carving "Thunderbolt" #10: Almost ready for paint

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Blog entry by mpounders posted 02-18-2011 06:53 PM 1330 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Mechanics completed ! Part 10 of carving "Thunderbolt" series Part 11: ---Thunderbolt completed! »

I’m starting to get close to completion. I got the base finished and made a few adjustments to the mechanism. I got the hat on the cowboy, which is an interesting little process. You basically take your beautifully carved little head and slice the top off with a bandsaw! A disc sander then helps you get it nice and flat to fit in a recess carved in the bottom of the brim, which is separate from the crown of the hat. You might be able to make out the buttons and end of the belt that have been added. The buttons are small wire brads inserted into the burned button-holes on the shirt and the end of the belt is a piece of copper that was bent and sanded to shape to give the impression of the end of the belt flopping out (they will all be painted).

Here are some views of how it will look over all, finally giving you some idea of the size and such. I decided to try and keep the colors of the top similar to the base and ended up using the piece I cut out of the bottom. I wanted it to be shaped similar to a base used with the mechanical horses and I wanted to expose the gears and cams as part of the visual effect. This seems to be sort of a Japanese Moon bridge type effect…with kind of a mirrored image thing. I am able at this point to do some motion testing and I ended up adding a piece of leather to dampen some of the sound and vibration when the dowel the horse rides on returns to the rear down position. Since nothing is glued on the figure at this point, I have to be very careful when operating it, so that little cowboy body parts are not flung across the shop!

I have sealed the horse, applied a coat of gesso, and sanded it a bit before starting the woodburning of details. I use a pyrograpic pen for several purposes… adds shadows and details and it also prevents paint in one area from bleeding to others. I use a very light touch for some areas, like the face and clothing, and different types of hair. But I also use it like a hot carving knife, to define certain shadows and depths on the mane and tail. I will put another coat of gesso on the horse and over the elements burned on the mane and tail, but will probably over-burn those details again to add realism.

Thanks for looking!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

9 comments so far

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4280 days

#1 posted 02-18-2011 07:52 PM

Very nice as always! Thanks for taking along for the “ride” !!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11068 posts in 3631 days

#2 posted 02-18-2011 08:00 PM

Amazing! A video would be great. I’d love to see him ride. Per you description, imagining the pieces flying off during the test, gave me a chuckle.
Your carvings are really nice.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Broglea's profile


685 posts in 3294 days

#3 posted 02-18-2011 08:57 PM

You are a very talented man. I enjoy following your blogs!

View mpounders's profile


902 posts in 3098 days

#4 posted 02-18-2011 09:23 PM

There will definitely be a video when it’s completed, so stay tuned! These things seem fascinate people, especially in person. It’s very easy to spend quite a bit of time turning the crank and watching the movements of the gears and various pieces. I think it delays construction a bit, because it can be so mesmerizing. Or maybe I ‘m just so proud that the bits and pieces actually turn and move and do what they are supposed to! It might be kinda like pinching yourself, to make sure something actually turned out like you envisioned.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3730 days

#5 posted 02-19-2011 03:43 AM

Total character! With the paint it’s going to be great. Seems kind of like you made an instant antique, with perfect paint and in working order. Cool….................

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3506 days

#6 posted 02-19-2011 04:58 AM

mike this is just wonderful…i look at this and the little kid in me wants to crank that handle and see the horse buck and the cowboy hold on for dear life and yell ya whoooo…...ride em cowboy…makes me feel young…you did a great job and i thanks you for sharing your talent with us,,,thank you….grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3221 days

#7 posted 02-19-2011 07:27 AM

Ahh, Mike you carved a very handsome fella and wonderful looking horse. I am impressed with your skill and patience in making something like this! Yes definitely a video and not a short one!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View polecat's profile


78 posts in 2872 days

#8 posted 02-19-2011 12:53 PM

MIKE you the man. Yes video
My hero. Thanks man cool

-- polecat, south alabama

View Rustic's profile


3254 posts in 3799 days

#9 posted 02-20-2011 04:02 AM

wow mike keep t up

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

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