Jean expressed an interest in carving having seen some amazing work by members of the Sussex Woodcraft Society, so with trepidation I handed over my carving gouges

Jean says "I wanted a simple project to start with, but for some unknown reason I chose Brian - partly because I already had a handy model in the form of a bronze ornament that would not wander off too quickly"

An article detailing brian's creation was printed in Carving Magazine issue 141 click the link to the left to read the pdf

   This is the life

or birth -

   of Brian

The model

   Lime wood was selected for this project  as it is easy to carve
   and holds a good level of detail, and Chris just happened
   to have a block handy. First I scaled up my model to fit the size
   of the block. Having done a rough sketch on the block it was
   sent to the workshop for bandsawing

Having bandsawn Brian's profile on three sides, and cut a mounting
block on the bottom, the waste was discarded and he was screwed
to a base plate for easy clamping to the work surface

   The 'model' inspecting his
   drawing and sawn block
   of Lime, mounted to a
   base board of MDF prior
   to approving the carving

   I never realised that bashing the **** out
   of Brian would be so much fun

   [Jean got into the swing of carving in her
   first session and was so engrossed that
   I had to remind her to stop for dinner,
   that was the only way I could stop the
   racket - it was like living with a
   woodpecker - Chris]

Yes I am carving in the dining room and Brian is
clamped to the dining room table, but the table
is well protected, and seeing as I clear up the
mess, I wanted to do it in the warm!

   After some initial rough shaping
   I drew the spiral on for his house
   - what I didn't realise is that as
   soon as you have drawn on your
   blank, you carve it away and then
   have to do it again

It takes a lot of concentration to ensure
that I only cut away the bit I want

His house is taking shape                                                                       And now I am beginning to add some texture

   With the top of his house looking
   reasonable I need to carve away
   some of his body to get to the
   underneath of his shel

I thought it would get easier as I
progressed, but it's getting more
nerve wracking as I'm getting
more into it and I don't want to
mess up his neck and head

   As I now need to keep turning Brian to get all around his shell and body Chris
   has mounted him on a hydraulic carving clamp so that I can quickly rotate him
   in any direction and lock him solid to carve at the best angle

   As I have been progressing
   with more detail, actually
   seeing the finer details
   has been progressively
   more difficult.

   So Chris got me an
   Optivisor which is a
   binocular magnifying
   glass on a head band.


   now I can see all of the
   imperfections in amazing

   OK, the gloves, well they
   are special cut resistant
   gloves, guess how I found
   out that I needed these

   This clamp is amazing, it's now so muchquicker to spin him round to gain
   access to whatever bit of him I need to carve. It's much more comfortable
   too, as I can retain a relaxed posture, which makes the carving process
   a lot easier     

   The clamp is a Spencer Franklin Hydraclamp bought secondhand from
   Leeside Tools in Yapton

   Brian is now progressing well with a good shape to his body. I am currently
   working on his tail, trying to not knock off any vital bits as the grain makes
   this a bit vulnerable

   Having done some more work to his
   body, it's back to refining his shell.
   Every time you do one bit it seems
   that you need to go back to another
   area to ensure that he retains his
   balance overall. Sometimes you can't
   finish a section until you have carved
   away another bit to gain access

Having shaped most of the top of Brian's body
there was a glaring ommission - tentacles!

A friend from the Sussex Woodcraft Society
came to the rescue, and provided several
pieces of bone, saying "you'll need these"

This presented another challenge - how to
mount his tentacles.

Chris came up with the idea of using magnets.
That way when they get knocked they simply
come away without causing any damage

Here I am starting the shaping process using
a belt sander

   Brian had his body magnets inserted using a tentacle

   The flats were filed so that his tentacles would point
   in an appropriate direction, and were later blended
   into his body, leaving a small pad for the tentacles
   to sit on

I left his chin on whilst shaping his neck for rigidity

But finally the time came for a bit of drastic surgery

I could barely cope!!!


   Having unrestricted access to Brian's tummy, I started trimming

   First I used a Kutzall cutter in a rotary tool to create flowing waves
   to his 'skirt', then refined the shape with gouges


Finally plenty of sanding was required to his
body followed by some sanding sealer and a
buff with micro crystalline wax

Then he made off through the sawdust to explore!

He quickly found something to snack on...

Jean Grace