Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blue Dolphin (Carving)

I've never tried to carve anything before. This little guy took a total of like 60 hours because of start-overs. Of course, the actual time on this particular piece of wood was like 2 hours. heehee

The wood is blue mahoe that I picked up at Woodcraft a couple weeks ago. This stuff is rather diffucult to work small projects with because at small size it's very brittle.

This piece is approximately 3" tall by 2" at its widest point.

I made it from a triangle shaped 4x1x1 piece of wood. General outline was cut with a coping saw I had hanging out in my drawer. Then I did shaping with a barrel sander bit on my Dremel followed by a sanding disk on that same Dremel.

Shaping marks were removed by hand with scraps of 240 grit paper. This is a point where I broke a bunch of thinner dolphins I had started with. Just holding them and sanding was too much for the brittle wood so they snapped.

That's why I went with a triangular cross section. To add some meat to the carving in hopes that it will resist my less than gentle touch. Even then it took 2 tries...

The outline was drawn on one side of the triangle. I cut with the piece flat on the "back" of the dolphin and cut all the way through, duplicating the shape on both sides.

This dolphin will be a pen holder so after smoothing the back I used the barrel sanding bit again to cut a notch in the wood at the dorsal fin for the pen to rest in.

The block of pine it's setting in during cutting and shaping was developed out of desperation. Clamping to the bench would put too much stress on the wood when I got to the tail. I found that a wedge cut out of the pine, with a "finger" along one side to give some relief to the workpiece provided support as well as enough give to keep my fat fingers from breaking the dolphin. It works great!

The block of blue mahoe wood it's in right now was just to hold it during the photos and keep it safe on my desk while I complete the rest of the holder set. I'll apply a finish to it when it's all together.

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