Sunday, March 31, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 144




I mentioned several ways I could fix my mistake, and the way I chose was to put a piece of water-saturated plaster over the too large hip socket hole, then melt and pour carving wax into the torso, tilting the torso so the molten carving wax would fill the socket hole. Carving wax can be melted and poured into a mold. The mold, in this case, is the carving wax torso. The principle I am using is: Water and Wax do not mix. In this photo, I am soaking a piece of plaster in water. The plaster absorbs water, releasing air bubbles as it sucks up the water. When no more air bubbles are released, the plaster is completely saturated. Click on any image to enlarge it.






While the plaster is sucking up water, I melt some carving wax for the pour. I am using some of the carving wax that I have been trimming from the torso. These small pieces of carving wax melt quickly. It is important to remember to turn off the wax pot and disconnect it from the electrical outlet when I am finished.






I used a large rubber band to fasten the piece of water-saturated plaster over the hip socket hole.






When the carving wax melted, I poured it from the wax pot into the torso, then tilted the torso over so that the molten wax went into the socket hole. Some carving wax leaked out, but not much. The cool, water-saturated piece of plaster caused it to solidify. I let the carving wax cool down and set up. Easy.






This is what my hip socket patch looks like. Now I am ready to try again.






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Saturday, March 30, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 143






I made a mistake. I try my best to not make any mistakes, because my doll-making time is so valuable. However, I must admit that every once in a while, a mistake creeps in; and even though it is hard for me to swallow, I must eat it. In this case, I made the hip socket hole for the right leg too big. The hip ball is 75mm in diameter, and I got so busy moving the socket hole, that I did not realize I was using a 75mm matte board circle as a socket hole template instead of a 70mm circle. It took me awhile to realize that the socket hole I was carving was too big because I just wasn't thinking while I was working. I just kept adding carving wax with my wax pen, subtracting carving wax with my paring knife, and checking my progress with the wrong size circle. In the photo below, the right hip socket has had the 70mm matte board ring removed, and as can be seen, was moved and made 75mm in diameter. It should be 70mm in diameter, like the left leg socket, which still has the matte board ring attached. Click on the image to enlarge it.



There are several things I can do to fix this. One of the easiest things would be for me to cast a slab of carving wax in a water-saturated plaster bat, then cut out a 75mm circle from the slab of carving wax and weld it into the leg socket. Then I could position the new 70mm socket hole and cut it out. I could also put a water-saturated block of plaster over the socket hole, then pour molten carving wax in the torso, and tilt the torso so that the molten carving wax would fill the hole. I could also weld some scrap pieces of carving wax around the inside of the socket hole, making it smaller, but that might take more time than the other two methods? Whatever. This is a minor setback. The wonderful thing about making my own doll is: if I break it, I can usually fix it. It just takes time.




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Friday, March 29, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 142




This is a turn-around of the lower torso with the recently made hip sockets and hip balls. This turn-around shows me that the hip sockets need to go back several millimeters. Click on any image to enlarge it.






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Thursday, March 28, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 141




I positioned the 70mm matte board rings on the lower torso's hip sockets. Then I used my wax pen to add carving wax, where needed, and my paring knife to subtract carving wax where needed. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I used a pair of dividers and triangulation to position the matte board rings on the lower torso.






I used a hole cutter to cut a hole in the hip joint ball.






The hole is nice and clean.






I used my paring knife to cut off the excess carving wax, leaving both hip joint balls with a flat bottom that sits on a table very nicely.






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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 140




I filled in the bottom of the carving wax ring I did yesterday. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I use my wax pen and a stick of carving wax to fill the bottom of the carving wax ring. Then I use my paring knife to trim it.






This is a bottom view of both hip balls with the filled carving wax rings.






Here is a hip ball on top of the right leg, showing a front and a side view.






My idea is that I can now adjust the hip ball from side-to-side, and forwards and backwards in order to place it exactly where I want it on the leg, without having to carve the top of the leg exactly where I want it. I have no idea if this will work, or not. As usual, I am experimenting, and trying different things, to see what will work.






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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 139




I use thumbtacks to pin the matte board ring to the carving wax ring. Then I use my paring knife to trim the I.D. of the carving wax ring even with the inside diameter of the matte board ring. I simply remove one thumbtack at a time when I come to it, so I can trim under the head of the thumbtack, then I replace it. Click on any image to enlarge it.






Now both of the legs are at about the right height, measured against my working drawing.






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Monday, March 25, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 138






I pinned a matte board ring to a carving wax ring, then trimmed the carving wax to the inside diameter of the matte board ring, which is 70mm, or one third of the diameter of the hip joint ball. Click on any image to enlarge it.






Now I know for sure that the ball is one third into the upper leg. I checked the height of the ball against my working drawing, using my wooden pottery calipers. It is getting very close now.



Next, I will try to do the same thing to the other leg.




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Sunday, March 24, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 137




I did some wax pen welding on the ring, including adding some carving wax sticks to make it rounder. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I think my wax pen welds are getting better.






I taped a dental tool with a sharp point to my paring knife. I added a couple of popsicle sticks under the knife handle to bring the point of the dental tool to about the halfway point of the ring, then scribed a line all the way around. I could also have used stacks of various coins to do the same thing.






I used my paring knife to cut through the ring, along the scribed line. It took more than one pass to cut all the way through. Each pass cut a little bit deeper. I did this very carefully.






This is what I have to work with now.






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Saturday, March 23, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 136




I took the 70mm I.D. matte board rings and tried them out on top of the legs. Hmmm... not a great fit, yet. In this photo I am looking down on the legs which are standing upright on the feet. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I set my wooden pottery calipers on my working drawing, from the bottom of the feet to the top of the hip joint ball, then compared that measurement to the legs with the balls on them. Hmmm... they appear to be too short.






I am welding the carving wax I cut off the legs together. My idea is to cut them in half and add some length to the upper legs. OMG... I love my carving wax so much. It makes doing these kinds of modifications so easy..






I will also need to work on the inside diameter. These matte board rings have been very helpful. I am beginning to see why Martha Armstrong-Hand suggested using rings when designing the joints.



Even though this section of the process is labeled 08 Joint Design, it is really a combination of 07 Carving Wax and 08 Joint Design. I continue to work with the carving wax as described in 07 Carving Wax as I am designing the joints. There is not a cut and dried division between the two. In 07 Carving Wax, the recipe for carving wax, as well as some tools used to work with carving wax, and some methods for actually working with it are mentioned.

The actual working with carving wax involves designing the joints, test-stringing the doll, then refining the carving wax to the desired final finish. Once refined, the carving wax doll parts are used as the patterns for making the final BJD production molds, which may be made of plaster of Paris for slip casting, or silicone rubber for polyurethane resin casting.

I am subscribed to several BJD-making forums, and I see many work-in-progress BJDs being made with a variety of materials. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages that I see with many of the popular use-once modeling materials, such as air-dry stone clay (LaDoll, Premier, DAS, etc.), polymer clay (Super Sculpey, FIMO, Cernit, etc.), epoxy clay (Apoxie, etc.), is that they are very expensive to purchase and use over the duration of an artist's studio lifetime. Also, from what I have seen, these modeling materials have a fairly steep learning curve for beginning figure modelers.

Martha Armstrong-Hand recommended oil-clay for beginners because it is easy to model, does not dry out, does not harden, and is reusable. Furthermore, an oil-clay that is sulfur-free may be used for making the clay build-up for mold-making. While one of the advantages of the above mentioned use-once modeling materials is that a One-Of-A-Kind BJD may be made without needing to make molds; one of the disadvantages of using oil-clay as the original modeling material is that molds must be made in order to translate the oil-clay into carving wax.

Oil-clay is too soft to test-string, or refine to a high surface finish, so it must be translated into carving wax. Personally, I do not see this as much of a disadvantage because I already have some experience with the Craft Skill of mold making.

An artist or crafts-person makes molds for several reasons, including; making a record of a work-in-progress, translating one material into another, or reproducing a figure multiple times. With Martha's Method, all three of these reasons are used for making molds.

In the end, having to make molds of a figure is a disadvantage because a new Craft Skill must be learned (if not already known), and an extra step must be made, to translate the soft oil-clay figure into a carving wax figure that may be test-strung and highly refined for use as a pattern for the final production molds. However, because oil-clay and carving wax are reusable, it is economically and ecologically worth it to me to use them, even though the extra step must be made, and the extra Craft Skill must be learned.




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Friday, March 22, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 135




I sanded the right arm with some rough sandpaper. The left arm below it needs some sharp edges removed. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I removed the sharp edges with my paring knife. I also used my wax pen to fill in some ares, which then had the excess carving wax removed with the paring knife.






Finally, I sanded the left arm with some rough sandpaper.


The actual work is practice, practice and more practice: adding, subtracting, and smoothing repeatedly.~ Martha Armstrong-Hand



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Thursday, March 21, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 134




I only had a few minutes to work on my doll today, so I picked up and worked on the inside of the right arm a little bit. I did not turn my wax pen on. I used my paring knife to scrape down some sharp edges. Click on any image to enlarge it.






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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 133




I sanded the right side of the torso under the arm socket with a piece of 60 grit sandpaper. This is a very rough grit of sandpaper, so I sand lightly. The effect is similar to using a rake on an oil-clay figure. Low spots show up easily. Click on any image to enlarge it.






The left side of the torso is not as bad as the right was.






I used my paring knife to scrape off carving wax where needed.






I used the piece of 60 grit sandpaper to lightly sand the left side of the torso. It is obvious where I need to add some carving wax.



Eventually, the whole carving wax doll will be sanded with this rough grade of sandpaper, the low areas filled, then the excess carving wax scraped away. After that, a finer grade of sandpaper will be used to erase the marks left by the rough grade of sandpaper, and so on. I probably will not get around to doing that until the doll has been completely jointed and test-strung.




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