Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WIP: Forked Branch Carving: Meet "Herbert Sherbert" (Part 2 of 2)

WIP= "Work in Progress"

 Herbert is now finished and standing his ground proudly wherever I decide that he will stand. As previously mentioned in part 1 of this carving, it was one of my funnest projects ever. In the past I have dabbled with forked-branch carving but this particular project has taken my curiosity to the next level, which as a carver, has always been an ongoing goal.

Note in the pictures above the "Popeye" forearms of Herbert. That is just one of the wonderful effects that I was able to achieve by using the mortise and tenon joinery. The bulging eyes, nose, and ears also benefited from this method of carving by attaching various parts of the carving with joinery. I thought about adding a ball cap on Herbert's head which would have added additional joinery but decided that I'd rather have all of his bright green hair showing. After all that's why he was named "Herbert Sherbert".

In the pictures directly above I give you an idea about how I carved the hands for Herbert. I used a small limb of rhododendron, carving one hand on each end of the stick. Keeping the hands on one single long stick made the carving much easier with the natural "handle" then I cut them to size when done.
Since the body of Herbert didn't come with forked limbs for the legs I had to attach them separately as seen in the picture to the right. Once again I drilled a mortise into his body then a tenon on the "legs" section. I also decided not to apply wood glue to this joint since it fitted so squeaky tight and most of all I discovered a nice surprise. I found that putting the mortise hole close to my lips and blowing air at an angle across the surface I had a very loud whistle. That was just too cool for hiding in a permanent joint so Herbert's legs can now be removed at will to amuse folks with the bonus whistle. Sweet!

I finished up Herbert with watered down acrylic paints (including an American flag belt buckle) then applied a rub-on polyurethane. Forked branch carving has now become a regular part of my daily carvings and more interesting creations will follow in the days ahead so stay tuned.

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