Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Carving Part III

Much to my surprise, and a small level of disbelief,  I have lately been in the mood to apply Dremel Tool to wood and do some carving.  I figured after the sultry carving marathon I underwent in July to complete Merican-Tastic! it would be a while before I buzzed away on a plank of wood.  Don't believe the sultry part? (click on this scientifical corroboration!  http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dvn/scripts/obsRecordsNorms.php?site=MLI&monthName=July&reportType=Data&year=2012)

Anyway, this piece, which I will for the time being refer to as 'Fusitron' (since I am kicking around a few titles but don't have a clear 'winner' yet) has been leaning in a pile of several unfinished pieces languishing in production purgatory.  Here is an image from earlier in the year as it sat nestled in a 'to do' pile.

The beginnings of Fusitron date back to 2005 with 'pushes' of progress in 2009 and 2011.  2012 might be its lucky year?  Gotta get it done before the Mayans to run out of calendar....

A quick note on carving blades (especially on harder woods).  The teeth on the blades get gummed-up frequently.  You can tell this because the blade/wood starts to smoke a bit while you are carving.  A little of this isn't the end of the world, but you are on the downhill slide with the useful life of your cutting blade.  The black, professionally drawn arrow points to some schmutz caught in the teeth.

At this point, it doesn't take long before more and more teeth get gummed-up.  The pink arrow points to one of the 'open' cutting notches, the black arrows point to plugged up teeth.  Instead of cutting the wood, the blade is now abrading/burning the wood.  The causes the cutting bit to get hotter and very soon, dull -which only exacerbates the problem.

The solution to the problem is simple.  Shut off the Dremel Tool and take a nail or a pocketknife and clean out the gunk in between the teeth on the blade.  For the more macho readers out there, these tools would be classified as 'toothpicks'.

Then I spray paint the whole piece with a flat black paint, and then I start to 'prime' the surface with a white paint.  I find that I like how these things look as just black and white images, and it usually gives me pause before I start applying any color to the piece.

 Totally covered.

The first coat of color which happens to be a kind of sap green.

People who haven't painted with oil paints before have trouble comprehending how long it can take oil paint to dry.  The sap green I am using is from a 'palette' of paint from 2010.  The blob of paint had hardened (formed a skin about 2mm thick) on the outside, but once I sliced it open with my palette knife, there was still gooey viable paint on the inside.  Here is one of my professional painting palettes below.

Boom!  First color on.....

...and now for a little shot of a earthenware/rusty red.

The next step is to put in a some yellow so the red and the green have a little something else to interact with.

Completion of the yellow coat:

For the life of me, I will never fully understand why it is, that no matter how thoroughly I scan the carving (pre-painted), no matter how diligent I think I am in carving every line I draw, I have yet to carve a piece where I haven't missed at least some portion of a line.  Unreal.

What I do know is that sometimes studio life can be demanding -you know missing cutting an important line and all. I have found the best way to smite these 'demands' is to unleash the fury of a Boozie Burger and fries upon them.  You might be thinking 'Wow?!?! That's one sexy burger...' or, you might be thinking 'Is that a copy of Hitch 22 in the top left corner?!?!?'.  Either way, you'd be correct.

On the outside chance we were keeping score,  Me: 1  You: 0

Until next time, please remember, always try to put the 'Hootie Hootie in the Goobie Goobie'.

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