Saturday, September 16, 2023

Slide of the Month Extra: Suanhacky


September 2023

Time to make: 5 hours

Finishing: 1.5 hour

Original design:  Bill Macfarlane

You won't find this slide in my collection...but I thought this good opportunity to talk about my process of making a slide. 

Background: I was looking at a group I follow on Facebook called Scout Woggles which is a great place to see what other slide makers are doing. I love seeing the creativity  there and and it really inspires me. I happened upon an interesting request from one of it's members. (The picture from the post above.)

" Can anyone do a woggle based upon just the stagg and arrow, with the lodge name?"

"Maybe..." I answered as I wondered how I could make such a slide.  I see lots of problems making a slide like this with the antlers and arrow being the real week points. Oh and those bent  front legs are another place that could easily snap off. A couple of days went by thinking how to make the body with me sketching out some awful designs. What I ended up deciding on was to blow up the picture to a large enough size that I could carve while  being small enough to actually wear as a neckerchief slide.

Next I needed to find a piece of wood strong enough to keep the legs from breaking off. Looking though my wood, I found a piece and knew, from another slide I'd made, this was a very hard piece of maple. I glued the design to the block of wood and set off to the bandsaw. With the basic outline of the deer accomplished, it was time to carve. A couple of hours later, I had this

I tested the legs and they seemed to sturdy enough to move ahead some with sanding. 

The next step was to figure out what to do with the antlers and arrow. Wood was not a possibility as because of the small diameter necessary, the wood would be too brittle and if accidently bumped  would break. Maybe 3D printed as it would be easy to produce but still kind of brittle. Wire could work but how to make the different split offs and tines. Latex? Sculpey clay? Aluminum foil? My breakthrough came as I was watching a video on making wound wire jewelry. I have some thin copper wire around for electronic work and came up with a plan. Using 12 strands of the bare wire, I began twisting the wire together  until I came to the first split off. Removing 4 strands from the bundle, I twisted them to form the first split off the separated 2 wires, from the 4 strands, to twist the tines.  I repeated the last steps with the next splitoff/tines till I had formed the antlers. I trimmed off the excess wire and bent the antlers the way I thought they should look. To give the antlers some body, I used a modelers trick. I coated the antlers with super glue then sprinkled baking soda on them. The baking soda instantly cures the super glue and adds some body.

The arrow was made from some aluminum wire and  some flat aluminum scrap. Starting with the front of the arrow, I cut a slot into the aluminum wire to receive the arrow head. The arrow head was made using a sharp chisel and hammer to cut out an arrowhead from the flat aluminum scrap. I then super glued the arrow head into the shaft. I used a bit more super glue and baking power  on the arrowhead to give it a stone look.

 For the other side of the arrow, I cut the wire at the end leaving about 1/3 of the wire to accept the fletching. To make the fletching, I first wanted to make the veins of the fletching and to do this I held the flat aluminum with a pair of needle nose pliers then hit the pliers with a hammer a few times. The serration in the jaws of the needle nose pliers cut into the aluminum leaving me with the lines I wanted to represent the veins. Using the same method as the arrow head, I cut out the shape for the fletching using the sharp chisel. The fletching was then super glued to the shaft.

With all the pieces built, I drilled holes in the body to accept the antlers and arrow.

There was a bit more sanding and shaping to do before I started painting but most of the slide was painted with hobby paints. The arrow was painted with a special paint suited for metal.

After super gluing the antlers and arrow in place, I gave the slide a couple coats of Minwax Polycrylic to seal the paint (and it gives it a nice shine). 

Lettering by hand is a painstaking nightmare so like many of my projects, I use my laptop with MS word to design the decals I use on a slide.  I'll set up a bunch on a test page using different fonts in different sizes, cut them out, and hold them up to the slide to see which is best. Once I find the one I like, I delete the rest and print several of right size on a piece of water slide paper. The best way I can describe this stuff is like having your own custom decals. Once printed on my inkjet printer, I spray the decals with a couple of coats of Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic spray. When dry, I cut the decals to size, dip them in water and slip the decal from the backing onto the slide.

One last coat of the Polycrylic to seal everything together and it was ready to ship off to the Scouter who had asked.

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