Been a while

Sorry I didn’t post much this summer, my internship took up most of my time. But I was able to make a couple of canes, like this one:

I found a shrub by the side of the road, waiting to be mulched. I brought it home, took some branches off, and let it dry. After a few months, I peeled it and shaped the handle. After that, I had the idea I could french-polish the thing, disregarding everything about such a finish’s lack of durability.

But it was effing gorgeous up close. Still, I might try Tung oil on my next cane.

I still don’t know what kind of shrub this came from. It was very hard wood, which let me do some fine carving (out of frame), and the heartwood was yellow before it faded (I don’t think it was Yellowheart however).

Mandolin Update

OK, my new mandolin is a piece of junk. The tension of only half the strings was enough to separate the neck from the body. I was advised that getting it repaired would cost twice as much as what I paid for it. But I’m a skinflint.

Seeing as how I couldn’t sell a broken mandolin, I decided to fix it myself. After several methods gave poor results, I went all in and put a 3-inch wood screw halfway into the neck. It looks like crap, but it’s a solid stinker.

With it all tuned up, it doesn’t sound half bad. But my fingers are killing me!

TL;DR My mandolin suxxors, so I’m not going to the trouble of building this super-amazing case I’ve been planning. Instead, I’ll be making canes from some apple branches.

Mando case concept art

I’ve been working on a coat of arms I could put on the case.  I came up with this:

Coat of Arms

Custom coat of arms

If I am correct, its blazon should be: Party per chevron, paly vert and Or and argent, a bear rampant sable langued gules

Obviously I would do some refining before carving it.  I’m also considering carving an ornate letter “B” on the other side, and carving the end- and side-pieces with a fleur-de-lis border pattern:

Ornate B

Possible initial

Fleur border

Fleur-de-lis border

I’m planning to do it in walnut, but I’m not sure what kind of lumber my grandpa has for me to use.  Any tips or suggestions, let me hear ’em!

Got a mandolin!

I just won an acoustic-electric mandolin on eBay, and I have been told it will be waiting for me when I get home on the 3rd.  However, my $60 bid was for the mandolin only, not a case.  What to do, what to do….

I know, I can build my own custom case!  So I’m wondering, what kind of motifs could I have in mind while designing it?

a mandolin

Mine looks similar to this one, but with a more reddish color, and a pickup

I plan to use a process similar to the one in this video and its sequel:

Finished “Mr. Myrtle”

After a bit more refining (and discovering the usefulness of rubbing alcohol) I finally got it to the point where I liked the look.  The eyes leave quite a bit to be desired, but from a moderate distance…not too shabby for scrap wood carved with an X-Acto knife.

Mr. Myrtle

photos taken with a cell phone. sorry.

Mr. Myrtle closeup

I wasnt aiming for realism, but didnt want cartoony either. So it ended up slightly minimalist.

Another closeup

Just another closeup

Okay, storytime:

I’ve been working on this on and off for most of the semester, usually during a study break.  Over the course of about 3 months, the wood picked up a fair bit of whatever microscopic crud was in-between the ridges of my fingerprints.  So, I rubbed it with alcohol, then with a bit of laundry detergent, and scrubbed it clean.  Looked like new, smelled dryer fresh.

My mark

You cant see it very well, but yeah, thats my trademark

Toy Plane plans

I was trying to think of things I could make to donate to a preschool class, and I came up with this toy jet plane.  It took me a couple hours in Google SketchUp (I don’t use it very often) to make this:

a toy plane concept

I had some trouble Orbiting to the view I wanted

It probably would have been easier in SolidWorks, but I don’t have it anymore.  The wings are 1/2″ thick, the tenons 1/2″ long, the body about 15″ long and 1″ thick.  Of course if I ever get around to making this I’ll smooth the edges (I’ve heard the term “break”) to prevent splinters.  I also might try putting some minimalized landing gear on it.

Figured it out!

It’s been bugging me forever that no one can name this tree species that’s all over campus.  After wandering through Wikipedia, I came across this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagerstroemia.  It fits, with its tendency to inosculate to itself, its prevalence in the region, and the appearance of its bark after a quick Google Search.

Anyhoo, that’s what I’m carving into a wood spirit face.  Here is my current progress:

Started a beard

More definition for the nose

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