape. I rolled masking tape around itself, forming a loop. Then I attach each piece to a board to paint on and paint them. Small, hobby type brushes come in handy.
For anyone who hasn’t read about my carousel horse project, the tape idea came from my wife. When I built that, she watched me getting aggrevated with small pieces flying away on me every time I tried spray painting them. After laughing at me for a while, she walked over without saying a word, rolled the tape up, stuck a few pieces to the wood and walked away. It seems that the simplest ideas are always the ones that escape me.