I cut the pattern and attach it to the piece of wood I will use as the body, in this case a piece of Tupelo, taking care to line up the centrelines.
Since the hole in the base of the head will be smaller than that needed for the actuator rod through the body the head must be separated before drilling. I drill a 1/8" hole through the length on the body, since I have a long drill bit, and anything smaller tends to drift when drilling. I will install a collar in the neck later to reduce the diameter somewhat.
Using the scroll saw I cut out the body blank. Notice that I have chosen to add the legs later, as well as the suspenders. After cutting the side and front profiles, the remaining piece in the middle is the block that will be shaped to the body.
Drill a smaller hole (1/16") in the base of the head and cut out the front and side profile. This will be where the actuator rod will be fastened.
After cutting out the head and temporarily mounting it on the body block it looks something like this.
Next it is on to shaping with my Dremel tool!
So here is the front and side view sketches I will use to cut out the blank for the chicken lady. I will cut out her body shape and add her arms and legs later. I will also add the suspenders separately. I will cut her head off the body to shape it. Here is the sketch.
I had an enquiry from a visitor to my Youtube channel about how I make characters for my projects. As it happens I am just embarking on making the last of four characters for the lineup in my current project. If you look at previous blog entries you can see the previous three people, a nun, a little girl, and an old women. So I have decided to blog the progress as I make this last lineup character. So Bill, here goes.
I usually start doing hand sketches of the characters I imagine for the project. It usually takes about four drawings before I start to feel comfortable with them. In the case of the lineup characters, they are secondary characters. They will be behind glass and closer to the rear of the scene, so I will not make them as detailed as most. They are also fairly small, the tallest being only 6 inches tall, so a whole lot of detail is difficult to accomplish, so I won't go overboard. A further consideration is that the heads of the members of the lineup will turn, so the the heads are made separately, and a hole has to be created in the centre of the body for the actuating rod. In these characters I attach the feet later instead of carving them into the body block to facilitate drilling and conserve material.
The last consideration how to do the arms. Often I do arms separately as it allows me to position them precisely and change positions if I'm not happy. I can also adapt them to hold things like teddy bears and meat cleavers!
So here is the final concept sketch of the lineup characters. Notice that things are not exactly to scale or proportion, I just want to see how the will look together and what size they should be to fit the available space. You may notice the nun ended up a little differently as I decided that if she held a crucifix she might look a little more pious.
The last character to be made is the woman in the chicken suit. The next step is to do a front and side view drawing of her to the proper scale. (Her head seems a little small in this sketch). When I get the drawing finished I'll post it.
I've finished the third suspect in the police lineup. This is Carrie. She certainly seems like a strange candidate with blood on her apron, a cleaver in her hand, and a feather the other one. Of course everyone gets their day in court, innocent until proven guilty. It will be interesting to see what the witnesses have to say.
Anyway here is Carrie.
I am taking a couple of days to revamp my shop a little. The first is hand tool accessibility and organization. I find I use looks of different hand tools when build automata. These include measures, files, tweezers, miniature hand saws, lots of different pliers, screwdrivers, chisels, and just about everything else. I like to keep them handy in a drawer on my work bench, however my collection of stuff has grown. I decided to add more drawers to the front of my bench to organize and store things better.
Now I just have to clean up the mess and stash everything into the new space. It is amazing how little things can excite sometimes!
The other half of the project is to find myself a new dust collector for use on my scroll saw and bench sanders. I am using a lot of Tupelo wood for characters and the dust is very fine. My small bag house just doesn't seem to do the trick. I am busily doing some research on what others have done. I'll do a supllier tour next week in the city.
The Chicken County Sherriff's Department has identified another suspect in the case of "Who Slew the Chicken?" Strangely they believe that a little girl who resembles Anne of Green Gables warrants consideration. There is some question of their competence. Maybe they are just trying to fill the lineup. Regardless it is a traumatic experience for a girl and her teddy bear.
Yet to be identified by name, here she is at 4-1/2" tall.
Finally I'm back into the shop after things are starting to feel a bit better healthwise. I've also been busy making battleships, submarines, police boats, fire boats, and "bad guy" boats with the grandsons while they are on holiday this week.
Anyway here is a photo of Sister Mary Vegetarian. Apparently the Chicken County Sheriff's Office feels she is a candidate for the lineup of suspects that might have killed a chicken. She will get a crucifix shortly.
The wayward sheep are now in the basement lockup. There crime has not yet been identified. For now they are just being held. Seems a little fishy to me!
I also built a set of pulleys to guide the counterweight cables that will return the heads of the suspects to a neutral position after looking at the prime candidate as identified by the chicken witnesses.
The next suspect is 90% complete. Hopefully I'll post her tomorrow, or the next day.
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.