This was supposed to be a simple silhouette for a weather vane. Thinking back it must have been a caffeine buzz that influenced events. A silhouette would have been too easy right? I started thinking if I just do this or that and round this and make a few tail feathers…it’ll be easy. So what if I give the customer a baker’s dozen! The next thing I knew I was calling the owner to see if they still wanted it. It was much more than they had ordered. Somewhere in the discussion they got the idea it was free. Not only did I not get paid for a 3D rooster, I didn’t get paid for the weather vane price either. It’s been on top of their refrigerator ever since. Fortunately this has become one of my best selling sculptures.
Cowboy & Cowgirl Children
This project was for the 2014 Hardtimes Bluegrass Festival.
A hair salon had ordered a metal frame to hold their sign. My idea for the frame was to have a girl with fancy hair looking into a mirror. The first thing I did was cut some scrap 16ga.sheet metal approx. 3′ x12″ to 20”and freehand plasma cut those into long narrow strips leaving a portion on one end attached. I then curled each “hair” with vise grips. Starting with the longer hair first then to shorter sections, I welded them all to a larger piece of 16ga. which had been cut similar to the small ones. This larger piece had the edges “curled” but enough solid area in the center to weld the individual pieces to. As I was on a tight budget, this was all done quickly. Her butt was also made from scrap 16ga. I used a block of firewood for an anvil. This shape did not require plans or blueprints. That shape had been burned into my brain somehow in the past. That piece was welded to the hair at the belt line. After I had welded everything together I took some wire and fashioned a hanger. I hung her on the wall and stepped back to take a look. She was really sexy, so I called the customer up and had him come to my shop for a look. He said she was too sexy and that she could offend their older customers and that he didn’t want her. The very next guy that visited my shop bought her. Afterwards the salon owner’s wife saw the girl and wanted her also. She couldn’t believe it when I told her it had already been sold. Since that time I have expanded this idea with her either holding a Wine or Champagne bottle & glasses.
This sculpture was commissioned by a sportsman as a gift to a rancher who had granted him permission to hunt. After setting a budget he just turned me loose. Modern ranching is tough enough even without environmentalists and mad cow scares. When I think of hard times ranching, I think of Charlie Russell’s “Last of The 5000”. Forging a sick looking steer seemed like the perfect job for me.
I forged a head, body, two front legs and two hindquarters and welded them all together. A scrap piece of ½” plate was formed to make the snow base and they were fastened to an old fence post.
Indian Buffalo Hunting
I knew it was a little ambitious to try this, at least on the budget I had to work with. Plan A was to take plasma cut silhouettes and pound some detail into them and call ‘em good. The next thing I knew the project had become three-dimensional. I forged the buffalo’s head from a 2”x3”x5” billet of mild steel. There is a left and right side, front legs, and hindquarters all welded together. The horse was done basically the same way.
These started out as individual trophies for a Logger Days Contest. I used scrap metal from a bankrupt sawmill to build them. The trunks were four segments of steel cable forge welded together. The limbs were from worn out chainsaw chain. The base was ½” plate and the rocks were made from a hinge pin from a loader.
Pine Cone Bookends
Pie Contest TrophyA local lady was running a pie-baking contest and suckered me into making a trophy for it. Some of the women around here really seem to know the nuts and bolts of pie baking so it made sense to build a slice of pie of the same. There is even an old monkey wrench and some cable clamps in the filling. Only three pies were entered into the contest, one of which my wife baked in an effort to win the trophy. She didn’t win.
Logger Days TrophyA local group was starting a Logger Days weekend to promote the positive side of the timber industry. In a weak moment I decided to donate a traveling trophy to them. I turned the peavey handles on a $100.00 wood lathe. All the other pieces made from scrap. The logger was my first attempt at sculpture, so don’t look too closely at him.
This was one of those projects that seemed to design its self. I didn’t think there was enough room for everything the lady wanted. I started working without completely visualizing where I was headed. First thing was to frame the mirror. I used 3/8 x 2” flat that had been distressed with hammered edges. To fancy things up a bit I used some old silo bands for the friendship knot and those bands met, twisted and then were drawn out to create a mounting point for the cowboy and cowgirl statues. The light bar has mica lenses. Since I was building this for a ranch I decided to incorporate a fence into the design. Silo bands were forged down to make the fence rails. Barbed wire was woven around to create the look of pucker brush. There had been no discussion of what I would build for this art scene. It turns out that when the lady of the house was a child she was running from her dad to avoid a spanking. She dove through the rails of the fence just as her dad was about to catch her. Seeing the light bar reminded her of this comical moment with her dad.
Years ago a customer ordered a wrought iron picture frame with wolf tracks stamped into it. After the project was done, it bothered me to see the track stamp tool sitting idle for years at a time. There had to be another use for it. One day I grabbed a piece of scrap metal, stamped a track into it and polished it up. Calling it a trivet I donated it to a group for an fundraising auction. It was a hit and brought strong money. I now make Wolf, Mt Lion, Grizzly, Bison, Elk & Moose tracks. The stands are made from old railroad spikes. Because of their popularity we now offer them in rustic frames.
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