Thursday, May 31, 2007

Just brows-ing

Charlie 10 has raising eyebrows installed and painted, and he's now attached to his control post. I used Elmer's Glue to attach the post to the head, but I'll also add a ring of Magic-Sculpt to strengthen the connection. Then I'll paint the Magic-Sculpt ring with fleshtone.

His body is assembled. Next comes facial "make-up" painting, his trap door will be attached and he'll get his wig. I still need to shop for clothes. I think he'll be ready for his new home in about two weeks.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Basswood carving

I'm interested in learning about carving a figure from basswood. Does anyone know of a book specifically covering this subject?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

T-shirts for sale

Wow! Some good old-fashioned entrepreneurial free enterprise! Get your own "Vent Into The Mic" T-shirt! CLICK HERE to go to the "Vent Into The Mic" store. (Got a few other cool items for sale there, too!)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

There's no place like home

After a 12-hour drive from Los Altos, California to North Bend, Oregon, Joyce and I are finally home. It was a beautiful trek up the coast, but we're tired and anxious to sleep in our own bed.

Our dogs Boris and Natasha (who were left at home with a housesitter) were giddy with excitement upon our return. It probably hasn't occurred to them yet that they'll have to go back to sleeping in their doggie beds tonight.

Even Dickens the Cat deigned to come downstairs to greet us.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

On vacation

While it's nice to set my real job aside for a week, I do miss my vent-building. In between lattes, reading my Andrew Jackson biography and eating far too much, I daydream about vent figures.

Joyce and I have been visiting her father and brother in Marina, California (near Monterey). Yesterday I peeled away to spend a few days with my buddy Mike in Los Altos. We were roommates in college and have remained the best of friends all these years. Everyone in his household is off to work or school, so I'm left alone to putter around their house. Today it's just me and "Speedbump", their 13-year-old dog lounging around until the family returns home. I have been left with enormous relaxation resources including several DVD's, the internet, the San Francisco Chronicle's "Sporting Green", and a fridge full of food. I think I'll manage. However, I do need to shower and shave at some point before everyone returns home.

I think it will be a contest as to who yawns more often... me or Speedbump.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What's he got to smile about?

I suppose he's happy because his eyes are self-centering with a pair of springs behind his eyeballs. No easy feat. The distance between the holes in the synchronizer (a piece of wood) have to be precisely measured and drilled. A little to the left or right, and the little fellow will look too wall-eyed, cross-eyed or just plain cockeyed. To be candid, it took me three tries before I got it right.

(There was much cussin').

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Makin' eyes

I purchased some irises (no, not the flowers for Mother's Day) on Ebay. I thought I'd attempt to manufacture my own eyeballs. I gathered 1.5" wood balls from the craft store, a 5/8" router bit, a couple of drill bits and some white acrylic paint. I set to work.

As you can see from the photo, the router worked fine. After routing, I had to expand the size of the center hole to accomodate the plastic irises. The back hole measurement is smaller than the iris center hole. I was concerned that I might not be able to place the back hole directly 180 degrees from the iris. But I realized I could drill the smaller back hole from the front side through the larger iris hole. I'm usually not that clever, but I was proud to have figured that out.

Maybe I am getting better at this.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

My refurb project

A while back, I purchased a retro-fit Charlie McCarthy to see how it was built. To my amazement, the eyes were not spheres or even half-spheres, but cylinders. I thought that was quite clever. There are springs in the back of the cylinders for self-centering. I am refurbishing the figure because it was in sad shape when it arrived. The control post was loose (since re-attached), and the eye sockets have a rather heavy (and scary) outline (yet to be corrected with a new paint job). I'll likely repaint the cylinder eyes and perhaps use plastic irises recently purchased on Ebay.