Saturday, November 19, 2011

Monster Head Study No. 4 - The Aquatic Creature

Carved face of a wizened old manDug North's Monster Head Study No. 4

Yet again, it's been a while since I shared with you one of my little monster head studies. For a little background, here is where you can catch up on my posts about Monster Head Study No. 1 and Monster Head Study No. 2. and Monster Head Study No. 3. This one would be No. 4.

As with the other  monster heads thus far, this one started out as a 1 inch diameter hardwood ball. These come in packs of 12 and are free of knots. They are quite hard and difficult carve with a carving knife or gouges. Whereas for Monster Head No. 3, I used Kutzall carving burrs in a Dremel rotary tool, this time I took a different approach altogether. Actually, for this head I didn't really "carve" at all! The entire thing was shaped on a 1 inch belt sander. Mine is a sturdy homemade unit that my friend gave to me. It belonged to his grandfather, who was an engineer turned toy-maker. Not only is it a great tool (the motor is bigger than most), but I enjoy the thought that it has been used to make mechanical wooden things for three generations.

As you can see, the head is basically a sphere with a number of flat planes sanded into it. Even the mouth was shaped on the sander. By using the edge of the sanding belt, I could notch into the wooden ball. It's not the most detailed mouth ever, but it gets the idea across.

I cut a tiny wooden spool in half and those became the ears for the monster. The eyes were drilled into the front of the face. Into the resulting holes, I placed glass beads tinted just a little bit blue-green. I finished off the eyes by pressing small brass grommets into the eye sockets and securing them with a bit of cyanoacrylate glue. I tend to use Krazy Glue Advanced Formula Gel. It dries just a bit slower than regular Krazy Glue and can be spread easily with a toothpick. I drilled two small holes into the roof of the monster's mouth. I cut the heads off of two short brass brads and glued them into the holes to form a pair of crude fangs. I used an awl to press tiny nostrils into the front of the face. Finally, I sanded a curve into a 1 inch wooden disc using a 1/4" drum sander (see right). This formed the crest that I glued to the top of the monster's head.

I made this one very, very quickly. The overall effect suggests that this is some kind of aquatic monster. I never start out with a plan for these little guys, so this was a surprise -- even to me! While I like elements of this one, it's not quite as sinister or dangerous looking as some of the others. It almost looks friendly! GASP!

I hope you liked learning a bit about this little carved monster head. There are many more to come so stay tuned.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Love this one! Could see this guy being the star of a really quirky automaton scene. With just the head alone he has good character.

November 19, 2011 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Dug North said...

Thanks Catherine! This one does have potential -- even if he's not quite as nasty looking as some of the others. The next one, Number 5, is pretty mean looking!

November 20, 2011 at 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the budget-minded, this set of burrs is an alternative:,44047


November 22, 2011 at 3:23 AM  
Blogger Dug North said...

That is a great deal, Charles! As you know, Lee Valley offers only the best stuff for woodworkers. Great find!


November 22, 2011 at 9:02 AM  

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