My husband and kids are the best thing that ever happened to me. By just being themselves they push me to places I should have been a long time ago but was to scared to go. They have more faith in me than I have in myself and I am continually grateful for that. Well, grateful once the 'you want me to make what??' is over.
Recently Mark, my youngest son, asked if I could make him a small statue to represent his section of the Air Force Flight School class he was in. They used to have a mascot, but it had been stolen and sold on e-bay. Very embarrassing, but also a good reason for an update. He wanted it about 30 inches high and as heavy as I could make it. Oh, and could it please have a place on it for a chain and a lock? And can it look like a cartoon superhero but with six-guns, a bandit mask and a flight helmet?
Silly me, I said yes. Didn't even hesitate. Be glad to help, I said the day he phoned. You want it in six weeks? Piece of cake. Ha!
Hubby Russ was in the background warning me not to do it. He said I didn't have the time. Shows what he knows. I can always make time for something my sons want. It was my lack of any idea of how to go about it that was the problem!
To make a long story short, The first try was a disaster. I carved the figure out of foam insulation and used paper mache for details. As recommended by the miriad of websites I researched for the project, I sealed the figurine with several coats of rather expensive shelac. But even with a good amount of release, it got stuck in the plaster mold. I mean really stuck. It ame out in bits and pieces.
The first deadline came and went. The idea of creating a mold to pour concrete into went out the window as well. Waaaaay to expensive. I'd need at least $200 worth of rubber compounds in order to avoid another disaster. Even though I was dying to try out that method, the cost of materials certainly wasn't in the budget.
'Making Concrete Garden Ornaments by Sherri Warner Hunter'. With the book and help from Russ in suggesting copper tubing for the basic armature the project finally looked like it was going to work. This, of course, was after a morning of heating rebar and trying to bend it into shape. And discovering we don't own a reliable bench vice and that the 3/8 rebar I had on hand was complete overkill.
Here's the wooden box for the base with holes drilled through it so the copper tubing could be anchored in the concrete that would be poured into it. I used screws to hold the tubing in place. It was much easier to drill than I though it would be.
Some of the detail was created by careful grinding and filing. A dremel tool worked well for fine detail and for getting into the tight curves. Using a big grinder was much more dramatic and way more fun!
Mark will apply a glossy spray once the paint has cured a bit. It really needs that.
Marks likes it and is presenting it to his class mates next week. Hope they like it too.
If this mascot gets stolen and sold on e-bay I hope it sells for more than the last one!