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Workbench Creations is the place for conversation and discussion about do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. This DIY blog will feature projects completed by its owner as well as projects completed by other do-it-yourselfers. Workbench Creations is the place where DIYers can discuss ideas, learn about what others have done, and share their expertise.

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Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

Posted July 19, 2012 8:26 AM by Del the cat

There's not a huge engineering content here but there's some use of adhesives, heat bending of wood and general design feel for balance, strength and heck it was just fun.
I hope it shows the need for an intimate understanding of the material and subject matter to make it look truly 'right'. It took some jigging and lots of adjustments to get the hand positions correct in relation to the bow at the 'low hands' position.
Here's the original sketch, you can see I'm trying to capture the movement and feel of drawing a bow.

The material is offcuts of Yew from my bowmaking, and using offcuts also lets you be influenced by the pysical size and shape of the material to hand.
It was in thin slats which had a slightly triangular cross section which is reflected in the design of the head.
I started on the wooden model trying for a sort of 3D cavepainting feel, but soon realised I needed a cardboard model to help work out how I was going to do it.

Then another working sketch...

I made the leg/trunk part first, then the shoulder/arm piece, once I knew how they fitted together I shaped the head. The bow and upper right forearm were taped in position while I worked on the other bits. Then it was fitting it all together and adjusting it to look right.
It's too fiddly to give it a really fine finish, I quit after going to 240 grit wet & dry paper, then gave it a coat of Danish oil.
The finished work is mounted on a slice of Oak which looks a bit like a rocky outcrop.


I added two tiny fillets of Yew under the heels for added strength of mounting, these were fixed with epoxy.
It's odd that superglue worked very well for some parts like attaching the bow but not for others like mounting him to the base. The reason being, I think, that some parts were too porous and didn't exclude the air to let the glue cure. I used high viscosity superglue for some parts and low viscosity for others. the very tight bends of ankles and elbows caused some fracturing of the wood, appliying low viscosity superglue fills the cracks and strengthens it very effectively. A couple of areas (right elbow of low arm position) were reinforced with sawdust loaded epoxy too.
I'm going to enter the work into a prestigeous exhibition next year, hopefully it will be unusual enough to get accepted.
Del

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#1

Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/19/2012 10:02 AM

This is soooo cool!

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#2

Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/19/2012 10:12 AM

As usual Del, very nice work.

It was interesting to see it go from sketch to cardboard model to finished piece!

Thanks for the post!

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#3

Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/19/2012 10:16 AM

I can only but view with jealous envy.

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#4

Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/19/2012 10:23 AM

Cheers guys...
I had a fleeting thought of doing another as an automaton, but i think that would prob end up turning ito a nightmare and I don't have the metal working facilities ...
Dear Santa please send a small lathe.
I may do one in copper as i have a length of old 28mm thick walled copper pipe which I unearthed when refurbishing my central heating, that would open out into a decent sheet (almost 88mm, if Mr Pi is to be believed)
Del

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#10
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 12:46 AM

Ditto on the lathe....Harbor Freight has one for about $200, I keep looking and wondering where I would put it.

I thought of turning my drillpress on it's side and making a bearing jig to mount on the base. It might make for an interesting project. Then I get a lathe and a drill press in one small footprint. Hmmm.

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#12
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 3:24 AM

Yeah, I call my drill press my 'poor mans lathe' it's ok for turning pegs of Yew to plug knots in my bows.
Del

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#20
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 10:06 PM

I thought of turning my drillpress on it's side....

Just turn your head.

Drillpress on its side loses the whole small footprint thing.

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#21
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 4:10 AM

turn his head - on a lathe ?

Del : Was the card one outlined and cut freehand ? Looking at the first sketch I suspect so. Much as I like the finnished sculpture, the card one is superdy-doopy. Elegant curves and spot on creases. Have you ever tried 'pop-up cards' ? Not joking - you have an eye for how to form shape.

You mentioned that balance between capturing movement and so on. A pop-up card could do that. Have a bash - seeing how it all opens up might inspire more thought on how to capture that mommment. Bugger Hallmark, I'd be more than happy with such a creation.

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#22
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 4:29 AM

It was just snippetty snip with scisors but a bit of measuring with a scrap of paper and much consulting of sketch... drat just realised I forgot to make the CAD gag.
Too late now I s'pose? 'cardboard aided design'.

Not so much pop up models, but I like the cut out and fold thing, it can be transferred to tin plate and soldered up easy peasy... a good use for all those empty chocy tins in the cupboard under the cornoer of the kitchen work top. (C'mon fess up, we know they're in there)
I remember getting that Jan Pienkowski pop up haunted house book when the kids were little (the cat with the moving eyes)
Ooooh I shall have to go and dig it out form the haunted library and sit with it and a cuppa
Del < paw step echo away up distant wooden stairs... creaky door opens....>

Del

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#23
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 5:04 AM

Don't talk to me of tin cans. Garden shed holds a ruddy big sheet of aluminium - 'it'll be useful one day'....that was like 25 years ago !!!

Chocolate in tins ? You posh *** ! Bet you never got some lush chocolate coated pecans from 'merica. Scoffed the lot, and the tin is so cool it resides on a shelf. Eat yer heart out .

I dare's ya; pop-up archer. Think about it - he/she can draw the bow as it rises ("he rises !"). It's Hippy Bathday for me soon, and I will be most disappointed if you don't post instructions. Somebody has to send a card, even if it's me .

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#24
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 5:13 AM

Someone should post a cardboard engineering thread...
Del

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#25
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 6:03 AM

Mock ye not.

The Science Museum in Kensington has some very cool models of geometric shapes. Bit on the dusty side now (even though enclosed in cases), though they aren't quite as mingin' as some of the Ornithopters.

Why do cats (and dogs) like to sit on any available bit of paper or card ? I let the dog sit on a chair to keep it out of my way, but put a bit of paper/card on the floor and he wants to sit on it.

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#5

Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/19/2012 7:46 PM

I like it....it shows movement....why not continue with a third with the arrow at discharge....at last some art, we've been in a drought for ages it seems....thanks for sharing

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#6

Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/19/2012 8:40 PM

nice work, but why does it have 4 arms, is it a mutant?

how about something like this?

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#7
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/19/2012 9:22 PM

Ha! Ninja chick fight...

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#16
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 2:41 PM

Hmm.... I may have to get that outfit for my wife.

(But not with the sword.)

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#8

Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/19/2012 10:28 PM

Nice looking material surfaces, but the limbs and torso make it look like just a stick-figure study-piece, with not much actually "going-on". Maybe adding two or three intermediate positions would do more to "bring it to life"...

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#9
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/19/2012 11:26 PM

You can get a bit too much motion

Marcel Duchamp. Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Wikipedia

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#13
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 10:38 AM

Not sure if I should step in as an Admin for the "Nude Descending a Staircase" but I think I have to pass on it because, honestly, I just don't see it Guess I'm simply not artistic enough to moderate

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#14
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 10:49 AM

You don't see the jiggle?
Del

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#15
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 12:34 PM

I'd like my artist wife to paint a classic Botticelli nude descending a staircase, and title it "Explosion in a Shingle Factory"; 2013 is coming up, and it would be the perfect centennial in-joke.

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#26
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 10:05 AM

I find it very presumptuous of you to try to tell an artist how to produce their art.

"bring it to life" indeed.

Why not show us how you'd do it.

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#30
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 11:41 AM

'Fraid I dissagree... I've posted it so it's open to criticism.
Everyone is entitled to their view (even if it's wrong) and they don't necessarilly need to be able to do it them selves to have the right to criticise.
Pplenty of sports coaches can't perform as well as the people they coach.
It amused me once when I was a school kid, we had some work up on the wall and I was criticising the perpective on one piece, a girl (this was before I'd discovered girls) said to me in a snotty voice "I s'pose you could do better then?"
The guy who painted it leaned over and said to her "As it happens, he could" .
made us both chuckle and put her in her place.
Del

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#31
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 12:05 PM

Magnanimously put.

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#32
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 9:33 PM

Top funny and right to the point . Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

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#33
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/28/2012 7:51 PM

Del,

I just want to acknowledge the objectivity and neutrality of your response to my attempt at a constructive comment about your scupture. Your response is a "breath of fresh air" and I give you a "GA" for it.

Please provide fotos of the final result, but most of all, enjoy the effort for it's own sake.

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#34
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/29/2012 4:04 AM

Cheers,
I think it is finished now (as in those pics), but I may make another in a similar vein, as one is rarely 100% satisfied with any piece. My daughter (who has a degree in fine art.. oooooh) said she though it looks/feels much better in reality to in the photos)
Del

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#35
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/29/2012 6:00 AM

one is rarely 100% satisfied

I thought you rather enjoyed that helicopter jump .

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#11

Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 3:09 AM

Thanks for the interesting comments, its good that some want more arms and action and some less!
My original intention was more action, as in the sketch were you can see the figure extracting the arrow from the quiver drawing and loosing (5 arrow positions are shown).
However there was also the desire for clarity (compare pic 1 vs pic 3) and the 'cave painting' (stick man) fee,l both of which contribute to the finished piece.
I was even undecided about the small detail of adding an arrow to the lower arms/bow, but thought that would make that position look more fixed and static whereas it is merely a step on the journey to the loose, which is a split second away.

Each tiny element is carefully considered, but not in a way that detracts from the spontaneity and freedom of the piece.
That's one of the dilemmas of art.
As an example, consider how difficult it would be to 'copy' the original sketch but with better defined crisper darker lines. It would be hard to clean it up without removing the very things which make it dynamic.
There is no point depicting the actual loose as the only real difference would be the bow limbs starting to recover,the arrow moving and a slight movement of the archers right fingers.
it's all a balancing act and a compromise, tyring to give the impression of what it's like to actually draw and shoot a primitive bow rather than the stiff regimented performance of a target archer.

There is nothing to say that this discussion hasn't made me reconsider, I can easily try adding additional arrows, quiver arms etc. I've already been considering trying to model the complete path of the bow from rest to full draw. There would be a lot of work involved but it would generate an interesting curve.
I've even considered adding extra limbs, bows arrows etc in a transparent material, but I like to maintain the homogeneity of material.

I think the variety of comments nicely illustrates the subjective nature of art.
Del
(Of course, some of you just want scantilly clad lady archers and who can argue with that)

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#18
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 5:18 PM

I am of the KISS school. I think your sculpture captures the essence of the movement, without over-complicating the concept. I especially enjoyed your notes on adhesives. If yew is a naturally oily wood, it would be difficult to find ANY adhesive that would work...

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#17

Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 3:27 PM

Wonderful work of art!!!! congrats.

What kind of automaton were you possibly thinking of? I build a lot of "Auto's" for visual props. (mostly haloween) and may have a few ideas for you.

Lonster

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#19
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/20/2012 6:19 PM

If I tried to do an automaton version it would have to be a very simple single action wire/string which would pull both arms up and back together, pulling the various joints into the right position in sequence (Presumably if they are spring loaded correctly I could get the elbow joint to move then the shoulder), then dropping 'em back. Anything more complex would entail actually shooting the bow with the consequent danger* and reload problem. The head could maybe pop up too from looking down at the arrow being fitted onto the string to the aiming position. I'd prob' use a small electric motor as I have plenty. Don't s'pose i'll get round to it though, too many other projects and it's prob trickier than it at first appears.
Del
*These small scale bows shoot a very light arrow surprisingly fast. (that's one of those miniature drink cans 150ml. The arrow was later fletched with pigeon feather flights).

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#27

Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 10:08 AM

Del,

You have done it again!

I salute your creativity and artistic ability.

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#28
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 11:06 AM

No, don't encourage him ! I am bashing my head on the wall becase it's so good. Damnable cat.

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#29
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Re: Wooden Sculpture of Primitive Archer

07/21/2012 11:33 AM

I can see his tail swishing now.

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