More progress on Lizard Cane

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Blog entry by mpounders posted 04-25-2013 04:33 PM 1864 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


1334 posts in 3329 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


4611 posts in 3036 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


1789 posts in 3418 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


1124 posts in 3785 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


7836 posts in 3303 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


2303 posts in 2484 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


20928 posts in 2803 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. Keep your dust collector fed.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3333 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


875 posts in 2895 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


3253 posts in 3595 days

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

Awesome progress Mike

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View helluvawreck's profile


31096 posts in 2866 days

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

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

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3893 days

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

nicely done

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

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