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Homage


tsterling

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Sorry to have interrupted the tutorial, but we've been without power for two days here in the Pacific Northwest, with 120 MPH wind gusts. Fortunately, all we suffered was a little inconvenience and a few tree branches in the driveway.

 

Working forward along the jaw to where the teeth start.

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Guest ford hallam

I'm just waiting for tsuba shaped chocolate covered biscuits. ;)

 

Hey Tom,

 

I think the procession of teeth, first small and almost delicate and then larger and overlapping the lower jawline creates a very pleasing effect. At this stage it has an almost abstract quality. I imagine the finished skull will exhibit many such qualities. Will you be staining it to create contrast between the teeth and the rest of the skull? Similar to the way you treated the bird skull you showed us a while ago.

 

and it's good to know that I'm not the only one still working at this time of the year. :D

 

cheers, Ford

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I'm just waiting for tsuba shaped chocolate covered biscuits. ;)

 

Hey Tom,

 

I think the procession of teeth, first small and almost delicate and then larger and overlapping the lower jawline creates a very pleasing effect. At this stage it has an almost abstract quality. I imagine the finished skull will exhibit many such qualities. Will you be staining it to create contrast between the teeth and the rest of the skull? Similar to the way you treated the bird skull you showed us a while ago.

 

and it's good to know that I'm not the only one still working at this time of the year. :D

 

cheers, Ford

 

Hi Ford,

 

Can't really take credit for the teeth, that's the way they actually are in the full size beast. I'll be leaving the whole thing fairly white, although I'll be very finely undercutting the overlapping teeth to make little shadows that will help them be visualized. These skulls are just strange looking (as in abstractly cool!).

 

The skull will be part of a larger work (art basket). Trying desparately to get ready for a gallery show in early February. No rest for the wicked...

 

Teeth are defined, and the jaw hinge has been carved. Also hollowed out the skull quite a bit. Supposedly there's a brain in there, but when you look closely at a real skull, there's not very much room! Maybe that's why we don't keep these as pets and teach them to play fetch the ball.

 

Next tasks will be to undercut the large teeth and create a tiny shadow along each one, then texturing the skull surface.

 

post-11-1166801377.jpg

post-11-1166801396.jpg

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Now that the skull is carved, I submerge it in the finish of choice in my "home stabilization" setup, many thanks to Don Fogg for putting me onto this method (usually used for knife handles).

 

It's a vacuum chamber made from a large jar, and the vacuum source is an inexpensive automotive brake line bleeding setup from the car parts store. The vacuum pump came with several styles of connectors and I simply epoxied the one I liked best into the lid of the jar, using lots of epoxy to make sure it sealed well. I use several smaller jars inside the vacuum chamber to hold the finish liquids, and have a loop of wire around their rims so I can get them in and out of the vacuum chamber without making a large mess. You can see the jar I reserve for linseed oil sitting on the bench behind the vacuum pump. The one I use for nitrocellulose lacquer is in the vacuum chamber and the croc is in the lacquer. I want to keep the antler pretty white like a real skull, and linseed oil would give it a kind of translucent tan color, so I'm going with the lacquer in this case.

 

To use, I submerge the carving in whatever finish liquid I'm going to use, put the smaller jar into the vacuum chamber and evacuate the air down to about 20 inches of vacuum (a lot of pumping...). There will be bubbles coming from the carving as the air bubbles leave the wood or antler. I'll let the carving sit in the vacuum for a number of hours. I typically will let it sit overnight, so about 12 hours in the vacuum. Then I'll bleed the vacuum off and let the carving sit for a further 12 or 24 hours. This last part is the real secret. Under vacuum, the liquid isn't going into the carving any faster than if the carving was just soaking under ambient room atmospheric pressure (the pressure inside the carving is equal to the pressure outside), perhaps less since the air is coming out. Once the air is removed, and the vacuum released, the carving (as long as it's submerged) will have a positive 14+ inches of pressure (depending on the day's barometer reading) forcing the liquid into the wood or antler.

 

I postulate that additional pressure will make it work even better, and am exploring options to add pressure from my air compressor (at about 90psi) but haven't tried it yet. Don't want the jar I'm using to explode - would definitely make a huge mess, and might injure someone (or me!). Plus all that flammable stuff everywhere.

 

post-11-1166992387.jpg

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