Wooden Horse head Decoration:
This is a attractive little carving project, about the "Advanced Beginner" level. If it is your first project, simplify the detail a bit, and you will still have a good carving.
Print a copy of the full scale plans that are included. You can find them HERE .Hopefully you were able to print a copy of the plans. The horse head should be 3 1/2 inches high but if it is a little bigger, or smaller, don't worry about it. You will just have a more unique carving.
Copy the plans onto 3/4 inch softwood, pine is nice to work with for your first carving. If you have more experience you may wish to try a hardwood, like black walnut or maple. If you are really interested, make two walnut and two maple, then you have a good start on a chess set! Be sure that the grain of the wood is running vertical on the pattern. Note in the photo above that the lines of the grain of the wood are mostly in an "up and down" direction. Also, the grain should run the "length" of the oval base. Tip:. If you can find old fashioned Carbon Paper, you can trace the pattern onto your wood with it. However, a method that I prefer is to place your pattern on the wood, hold it steady, and poke a pin, or sharp nail, thru the pattern, into the wood, in a few places around the edge. Now take a nice pencil and learn to draw on your wood by "connecting the dots". If your pattern is slightly different, redraw it a little until you are pleased with the lines. Change it a bit and make the pattern "Yours"!
Cut the pieces out of the wood. If you wish you may review HOW2 WOOD for cutting instructions. A power Scroll Saw is the best tool to cut these out, however, because we are going to carve all the outside surfaces, we don't need a real "neat" cut. In the photo above, right, this horse head was cut with a large band saw and note that it is a little rough on the outside. If you wish to cut this out using your HSRT, with a Cutting Guide and Spiral Saw accessory, be sure to copy the pattern on to a large enough piece of wood that you are able to clamp it down securely. Cut all the detail (curves and stuff) on the top of the horse head, then make a final straight cut at the base of the neck, to cut the horse head free of the wood. When cutting the detail it is OK to leave some material (wood) on the outside of the pattern line, but try not to cut inside the lines.
Sand the bottom of the neck flat. Set the horse head on the base. If it "rocks" or if there are any gaps, it must be sanded to a good fit. Use your large drum sander with a #60 grit sanding sleeve (sometimes called "sanding bands") to remove any "high spots". Tip:. In woodworking, there is always a place for a little "hand" work. Even a HSRT can't do it all! Cut a block of 3/4in. pine about 2in. x 3in. and glue a piece of #100 grit sandpaper on one face of it. Use your drum sander to remove all the sharp corners on the other side and now you have a Sanding Block. Use it to put the final flat sanding on the bottom of the horse head, and, it will be useful for lots of other things too!
Glue the horse head to the base. Use a good quality wood glue, let it "soak" into the bottom of the horse head a little, then align it with the center of the oval base and set it in place. Clamping should not be necessary, just let it sit for a couple of hours (overnight is best) and the glue should be dry enough to continue.
Draw some guidelines to help in carving. Try to "visualize" the finished horse head, inside the rough block. Refer to the photos above. Remember that we are going to carve away about 50% of the wood and these lines are just approximations to get us started. See the first photo, below.
Carve the areas of the guidelines and remove the rough edges. (Step two, in photos above) A "drum" shaped high-speed steel cutter, like Dremel (tm) #115 or #196 works well for this, however as you practice you will find the type of cutter that works best for your style of carving. Turn your piece often and try to work all sides to the same degree of "finish".
Carve in the rough detail. (Step three, above) Look at your carving and sketch in more guidelines if you feel that you need them. Otherwise, continue shaping the horse. Finish it as well as you can with the large cutter, but note that it is still pretty rough.
Sand to final size. (Step four, above). Use the 1/2in. sanding drum with #60 grit to bring all accessible areas down to finished size. Switch to the 1/4in. drum for more detail.
Engrave the fine detail. (Step five, above). A "triangle" shaped cutter like the Dremel (tm) #125 is handy for cutting the lines in the mane. Carefully place the side of the cutter in position and then "pull" it backwards (towards you), so that the point leaves a fine line in the wood. A small ball-shaped engraving cutter can be used for additional detail, eyes, nose, etc.
Finish your carving with a final light sanding with #120 and #240 grit. You may wish to go back and touch up the detail a bit.
Polish your carving. You have a wide choice in how to finish your carving. Painting, or stain and varnish, are two options, and many people like to leave them "natural". Tip:. Shoe Polish! Use a Polishing Cloth accessory (Dremel (tm) #423) in your HSTR, run it as slow as possible and dip the edge of the cloth wheel into old fashioned wax shoe polish. Brown or reddish-brown looks great! Increase speed a little, to about 10,000 rpm and apply the cloth wheel to your carving. Use gentle pressure, with the grain as much as you can, and work from right to left (same as sanding). A great finish, too easy!