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, http://mikepounders.weebly.com