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carving "Thunderbolt"

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Blog series by mpounders updated 02-26-2011 07:52 AM 11 parts 10337 reads 80 comments total

Part 1: The idea & the rider

01-18-2011 05:29 AM by mpounders | 9 comments »

I have had an interest in automata (A self-operating machine or mechanism) since making a limberjack machine a few years ago. I have wanted to create a machine that incorporated caricatures that I carved and that would be fun to look at, an animated toy of sorts. A well-known carver I admire, Lynn Doughty, suggests that you should strive to make your work stand out, to attract attention, and draw people in. So, I felt a carving that moved would be something different, something that makes yo...

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Part 2: Starting the Horse

01-18-2011 08:03 PM by mpounders | 4 comments »

I found some images for mechanical horses and blowing one up to full 8×10 size appears to be proportioned correctly for my carving. I am using Lynn Doughty’s carving technique for horses. Basically the horse is made of several separate pieces of wood so that the grain can be properly oriented to strengthen delicate areas. And it also makes certain areas easier to carve! The grain in this piece is running from front to back because the legs are extended rather than being in a s...

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Part 3: Feets Finished!

01-21-2011 07:04 AM by mpounders | 11 comments »

I have spent several days working on the feet and legs and finally have the body ready for glue-up. As mentioned in the previous installment, the body is made of two separate pieces to make it easier to carve certain portions and to orient the grain for strength. It is definitely easier to carve and shape the interior portions of the legs and the legs are one of the more difficult elements to carve. They are somewhat delicate because of the thin-ness and you have to support them carefully...

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Part 4: finishing muscle groups and starting the saddle

01-24-2011 07:38 AM by mpounders | 6 comments »

He’s starting to look like a horse now, with the muscle groups indicated. I spent quite a bit of time getting the spacing better between the legs and defining the groups of muscles around the legs. A technique I like is to carve the lines and then to sand them so that you get a flowing muscle look instead of something defined by a line cut into the surface. I like to use my veiners for this and then carve or sand the edges back up to the center. Here are a few pictures. When ...

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Part 5: saddle completed and starting to get a head

01-26-2011 05:25 PM by mpounders | 10 comments »

Finished the simple details on the saddle and have the horn stuck in place temporarily. It may need to be cut down a bit more. I would normally do the stirrups, but you can’t see many saddle details when the rider is mounted. I used a stoning technique on the cowboy’s chaps to try and give the effect of angora or goat-skin chaps….may need to do it a bit heavier. “Stoning” is a process of using a dremel or other rotary tool with an abrasive wheel or cyl...

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Part 6: Shrinking Heads?

01-27-2011 07:39 PM by mpounders | 3 comments »

I quickly discovered I had way too much wood for this head, much too wide! So I spent a lot of time whittling it down to a better fit! I may have to shrink it a bit more, but I am still mainly trying to get the rough shapes. Better too much than not enough I suppose. I did add some difficulty to the carving by choosing to do the mane like I have. With a mane that just lays down on the neck, you can just round over and shape the neck, then carve your hair out of that. Since this sti...

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Part 7: Heads Up!

01-31-2011 06:53 PM by mpounders | 6 comments »

I got the head finished and glued on this weekend! It turned out ok…ears may be a bit long?You may notice that the ears are slightly darker…...they were soaked with the thin CA glue after carving, to strengthen this delicate area. Pretty sturdy now. Carving is “subtractive-sculpture” in that you take away wood to create. And a lot of what you “see” is what is also the negative spaces created. The shadows that are created give depth and create ill...

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Part 8: a Tail at last!

02-05-2011 07:45 AM by mpounders | 4 comments »

We got a little snow in Arkansas today, so I finally had an opportunity to get a bit more done. He does look better with a tail, just like a few of you suggested! I was able to use an 1/8” dowel for joining it to the body and I feel better about it being more solid. Rather than just butting it together with the dowel as a tenon of sorts, I outlined the base of the tail on the rump and then carved a hole for it to fit into. A little carving and sanding after the glue dried made this ...

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Part 9: Mechanics completed !

02-11-2011 07:10 AM by mpounders | 6 comments »

Thanks to unusual snow-fall amounts in Arkansas, I’ve had a few days off and have been able to get the mechanics and a good portion of the base completed. I am a better wood-carver than I am a wood-worker, but I keep trying, thanks to all the inspiring projects people post on Lumberjocks! The construction and design are pretty simple, which is about all I can handle. I wanted a base that would be steady, when the toy is cranked, and I wanted it to be a little tall, to attract attent...

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Part 10: Almost ready for paint

02-18-2011 06:53 PM by mpounders | 9 comments »

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 ...

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Part 11: ---Thunderbolt completed!

02-26-2011 07:52 AM by mpounders | 12 comments »

I finally finished the paint and assembly and here is the completed piece! I’m really pleased with the over all look of the piece and how it turned out, although I might make some changes in future mechanisms. The action is pretty realistic and I learned the true meaning of being “glued to the saddle”.....this cowboy would always get bucked off until the application of some glue to the seat of his pants. Here are a few pictures and a link to the video. I really appreciat...

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