Tag Archives: carving

A Delightful Discovery, Part 2

11 Jul

It is when one travels that one finds treasures and delightful discoveries. Besides the Hasegawa EggPlane that I found, I found a couple more things.

Discovery # 1: a Waldo book entitled ‘The Totally Essential Travel Collection’. Yes, I am fond of Waldo and this book totally has me absorbed looking for him whenever I need a breather from staring at my monitor for too long in the office.

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Discovery #2: paint brushes from Michaels. I was like a kid in a candy store browsing the aisles looking longingly at all the art supplies. In the end, I opted for value, variety and quantity, and picked up these two packs of brushes which will come in super handy to use after the carving process.

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With such delightful discoveries, it’s no surprise that I started carving a new piece last night so that I can use the brushes. As for Waldo, staring at the monitor is now not so tedious. Life is good!

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Fresh Supply, Part 2

23 May
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The various stages of carving a Whale

With so much Meranti wood, every evening I am kept busy! When the sun is up, I would be playing golf (especially this week) but when the sun goes down, I would be carving.

The process is simple, find two Meranti blocks that are about the same size to Elmer-glue together. Then clamp it down with the work bench for a day or so before carving. And although there’s a fixed set of measurements and angles to ensure every piece is standardised, there are still some variations. After all, it’s wood that I am dealing with and the carvings are all hand-made.

The chipping, carving and initial shaping does not take long. This is the fun but dusty and messy part. If I stay focused, I usually get one piece done a night depending on what time I start. It is after the carving that the process takes longer and sometimes tedious too because every step of the way requires time or even have to be repeated.

Details on the eyes and tail take time. The eyes are usually marked, carved out first before drilling to ensure it’s perfectly round and even. For the tail, it’s the curves and corners that I have to work on. Then the sanding and filing to shape the overall curves.

Putty work is next to patch ugly holes and the piece is then left to dry, taking time because this curing process cannot be hurried. When the piece is ready—usually a couple of hours or more depending on how much is applied—more sanding and filing, creating more dust and mess. Sometimes this step needs to be repeated if the patch work is insufficient to even out the holes properly.

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Putty work: before and after comparison

But when all patch work are completed, a coat of white gesso is applied and the piece is left to dry again for another day. The next step – more sanding to smoothen the surface before a second coat of gesso. By now it’s the fourth or fifth day from the first cut.

Once I am satisfied with the surface, on goes the acrylic paint, two coats over two days. Of all the colors I have, the new Glitter Blue color is most problematic because it requires more than two coats, several coats in fact to be even.

The last process is the gloss varnish, also two coats, before the final touches are added – the felt cloth on the base, the date and my signature and voila! The piece is finally complete.

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Before and after of the final touches with felt base, date and my signature!

With the fresh supply, I find myself repeating this routine every other night with several pieces overlapping each other in various stages of the process. Tedious, repetitive but enjoyable.

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Working on four pieces in various stages simultaneously

Fresh Supply

21 May

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I am in wood heaven! Two weeks ago, I received two boxes of freshly cut Meranti wood to continue with my carving. And carving I have been doing.

I realize now that carving Whales do not hurt my left wrist compared to Gnomes. It is the size – Gnomes are smaller than Whales, and how I grip the wood tightly (when carving a Gnome) causing a strain to the wrist. Add in the many angles of a Gnome, that’s why the tender area of the wrist would flare up if pressure and the repetitive action is applied constantly.

I have stopped carving Gnomes and Citizens of Gigglesville for the time being and just focusing on Whales which are much easier to handle. Anyway, the Gnomes and Citizens are decorative, cute and fun but the Whales are more than that, they are useful – being a smart phone holder.

The best part, I can still play golf without pain and the Whale population has been growing steadily. Yay.

Killer Whale?

2 May

Whale 28 has turned out to be more than a Killer Whale, it’s killer gorgeous! With its wide body and the shiny pearl effect, I think Pink Taffeta is the color to use from now on for new whales. So I will go back to Meranti and work on more whales.

Ahhh… fun times ahead!

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More New Colors, Part 2

26 Apr

It’s hard to stay away from carving Whales. After the balsa bout, I itched to get back to Meranti, so here’s Whale 28. This fella’s a bit odd in size because the wood block that’s available is wider than most of the other pieces that I have done. Oh well.

It is kinda cute in its own way and once I paint it with the new pearl Pink Taffeta color, it will just be so gorgeous!

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More New Colors

25 Apr

I thought carving up Citizen #182 was significant so I bought new colors to commemorate it. This time, I decided to introduce shiny colors for variety.

So besides painting up Citizen #182 in pearl Taffeta Pink, #183 was also given the new color, the glitter blue. Not content with this, I then refreshed a few earlier Citizens, adding clear glitter on top of their existing colors.

Maybe this year, glitter is the way to go as this latest batch look very pretty and shiny. I like ‘em.

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Picture not giving the gloss and glitter enough prominence

Win-Win-Win-Win Situation

11 Apr

This 16/8 diet seems to be really good for me. So far, coupled with my activities, it’s been effective – I feel good and there’s more to this. That’s why I call it a win-win-win-win situation.

The 16/8 is strictly on weekdays but I have lost weight. Win number one.

On weekends, I play golf. Win number two. And after golf, a nice lunch where I would eat and basically don’t restrict myself. I only avoid food that can cause discomfort due to my Endometriosis. But as I now eat at a 16/8 time frame, my tummy has shrunk and no matter what nice food are on the table, I don’t eat a lot.

The best part, I also drink during lunch. Win number three. A couple of whiskey shots, not necessarily excessive but enough to feel good. Sometimes at home at night, a glass of wine to relax. Alcohol, I must admit is one thing I can’t give up. I should stay away from beer though because unlike, wine and whiskey, I tend to drink more and that’s not good.

And I wouldn’t say I eliminated sugar totally as I do find myself snacking on some candies and cookies occasionally during the window to eat. Win number three and a half?

For the final win number four? Carving of course! I have turned to balsa for now because the existing stock pile of Meranti wood are not the right sizes for carving any Whales or even Gnomes. Basically a lot more work is needed to cut them to size and I avoided this to preserve the wrist prior to the Iron Challenge golf tournament.

But now that the tournament is done and over, I am in a good place to go back to carving, first with balsa to increase the population count of my Citizens of Gigglesville and eventually back on Meranti. What a win-win-win-win situation indeed.

Citizen #182

9 Apr
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Citizen #182 from all angles

After a four and a half months break, 26 Whales, two Monuments and nine Gnomes later, I finally carved a Citizen of Gigglesville. What a long break. I had almost forgotten how to carve a Citizen on balsa, taking a longer time than I normally would with #182, the first one for 2019.

But it looks good, I must say. It was awkward to hold, being so small and the balsa being so soft; I have forgotten what it’s like to control my strength. Despite all these shortcomings, I am pleased because there’s no strain at all on the left gripping hand and I can play golf without any nagging pain.

Maybe I should continue with more Citizens on balsa instead of the others on Meranti to preserve the hand. Reaching 200 population count is not impossible if I keep at this.

Munch Pot 2.0

12 Mar

Our garden is just a wonderful place for the creatures that come visiting. Birds, treating our place as their private kitchen, come daily to feast on the bird seeds put out for them. There’s also squirrels that bound through the hedges happily like their little playground. One of the squirrel, a rascal, will eat official pet number one’s leftover dog food or boldly come into the house and help itself to bananas (if we have this) on the kitchen counter.

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The garden thrives because hubby has the green fingers, not me. I hardly venture out because I stay indoors in my little area to do my carving. Even if I do go out, it’s more at the terrace to do mostly sawing, hammering, cutting or drilling, never beyond the tiled boundary for gardening. So it was a bit of a surprise when I discovered the habanero plant has grown as tall as me! And the chillis are plentiful. I have shared so much of our harvest with friends and family.

The thriving garden also had us discovering a new caterpillar! This time on the Calamansi Lime tree at the side. I wouldn’t have known if hubby didn’t tell me. You could say it’s Munch Pot 2.0.

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This time I decided to take its measurement with a ruler to keep track of its growth. As of now, it’s 2cm long. I hope this little fella will grow well and won’t disappear mysteriously like Munch Pot who used to be at the Calamansi Lime tree in front of the house.

Killer Whales, Part 2

18 Feb
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The big and the mini vise clamps

A week before Chinese New Year, I bought a bigger vise clamp and put it to good use immediately over the weekend purchase. And in the midst of working on two whales back-to-back, I injured myself. But on the left foot! Huh? Where’s the connection here?

Let me explain…

The vise clamp worked beautifully and held the block well; I was able to shape the block without exerting any strength on the left hand which was good. But in the midst of the carving action, I got up too fast and caught the edge of the table so hard with my left foot. Ouch hardly describes the excruciating agony.

The shooting pain was right on the Lateral Malleolus, the bone bump and it bruised beautifully. What a sight to behold…

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Top (L): the day after, Top(R): after golf, a week later and Bottom: four days after the knock

 

 

 

Those cute whales are such killer whales I tell you. It was a good two and a half weeks before the bruise subsided. As for the pain, it is still there.