Friday, January 14, 2022

"Four Dogs" - 2019 - A Commission from a Couple - About Walking their Four Dogs

A commission from a couple who visited my Atlanta studio with the idea of purchasing one of my pieces. After looking around, they decided to do a special piece about their 4 dogs. They had previously commissioned artists to create artworks (paintings) based on their beloved dogs, so why not do it again? Only and this time in a 3D, kinetic format - and include themselves? I thought it was a great idea, though I was a little apprehensive about making the dogs. I'm not a dog person, and don't really know their intricacies, especially when it comes to carving them. But I did learn - and I was pretty happy about the outcome. 

After my clients filled me in with the details about their dogs personalities, and unique behaviors, I knew this might be a fun challenge to create. 

Here are the final images. The piece measures 18" x 14" x 19" and is operated by a crank on the side. 

The 3 bigger dogs are more rambunctious than the the bulldog, so they all are pulling on their leashes., randomly. And the leashes move the arms of the owners.

The wife and husband turn their heads toward each other - they are amused by the dog's antics. 

A bird's eye view. There's a button on front that allows the owners to pop off the front piece, and show off the mechanism. The whole front section comes off.

As you can see the leashes are crossed - (I thought this was a funny detail) - and each of the 3 dogs are headed in a different direction. Typical behavior for these 3.




Tank, with a Frisbee. (He doesn't move.)

The making of......

These are the figures, in-progress. The heads will turn, and the arms need to be loosely connected so they can move freely.

The hands, carved from basswood.

The layout of the figures, and leashes/dogs.

The insides of the torsos. The mechanisms are opposite because they turn toward each other.

The connection of the mechanism to the dog's leg - all hidden inside the leg. One rod will move one leg of each of the dogs.

The connection. A rectangular tube imbedded in the base holds the rod in place, and allows it to pivot forward and back. 

The connection taken apart. This connection is hidden inside the dog's paw. 

The dog ready to be carved. His other legs need to move as well, so the dog will appears as though it is pulling on the leash, back and forth. It's more complicated than it looks. 

The pieces of the dog. The body has been carved away to create clearance for the moving legs. 

Details. Only one leg is the "driving " leg. 

The mechanical pieces of the dogs. The non-driving legs will be connected to the base with those 1/8" steel pins on the bottom. 

Parts. I had to make the back legs jointed, (another connection), to allow the bodies to move properly.

After all the mechanical aspects were figured out, I could get to the carving. And I had to keep all the parts straight - hence the writing on the pieces. 

All carved - I just need to add some ears. You can see here how the 3 legs are attached to the base. 

All the dog parts carved and ready for paint. 

All the figures. Testing the leash idea.

All the basswood parts - painted, aged, and ready to be assembled. 

The dogs, assembled and ready to be attached to the base. The two front paws are connected together, so they move together.

The top - upside down. These are the supports for the axels, cams, gears, and levers. I put the mechanism on an angle like this because of the placement of the dogs. 

The mechanism all assembled. Looking at this now, it's hard for even me to figure out what's going on - but when I was building it, it all made sense. 

Basically, 3 cams act on 3 levers to move the dogs, and two other cams and levers move the heads of the husband and wife. Also, the pulleys and belts on the right gear down (slow down) the motion of the crank. Simple, right? (And built to last a lifetime.)

The final 5 cams. 

The movie..... (watch full screen).

Thanks again for looking!


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