Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Bit of Repair Work for a Friend...........

My friend Patsy owns my piece titled "The Red Chair". I made it way back in 2001 and as you can see it's in my older style - all wood and much more colorful. She said the man's hat was missing after a recent move to North Carolina. She sent the piece to me and I carved, painted and attached a new hat. I also had a chance to shoot a few movies of it in action.

The hat I carved, on the end of my favorite X-acto knife. (For the past 15 years or so, I've been doing the majority of my carving with this knife. It's easy to spot on my cluttered work table because it's green!)

I wanted to make a simple crank, which ended up not so simple. I had to add the yellow slider piece to keep the red connecting rod at the same angle all the time or the mechanism would lock up.

Closer view showing the chunky gears and how they mesh.

For scale -the man is exactly 3" tall.

Back to working on the piano piece tomorrow - I'm building out/embellishing the piano.....

Monday, September 6, 2010

Piano piece update......

One last thing on the arms - since I need the arms to be heavier, I drilled these holes and poured in molten lead. I've done this a few times before and it works well. I covered the lead with a mixture of wood glue and sawdust. When dry, I file and sand it down. After painting, this "adjustment" will be undetectable.

After carving all the body parts I sculpted the head from polymer clay. Since his head will nod slightly, I have to work that out before I can finish the figure.

I drilled a hole in the neck which will be the pivot point. His neck this time is solid wood- I do this because the polymer clay, even though I have a supporting stick inside, isn't that strong. His head is at a slight turn towards the audience.

His head and the finished pin in the neck.

The line to move his head goes around a rod - usually I use screw eyes, but a rod seem better here. As the line is pulled his head goes up. The line runs inside a small brass tube that runs up through his body. I had to drill out section in his chest so the lever that connects to his neck has room to move.

Th figure is finished, and this shows the final position of the upper arms. Since he's not sitting straight on to the piano I adjusted where his upper arms were positioned. Only his lower arms will move.

Final position of the piano and figure. At this point everything has to be "nailed down" because now it's on to making the mechanisms and from this point forward nothing can move, or change. To get their positions correct, I placed them on a piece of paper and traced around the legs of the piano and the figure's feet. Then I determined how big the base would be and it's orientation.

Now it's on to making the mechanisms and the base..............

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Piano piece is started.....

I started a new unnamed piece the other day - a man playing a piano. His arms will move and I'm pretty sure his head will but have not worked out how or which way.

In order to start making the figure, I first had to establish the overall dimensions by drawing it out full-size. This told me the height of the keys, so I had to start there. There have been a couple of starts and stops on this one. First I was going to use a couple of old boxes from which to build the piano, but then decided I needed something more refined and found this jewelry cabinet that seemed better. Also I wanted to hand-carve the keyboard, so I laid everything out and carved it. When it was done and painted, I realized it was too formal and opted for a more funky stylized keyboard that was actually a little easier to make.

Here are some in-progress images -----

Beginning the carved keyboard, (I still have it and it may work itself into another piece).

Carved keyboard finished. You can see I made it wavy, but it was not funky enough for this piece.

A more better keyboard - I glued a bunch of tiny pieces of wood together.

The keyboard installed in the piano - I was working out the position of the arms and how the figure addresses the piano.

My drawing of the hands.

The hands ready to be cut on the band saw.

After cutting they look strange.

Carving finished - it took all afternoon but I think they came out great, and I didn't break off any fingers or drop them. I had to add some bits with glue, (the black blobs).

I saturated them with thin CA glue which makes them much stronger - now I can quit worrying about breaking them.

The hands attached to the arms, notice the 2 different colors of basswood.

The figure's body. I will have to make or find something I can use for a chair.

More later!!! Now I got to get back to work.