View Full Version : Animal Plaques
05-29-2007, 07:13 PM
Here are some wall plaques I just finished. The animal scenes are all from Vector Art 3D's Animal Collection and carved into hard maple using Vectric's Cut3D. I finished the plaques using shellac and glaze, then inlayed them into oak bases.
05-29-2007, 11:14 PM
Give us some details, man! lol. Tell me (because i don't know), what the "elevations" of these files are? It looks to me because of the different elements in one of these that the deer sits higher than say the grass below him. I realize these were premade but what determines how it is cut so the body is rounded as it protrudes from the surface as opposed to being flat. Is that controlled by the software or is it predetermined by the way the artist sculpts it?
What are the sizes of the carvings and how long did it take to carve those? It looks as if it had pretty nice detail, how do you know when you buy one of these, or make one, what is going to be the best bit to cut with? The finishing is very cool. Next time you stain something like this please take some pictures of the various stages so we can see how better to do it. VERY COOL!!!
05-30-2007, 12:43 PM
I too would like to know more about the finishing process - that seems to be where I have the most problems. What Glaze did you use, where do you get it, and whats the process.
05-30-2007, 07:47 PM
I would be glad to share the finishing details.
For products, I used Zinsser's Seal Coat Shellac and General Finishes' Glaze Effects. Any shellac should work as long as it is dewaxed. This is the first time I've used a glaze and started with the General Finishes product as I use many of their products and like them. It is water based and easy to work with. Here is a link to their webpage if you are interested:
Scroll about half way down the page.
For machining, I used a 1/8" round nose at 8% stepover. Took about 1 1/2 to 2 hours per panel. Did an inital sanding using a sanding mop (highly recommended - not cheap, but a real time saver for 3D work).
For finishing, I started with 3 coats of shellac cut to 1 lb followed by 3 coats straight from the can at 2 lb cut. The 1 lb cut soaks in and drys in minutes giving a good initial seal. The 2 lb coats give a good buildup and produce a nice amber tint. If you wanted a lighter look, you could probably stop here and sand the highpoints to produce the desired depth and 3D effect. Did all the shellac coats in a matter of hours then let them dry overnight.
For the glaze, I applied 2-4 thin coats using a foam paintbrush. Worked it into all the nooks and crannies. Since this was the first time I had used glaze, I experimented with how to remove it in the unwanted areas. I let it dry and then sanded, but found this starting to remove too much detail so didn't continue sanding. Had more success wiping the surface with either a camp sponge or a dry cloth or paper towel while the glaze was still wet. All three produced similar, but slightly different, results so I would encourage you to experiment. The last method I tried and liked the best was let the glaze almost dry (it has a 2-4 hour dry time) and then use a fine or ultra fine synthetic steel wool pad to accent the high points. I felt I had the most control with how much glaze I was removing.
I purchased the Seal Coat at the local Lowes. Just be sure you get the dewaxed Seal Coat and not their Bullseye product which is not dewaxed. I purchased the General Finish glaze at a local Woodcraft store. The General Finish website has a link for looking up dealers in your area.
Hope this helps. I really encourage you to try the glaze, I think you'll be impressed.
05-30-2007, 08:35 PM
I love the way the glaze gets into the cracks and accents the smaller details. 1 to 2 hours seems like a reasonable cutting time. It's hard to tell by looking at the pic but what is the size of the carvings?
05-30-2007, 08:53 PM
The maple inlays are roughly 6x9 inches, the oak plaque is roughly 9 x 12 inches.
05-31-2007, 09:54 AM
Was it the burnt umber glaze?
05-31-2007, 11:10 AM
Sorry, forgot to tell you it was the burnt umber. I also bought the Van Dyke brown but it was darker and I thought the lighter and browner tone of the burnt umber looked better for this application.
05-31-2007, 01:01 PM
Great work Tim,
I have prototypes of a cribbage board in work using the same artwork and similar technique (1/8 ball, 8% stepover) but with maple base and walnut carving. I do some carving tool cleanup (faster than sanding) and then pre-finish sand with 500 grit Aberlon pads. I will have to try the sanding mop and compare time and results. Your shellac method sounds much easier than my multi coat multi day Tung oil process, and your glaze adds a depth I don't get. Thanks for the pictures and the details.
05-31-2007, 03:25 PM
I put the following response together when a member of the Vetric forum asked about the sanding mop I used. I'll repeat it here - it may help you pick one out to try:
I bought my sanding mop from Klingspor. Here is the link:
http://www.woodworkingshop.com/cgi-bin/48077002/mac/additmdtl.mac/showItemDetail?item=FS99220&qtyA=0&phsO=N&desc=2X6 %20GOLD%20220%20GRIT%20SANDING%20MOP%20KIT&drpshp= N&alOrd=Y&iQty=.000&oQty=.000&initQty=1&assortPare nt=K&itemForSale=Y&styleName=&fixD=&face=.00&gftc= &stck=Y&prefS=&calledFrom=DS&ordInfo1=&ordInfo2=&o rdInfo3=&ordMan1=N&ordMan2=N&ordMan3=N&persCode=&p ersReqd=&persLink=%20&shipRemaining=0&daysBetween= 0&daysBetweenFix=0&monthsBetween=0
Wow, what a link. If that doesn't work, go to Klingspor's website and do a search for item #FS99220 . It is described as "2X6 GOLD 220 GRIT SANDING MOP KIT " and currently sells for $48.95. The link to Klingspor's home page is:
I can't say its good for all applications. I decided to try one and figured the 220 grit would be slower at removing material but that would effectively give me more control. I think the 220 grit was good for this project but found it too fine when I made the sample leaf bowl that was associated with the release of Cut3D.
I have tried other ones that are only 1/4" to 1/2" thick and didn't get good results. I think action of the 2" thick one helps.
I use it in a floor drill press running at low to medium speed.
Hope this helps,
06-10-2007, 04:48 PM
Here are a few more I just finished. Tried veneering walnut on maple for the otters and then used the texture feature in VCarve Pro to make the base of the other three appear hand carved.
06-10-2007, 11:45 PM
The devil is in the details....that is beautiful. Did you take any pictures of the various stages of the project? What are the deminsions? How long did each one take? re: the fish/frog carving, the edges don't look like sharp 90 degree cuts and almost like a soft drape is over the edge. Is that the way the carving came or did you do that? I'm still amazed at the quality of the finished product. They are truly a beautiful piece of art. You must like animals, or do you have a clientele for that type of carving? If you were to sell something like that, what would it sell for? GOOD JOB!
06-11-2007, 06:59 AM
I don't have pictures of the process and probably will not take them. I normally have 3 to 4 projects going on at a time and keep very busy while the ShopBot is running.
These plaques were larger than the first set. The images themselves are 12-15 inches in their long dimension.
I roughed with a 5/16" down spiral at 2 ips and the average time was around 30 minutes. All final passes were with a 1/8" round nose, 8% stepover, at 2 ips which took between 2 and 2.5 hours each. The hand carved texture was done using a 1" round nose at 2.5 ips using the texturing feature in VCarve Pro.
All the images were from Vector Art 3D's Animal Collection and the design you asked about is their "recessed" style. Go to their website and click on any image and you can see examples of the 3 styles they offer. After doing all 3 styles I like the recess the best for achieving a rustic look.
I haven't tried to sell any yet. So far I've given all away to friends or family. I live in an area where wood crafts are a big hit and thought the animal images would be popular. If I did sell them, I would probably do it through one of the many craft/gift shops in the area and would rely on the shop owner to help me price. I doubt if I could get a price that would equate to the machine and finishing time. But it would be cost effective to use as a fill in - let the machine carve while I do something else. I am not a production shop and still use traditional woodworking tools more than the ShopBot, so it may spend days without use.
06-12-2007, 08:38 AM
My variation on the theme. It's symetrical, but resizing removes the subtle shading on the edges. So far lots of interest but no sales. Time will tell.
06-12-2007, 11:24 AM
Looks great Jim. I'm sure someone will grab it soon. That should be a popular scene in your area.
Your finish looks good. Did you use your own technique or follow what I did? What are the woods you used?
06-12-2007, 11:50 AM
It's a hybred approch, with some ideas I already had and the glaze effect I adapted from your work. Since I was half done on a poly finish when you posted, I used a colored wax (Rockler)for darkening the deep areas. That really pulled out the detail. Next time I will try using shellack and glaze, which should help the finish time.
I pre-glued either walnut on maple or the pictured Aromatic red cedar on maple. After roughing with 1/4 end mill and beveling with 90V, both the carving and holes are cut with 1/8 ball.
Im my area anything related to hunting or beer can command a price far different from the more mundaine.
06-12-2007, 06:15 PM
Very Nice gentlemen, these just command ones attention and surely will be saleable. Just need to do the marketing, selling, and hold the line on your price. Your work is worth it so don't give it away. Juts go where the money is.
Best of luck and keep it up.
06-12-2007, 07:23 PM
Awesome Tim, I love them. i just finished my first 3D carving. I will post photo soon. Question for you. i used close to the same bits and parameters, but my carving took forever. 6 hours for rough and 9 hours for finish. It was a bit larger (19" x 19"). Any input why. What could have caused it to take that much longer. ALso, how much finish sanding did you do? Yours look real smooth. Mine came out pretty good, but did have very fine grooves I had to sand out.
06-12-2007, 08:29 PM
I swear it make me want to learn cribbage just to use one!
06-13-2007, 01:47 AM
Jeff, some things you may experiment with to reduce the roughing machine time would be stepover, pass depth, bit diameter (obvious tradeoffs here), feed rate and plunge rate. With the detail of the 3D images, I'm not sure the machine achieves high feed rates much considering ramping and all, but I keep mine around 2 ips.
With the finishing pass I have found 7 to 8% stepover to be very smooth and require minimal sanding. This I normally do with a sanding mop I purchased from Klingspor (see May 31 post above). Besides using the sanding mop, I have found flexible sandpapers, steel wool (both metal and synthetic) and miniature scrapers do a good job at any problem areas.
As far as using a small stepover, which translates to longer machine time, I'd rather have longer machine time than spend more time hand sanding.
I tried 3 or 4 different brands of 1/8" round nose bits before settling on CMT's for giving me the best cut without leaving a deep line down the center of each path. These may be the grooves you are referring to, and they take forever to sand out. If the bit you are making is leaving them, then your stepover value won't help much.
Your carving was also much larger than mine, which adds a lot of area and time.
One question for you is what file format are you using? I found out (With Tony's help at Vetric) that .STL files will calculate the finish path for the entire image size. not just what has to be carved. An example would be the Grizzly image above. Only the center has to be machined, but the actual image is a square or rectangle that is larger than the grizzly. If I had used the .STL file for this, the toolpath would have covered the entire rectangular area and this would have added considerable machining time even though the bit would have been traveling at zero cutting depth. However, if you have purchased from Vector Art 3D and have their .V3M file format, they have added border information into the image file, and the software will only calculate a finish tool path for what has to be machined. I'm finding this hard to explain, but if you have an image in both file types, compare the finish tool paths that the software previews. Tony said this border information cannot be added into a .STL file while maintaining an industry standard format.
06-13-2007, 03:29 AM
I am pretty sure I got the .V3M format. But now Im not sure. I'll have to check because one thing I forget to mention is I did notice that much of the roughing pass during the last couple passes, did not cut anything. I know you mentioned the finish pass, but is it the same for the rouging pass? During the finish pass, it, went through the entire image.
06-13-2007, 05:51 AM
For Style B (dish) and Style C (recess) the roughing pass should only remove material over the image because it is only cutting where there is material to remove up to the pass depth. For Style A, the roughing pass could cover the entire surface, depending on the image.
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