Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stumpede! Carving Cypress Stumps

I built a carving station as I have about 120 carvings to make which include trees, stumps and knees for the swamp. Might as well have a good place to make them. I'll start with the stumps because when you are doing the big tree castings you often have a small amount of resin left. I'll take the remnant resin and pour it into a stump or knee mold so that none of it is wasted. Therefore, I need these molds ready before I start the trees.

Before I start carving there is a lot of prep work to be done. The first thing is to research what a real stump looks like. I surfed the web and came up with about 25 stump photos. The thing to keep in mind is what did the stump look like in the time period you were modeling? For me, I'm modeling 1920. The trees the loggers were felling were quite large, some over 12 feet in diameter. They would have been fresh cuts and mostly would have been cut off up high, then the stump cut with a saw. Most of the stump pictures I found on the web were old stumps that were cut about 80 years prior. So we'll have to improvise.

Once I have the pictures, I'll decide how many stumps to make. There is a list on this blog of the stumps and quantity. The first stumps will be the large foreground models, one dozen of them. After deciding the quantity, I then sketch each stump and give it a number so that I can reference the stump to the mold.

Nothing fancy, but it keeps me from making 12 stumps that all look identical. On the layout, each stump can be turned 60 degrees six times to give six different views. That makes 12 stumps turn into 72 different looking stumps.

I sat down last night and carved the first two out of Sculpy clay and left them on the table. Marie saw them and really like the look of the new stumps. I'll wait until I have all 12 and bake them. Then I'll pour the mold. Usually I'll wait until I have enough casting to mold before I order a 10 lb container of silicone molding compound, and then cast them all at once. So I'll wait until I have a set of knees and a few trees, then do them all at once.

By carving a stump or two per night, or a tree or some knees, we'll have the 120 units done in no time.

Marie was fussing at me about not being able to get the train expenses as a write off again. So I've agreed to sell the products I'm making for myself for a tax deduction. Look for Southern Scale Models to start business soon and you can have your own cypress stumps!

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