More progress on Lizard Cane

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Blog entry by mpounders posted 04-25-2013 04:33 PM 1433 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I completed as much carving on the handle as I could and then epoxied it to the shaft. The shaft is also basswood and i used a 5/16th threaded rod about 6 inches long epoxied in place. I decided how I wanted the tail wrapped around, outlined it with a v gouge and then rounded it over and relieved the background. I carved down the back of the lizard where the tail joins the shaft to get a smooth transition. The customer doesn’t want this guy painted, but the scale patterns I will burn in will pretty much hide the glue-line on the tail.

I start the process of burning in the scales by first burning all the lines around the eyes and feet with a small rounded skew tip. I say burned, but the temperature is dialed back to make a nice brown line, not really charring the wood. Then I use a writing tip that has been ground to a needle point to make all the scales. No magic scale tip, just a lot of little circles. I have wondered how many might be on one of these lizards and even started once to calculate how many per square inch…then I gave up! I estimate it to be thousands, but it seems like millions by the time I’m through.

I start around the eyes and then try to get them all finished on the head. Makes it seem like I’ve accomplished something by getting a small area completed and it gets me pumped up when I start seeing how it will look. Helps me to keep going through all of the vast areas on the back!

Using this process allows me to vary the size and shape of the scales as needed, giving it a more natural look. This is how far I got in about 2 hours. Hopefully I’ll get it finished over the weekend! Thanks for looking!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

12 comments so far

View Spoontaneous's profile


1324 posts in 2418 days

#1 posted 04-25-2013 04:35 PM

Totally awesome looking so far. I wish I could learn to burn like that. Really great carving coming right along.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4586 posts in 2124 days

#2 posted 04-25-2013 04:54 PM

It’s alive, Mike. Impressive technique.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View MShort's profile


1757 posts in 2506 days

#3 posted 04-25-2013 04:55 PM


It’s coming along very nicely. You really are getting realism down. Take care.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View Jimthecarver's profile


1123 posts in 2873 days

#4 posted 04-25-2013 04:59 PM

You make it look so easy….wonderful progress.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View grizzman's profile


7631 posts in 2391 days

#5 posted 04-25-2013 05:01 PM

really very cool mike, its looking more and more alive, i hope it doesnt just walk off…lol..i know what you mean as far as wanting to see how it will look when finished…when i do a project i wet it with mineral spirits to see the real beauty of the wood, and that does the same thing for me, it also lets me see any areas where there might be any scratches that ive missed, i look forward to seeing this when your done…grizz

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

View BTimmons's profile


2284 posts in 1573 days

#6 posted 04-25-2013 05:22 PM

Very lifelike. I used to be big into drawing with pen and ink, and I remember getting sucked into tunnel vision where my nose was inches away from my page. I imagine this must be similar.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Roger's profile


17850 posts in 1892 days

#7 posted 04-26-2013 12:48 PM

You are a master carver, Mike. Such gr detail. Awesome

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View stefang's profile


14935 posts in 2422 days

#8 posted 04-26-2013 01:19 PM

looks fantastic Mike. All the work seems to me well worth the effort considering the result.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View mpounders's profile


784 posts in 1983 days

#9 posted 04-26-2013 01:45 PM

Thanks all! It is worth the effort. The scales are simple to do, but rotating the cane to different positions gets a little tiresome. I didn’t used to care for jazz music, but I have found a station or two that i occasionally listen to, and it seems to really enhance the process of doing the scales! I will say that lizards are much less complex than snakes….the snakes are longer (= more scales) and a lot of snake scales are “keeled”, meaning they have a ridge in the middle of each scale. So each individual snake scale requires a series of cuts. Lizards are just little round circles.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View Rustic's profile


3210 posts in 2684 days

#10 posted 04-26-2013 02:39 PM

Awesome progress Mike

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View helluvawreck's profile


19499 posts in 1955 days

#11 posted 04-26-2013 03:57 PM

It’s looking really great, Mike. You’re work is absolutely wonderful.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Moron's profile


4929 posts in 2981 days

#12 posted 04-29-2013 02:47 AM

nicely done

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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