Woodburn Realistic Fur

Techniques

Woodburn Realistic Fur

Woodburning caught my attention at the first woodcarving show I participated in, back in 1982.

At this particular show there were two sections, one for the carvers of birds, and the other reserved for miscellaneous carvings.

I had brought an array of wildlife carvings done in natural wood, most in walnut. Some of the pieces were in other woods embellished with paint.

In my college years as an art major, I had always been interested in doing pen/ink drawings. Woodburning struck me as a way of incorporating something similar into the 3D realm and being more permanent. In looking at the birds, it struck me that I could use the burner to give the animals the fur effect that was missing from what I had brought to the show.

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Step 1: Transfer the pattern to the basswood carving egg or blank. Use carbon paper, and trace the details onto the egg.

Step 2: Carve to shape using the tools of your choice.


Super-Small-Point-TipStep 3:
Add tiny hair texture to the paws, face, ears, and tip of tail with the woodburner. Hold the burner pen at the same angle you would hold a pencil. Using the super small point, push the point up and down, like you are coloring with a crayon (See Figure A & C on the texture board).This gives the illusion of hair growing from the skin up.Try not to create parallel lines. In general, the angle of your pen will fluctuate between 65° to 90°.

Step 4: Use a pencil to draw in fur-flow lines. Then go over the pencil lines with a 1⁄8″-diameter rotary disk to just touch the surface at a 35° angle. DO NOT carve in parallel lines!


Tight-Round-TipStep 5:
Add a heavier texture to the remainder of the mouse using a tight round woodburner tip.The tight round tip lets you create separate strands of hair. Cross over the high areas to refine the texture— using your pencil lines as a guide (see Figure B & D on the texture board). Don’t burn where the fur will be layered (see Step 6).

Step 6: Layer the fur where there is an overlay, curl or separation (such as joints and where the mouse’s limbs overlap). Using the unburned space around these places, curve your burned lines. Start your burn in the unburned area and curve your stroke into the burned area.When complete, the mouse should look like Figure AB on the texture board.


Writing-Point-TipStep 7:
Contour the nose pad area by dotting it with a writing or signature tip.

Step 8: Clean the burned area with a defuzzing pad or brass brush. This will take off the wood fibers that will show up after painting. It will also remove any charcoaled areas left by a too hot burner tip!

Tips Materials and Tools
Getting the Right Temperature
Use higher burner heat to enhance the heavy fur burning areas. But be careful not to use too much heat—otherwise paintabsorbing carbon will build up! If you feel friction and have to force the pen to get the desired depth, the temperature is set too cold. If the tip goes in too deeply and the wood yellows on either side of the cut, the temperature is set too hot!
MATERIALS
Goose-sized basswood egg or 2″ x2″ x 31⁄2″
basswood blank
Acrylic paints of choiceTOOLS
Adjustable, wire-tip woodburner
Woodburner tips: super small point, small
writing, & tight round
Hand carving tools of choice
Pencil
Rotary carver with a 1⁄8″-diameter rotary disk

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