What's all this, then?

Each Halloween season, when the Greenwood Reaper inhabits my yard, people ask me “How did you make it?” and “What is it made from?”.

Since I’m making a bigger and better reaper I figured I’d make this blog to answer those questions. This is also a way for interested parties to ask questions and see the progress of the project.

The only regular time I spend building is on the week-ends, so it’s likely posts will appear early in the week.

The posts appear with the newest on top, so if you're new to the sight scroll to the bottom to read the beginning.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Carving the foam

Carving polyurethane foam is pretty easy (compared to other carving mediums like wood or stone). I started off using a keyhole saw to open up the nasal passage and eliminate the obvious globs. That done, I used the scale drawings to guide me. I actually taped the drawings directly to the piece and lifted them long enough to carve and cut.

After a short time I realized that I had not built up the foam thick enough in many places. Simple enough to resolve, just add more foam.

Once the second coat of foam had cured I went back to the cutting and carving. When I needed to shave down areas I’d use a wood rasp/shaver-thing. Turns out that many tools made for woodworking work well on foam.

When I got the main lines of the skull formed I removed the scale drawings and used a realistic-looking plastic skull as reference and carved in as many small details as I could.

Tip: Another tool that came in very handy for carving the foam was a cheap butcher’s knife that I got from a thrift store.

The mess: The worst part of the carving part of the project was the mess and the clean-up. The bits of foam from the carving were light and wisped around very easily. Additionally the little bits were very static-ey, they stuck to everything. I regularly left a very clear trail of foam bits leading from my workshop, up the basement stairs, into the hallway, across the dining room…

My wife was none too happy about it.

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