This is the sculpture I was working on in the video (in the post below). Using the Arbotech Mini-carver, I roughed out the shape in old oak that had been eaten by boring worms creating holes, tunnels and trenches. I think the worm-wood adds an interesting texture to the sculpture but because the wood was so bad this was really a practice ‘sketch in wood’. Meaning I just made it up as I went. As a result, I decided to keep the texture created by the mini-grinder on the top of the whale to contrast with the smooth belly.
The photos below track the progress beginning with how the sculpture looked after being roughed out by the mini-carver. After that I used the Dremel, files and sand-paper to refine the shape. I used a dark stainer and semi-gloss polyurethane to give it the shiny finish. I still plan to make a stand and add bone eyes for this piece so I will post those pictures later on.
Made by Australian company Arbotech, this mini wood carver cuts through oak like butter. It is essentially a grinder with an extending arm and rotating plane on the end. Using the bottom edge of the blade, you cut from right to left in broad strokes, removing the surface of the wood as you go. The circular shape makes it easy to create curved shapes and with a soft touch you can get a lot of detail out of this. This was my first attempt at using the grinder and it took some getting used to but by the end it felt very natural and I really enjoyed it. The chips fly all over the place and mostly right back at you so get some good thick gloves, a face-shield and wear overalls or an apron.
I’ve always used power tools for carving so as I move into wood sculpture this mini-carver is the perfect tool for the roughing out stage. Accompanied by the Dremel for detail, this mini-carver is really all you need to get the general shape out of the wood. I highly recommend it to any power based wood carver.
Below is a video of unedited footage I took while practicing with the mini-carver.
Video: Arbotech Mini-carver practice
This sculpture was commissioned by my father-in-law before he unexpectedly passed away. I hadn’t made any sculptures before but he looked through a sketchbook I had and picked out the original design for this one telling me I could easily make it. Mark was a great guy and we all miss him. He believed in my work and contributed in many ways including building a special bone carving chamber to reduce noise and exposure to bone dust. The sculpture now sits on top of the fireplace in the Hruby family home.
This is a repost of a sculpture I made a couple years ago. The photos of the sculpture in progress are on my old blog here: http://artbytimjepson.blogspot.com/2011/08/studio-tapu-sculpture-hruby-flame.html
Pictures from our latest trip to MCASD La Jolla. The Exhibition Lost in the Memory Palace with works by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. This was a weird exhibition with old movies and lots of weird audio and various odd items left laying around on old tables and desks. Not really my thing but I liked the table of speakers.
I think the exhibition is over now but here is the link for anyone interested: http://www.mcasd.org/exhibitions/lost-memory-palace-janet-cardiff-and-george-bures-miller
Above: Roughing out and Refining the shape of the Small Collar Twist Bone Carving.
Above: The Large Collar Twist Bone Carving cut directly from the bone.
Above: Photos showing the simple steps of removing bone material from the design.
All the finished carvings ready to have chains attached. These ones went to MCASD.
A while ago, my brother in law said how cool it would be to have your own custom Setler’s of Catan pieces and so for his birthday I had the brilliant idea of making a set with a Roman theme because he lived abroad in Rome for a while. This was the biggest littlest project I have ever worked on. It took way longer than I had anticipated but I learned a lot about hand carving with my new hand tools for carving bone and also a bit about wood carving which can be different in many ways. Below are some pics of the process.
Various Tools/Bits used for bone carving. These are at least the pieces I have found most useful over time. Most of the cutters do the same thing but can be used in different situations when you need the right angle or size to fit. I used to use metal cutters rough out my my work but eventually found that the sanding drum does the same thing in half the time and doesn’t leave little chips out of the bone. The dentist drill bit is great for drilling small holes and also has a cutting edge so it can be used for fine detail carving. It is one of my favourite tool-bits for carving and dentist will usually give them to you for free (used). Course and fine needle files will come in handy and help with the odd angles when in the sanding phase. The Colbalt steel hand tool is essential for detail and complicated pieces. I invested in a Dremel Drill press for drilling the holes as it helps keep things aligned and allows you to drill slowly though thin pieces without putting too much pressure on the bone.
Rope and Tire Swing bone carvings for MCASD. Still trying to figure out how to make the swing work as a necklace. It doesn’t have much weight so I might work some kind of straight wire into the ‘ropes’. The tire makes more sense to me as a necklace and seems to set a different tone. More of a by the lake kind of vibe. the idea behind the rope and tire swing is just building off the ladder concept. Things we kind of take for granted but are very familiar. Swings don’t necessarily elevate you but they support you while you glide through the air. I think seeing this kind of imagery conjures up memories of being young.
The idea behind the ladder bone carving is its just something that elevates you. They are a lot harder to make than they look though and these two are constructed as opposed to being carved from one piece. I used a 60 grit sanding drum to get the wood texture effect on the sides. Its subtle but its there.