Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mini Ark - Mini Animals - In the Making - Part 1

In looking for a challenge I have decided to make a mini Noah's Ark with mini animals.  Sorry for the unintended pun.  I will let the size of the finished animals determine the size of the ark.  However, I am talking smaller animals. One to two inch in length as well as height; there are a few exceptions.

The round shape in the center of the photo is a quarter.  This quarter is for a size reference.  I used a copy machine to reduce my regular patterns to the smaller size.  I copied the images on index paper and covered the index paper with clear packaging tape, prior to cutting the animal patterns out.  This application of tape makes the patterns easier to trace and the are more durable.  NOTE:  I use side /silhouette views of the animals and have had to redraw the legs on some.  I show just the front and rear legs, and they are not separated from right to left.  This feature is to add strength and prevent breakage of the legs.

A word about the wood that you trace the patterns on to.  I use Redwood or Cedar, because of its properties when sanding.  These woods have resins in them that seems to prevent the wood from fuzzing up when sanding; which means that a minimum of finish sanding before painting is required.  There is a down side.  DON'T BREATH THE DUST.  Use a good mask or blow the dust away as you sand.  NOTE:  Notice that in the above photo there are two of each animal.  This is a Noah's Ark project.  Since animals are different is thickness, the wood you use should also be different thicknesses.  Just think of the animal butts.  The elephant has a bigger butt than a Cheetah.  Use thicker wood for the big butt animals and thinner for the smaller.  I'm using 1 inch as the thickest and 1/4 inch for the thinnest.  Also notice the direction of the wood grain in reference to the placement of the patterns.

The tools that I use to carve these animals are:  power rotary tool, sanding drums and sleeves, diamond burrs, and the a scroll saw.

You'll have to use a thin blade in the scroll saw to make the tight turns when cutting the mini animals out.  I tape a thin piece of plywood to the scroll saw table that covers the hols for the blade.  This prevents the smaller trimmed pieces as well as the small animal from falling into the hole.
This posting is part 1 of a series.  The next posting will focus on how I carve the animals using the power rotary tool and sanding drum/sleevs.  A later posting will address the design and construction of an appropriate Ark for the animals.

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