Friday, October 2, 2009


Happy Halloween month!

I dug an envelope out of the trash and cut out half a bat shape at the folded edge, so when I opened the paper fold I had the whole bat. I used some wire to make chain loops to hang it. I found a necklace chain in a parking lot a few years ago so I used it too. The only thing I actually bought was a package of fake red jewels of various sizes.

The bat shape was traced onto a thin piece of Butternut. Butternut is very soft; nearing the realm of Balsa wood, but not quite. That made it really quick to carve.
The way to carve a bat is simple: cut off everything that's not a bat, and then the bat will be all that's left. That bat was always in this wood; I just removed the parts he was encased in.
One thing about carving soft wood: You have to have razor-sharp chisels and knives or the blade will tear through the wood rather than cut it, leaving a crummy rough surface.

I painted it all black first, and then dry-brushed it with silver paint, and glued on the fake jewels and it was mostly done. I put an eye screw into his head, and made 2 links with wire, and VOILA!

Carving wood is not much different than carving clay. The only thing you need to watch is grain direction. As long as you go with the grain you will never have splits or tear-outs. There's really only one direction that will give you fits.

I think of grain direction as pages in an open book. If I were to rake my fingernail along the edge of the pages in a downward direction, the pages would remain as they are. If I did the same thing in an upward direction all the pages would separate and split apart.

If you are unsure of the grain direction, carve a little bit and see if it begins to split. If not, keep going! If it does start to split, stop and go the other way.


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