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.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Grind and stain

Covered head to toe including safety glasses, a hat and a resperator, I used a few different tools to grind down the undesirable bits of the cured fiberglass.

After everything was gound down I followed the same method as before for painting: Flat black then rolled on white.

I decided that the white was still a bit too white so I lathered on some yellowy/browny wood stain.

I let Slim bask in the sun to dry the stain.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bending legs and more fiberglass

Since the post holes (in the metal and concrete foundation) are set at four feet and the hips are only three feet wide I needed to make two bends in the legs. I used a 12 ton pipe bender for this.

Once I was satisfied with the bends I temporarily set the legs and hips in place. I was pretty happy with the fit.

Fiber-glassing the arms and chest plate started off as a procedure of measuring, mixing, daubing, brushing and applying. Over the next few hours this eroded into squirting, sloshing, smearing, swearing and shoving. Although Connie and I were very ‘done’ with the fiberglassing process at the end of the day, the pieces came out pretty well.

To arms! To arms!!

Since one of the arms will need to be wired to accommodate low-voltage landscape lights I opted to make it out of ½” steel pipe and rebar in a truss configuration (sort of like the way a construction crane is made). 

When it was all welded together I ran the wire through the arm and zip-tied the end of the wire to the index finger.  

To ensure the knuckles looked like knuckles I cut pieces of PVC pipe and taped them to the joints.  

That done I covered the whole thing in expanding foam, let it cure, 

and proceeded to carve away the parts that didn’t look like a skeletal arm. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Chest Plate

When I made the first reaper I wanted to make sure that the end-product didn’t look like a tent with a skull on it, so I added a an aesthetic rib-cage (a chest plate) to the front.  This was something that I had been thinking about for a while but didn’t have any real plans for.  I ended up spending an hour or so drywall-screwing and duct taping together some PVC pipe and sheet metal.  The end result was passable, and I liked the effect, but it was not my best work.

The new chest plate needed to be light-weight and durable so I went with fiberglass over foam.  To get the correct, scale shape I used my life-sized plastic skeleton and a ruler and made a drawing on my shop floor (scaled up, of course) using sidewalk chalk.  I then covered the drawing with plastic wrap and duplicated the shape in expanding foam.

Once the foam was cured I pulled off the plastic wrap and carved off the non-rib-cage-looking bits.  Since the foam ribs were so thin and would not keep the intended shape I needed to hold them in shape while the fiberglass was applied.  I used a piece of galvanized sheet metal bowed across a trashcan.  I duct-taped down the ribs (I should have used masking tape) and started the fiberglass.  Having learned my lesson last time I opted to do the work in the open air of the driveway rather than inside the shop. 

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Hands

After a scale drawing I cut out pieces of 3/8th inch rebar to make the basic shape and welded it together.

I notched the fingers at the joints then used a piece of pipe to bend them to the right angle. After the bends were the way I wanted them I welded them in place.

More rebar for the wrists...