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Archive for August, 2013

Though at times it has felt slower than I might have wanted, progress on my whale sculpture has been steady. After getting the first two stringers bent onto each side and notched into the nose piece, I started work on the pectoral fins and the sides of the tail. To bend these pieces I used jigs with a series of intermediate blocks I could clamp the thin pieces of oak to. I built these blocks as two piece steps to raise the forms off the bed surface to provide better access for the clamps and to add the additional pieces which would be used to stabilize the shapes. Instead of steaming these pieces in a steam chamber, I put a large brownie pan partially filled with water in the oven and turned the temperature up to 230 degrees( forgetting a pan partially filled with water in the oven also happens to be a good way to confuse the roommates). I put the pieces of oak in the nearly boiling water for about 4 minutes before bending them into shape. Like the other parts of the whale, only dowels and lashings are used to hold things together.

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Currently, I am still figuring out short to trim the tips of the tail pieces, but clearly there is considerably more material present currently than I will want on the final product. Regardless, I am pretty happy with how these pieces turned out.

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Here it is with all appendages ¬†temporarily clamped in place, and before I bent the final two stringers were added to the belly of the whale. If you look closely, you will notice that i took the nose off and changed the orientation of the lashings on the front. Having them vertical simply didn’t look right.¬†

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Currently, all the stringers are zip tied into place. The last big step will be adding the two piece rib hoops that the stringers will be permanently lashed to. After that I will be able to remove the inner framework that the stringers were bent around. The next steps are going to be pretty exciting to see! With a little luck another update should be coming soon!

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