Pan in Red Porphyry (1) (video)

block of porphyry for plaster image of Panwooden frame for plaster model. for Pan sculpture in porphyry

Resumed

I finally continued with my plaster statue of Pan (read here more about it). After much doubt about a beautiful red block of granite it ultimately became a piece of Chinese Porphyry. It is not too expensive, it's easier to carve and looks stunning.

I thought I could take this opportunity to explain my approach to carving such a figurine. But on the first day I'd unfortunately forgotten the camera, so the video below regrettably doesn't show how I put the machine ready for use, hoisted the block up on it and made a wooden frame for the model.

Pedestal

I have actually ordered a way too large block! The idea was that I would attach the plinth to the sculpture in one piece, or rather let it still be attached. Sculpture and pedestal from a single block. But for that I'll need to carve the statue as high up as possible inside the block , and everything below that will be the base.

A while ago I welded some stainless steel nuts onto the turntables, in order to secure the flying buttress figurines properly. That came in handy this time; because I could now fix a pair of twobys on the turntable, and from there I further built the woodwork up. It had to be quite firm because it absolutely shouldn't deform under pressure: otherwise the copy would not be cut accurately.

Alignment

The first job is to accurately align the sculpture. It should fit within the block on all sides. For that reason I had already ordered the block a little bit bigger, otherwise it would become very difficult. If I would not put it exactly right, it would cut away too much on one side and on the other side there would not be enough material left.

Block and model are also secured below and above by two center points, so that nothing can shift during the process.

With a blunt saw

copy-sawing the plaster statue of Pan in porphyry

I cheerfully started sawing, but it was not quite that easy! I had been warned beforehand: on porphyry a blade will quickly get dull and then it's all not so smooth sailing anymore. Well it was not as bad as I expected. My granite blade initially cut very well, except when I had to cut quite deeply. Only later it didn't do so well anymore. It started to pinch, jam, and start to follow a previous cut and everything took an excruciatingly long time. I ultimately dulled four different blades on this one piece! All in all, it took three times as long as with for example the limestone flying buttress figurines , and it didn't look as good either.

I usually cut a sculpture in three rounds: in the first pass I cut layers of about five centimeters thick, at a few centimeters away from the final surface. The second round I cut layers of one and a half centimeter, to one and a half centimeter distance, and in the final round I preferably cut each line just below the last one, on 3 mm from final surface. Only the latter did not work so beautifully in this material as in for example the Monkey↑.

Tapping away

Between each course I strike the porphyry off with a hammer. With a claw hammer in this case: I find I can strike faster than with a bulky hammer. This cutting process takes away a lot of material, but more importantly: it takes away a lot of the measuring work. And as you may know I have a thorough dislike of measuring.

Bad Luck

After the sawing, during which, because of the cold and wet, I had to change clothes several times, I cleaned everything and I wanted to continue right away with the carving. But then a hitch came: during a small job in between I cut my hand very deep. The sculpture is now at a standstill, and so am I: I'm sitting at home with three stitches. Again.

Apparently I needed a few weeks vacation. I hope to soon make a part two on the carving of this sculpture.

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

A Razorbill without a head (flying buttress figurine)

Presawing in the snow

Van Velzen sculptor overlooks snowy fields this winterThe next flying buttress figurine for St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem is ready. I've been busy presawing all the blocks that I had lying around for flying buttress 4 and 5 (read here more), before maybe a real frost period got in the way. Because my saw sits outside, I cannot use it during frost, because then …Read the whole article…

Flying buttress: dog, lion, naked woman, fat man and bird

Sorry, proper translation later this week! These past few weeks I've continued carving for flying buttress 6 and 7 of St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem.

A short video from the church as the crow flies, with the flying buttresses. As a bonus, a short performance by my colleague Stide Fox copying a corbel.

Flying buttress 6 and 7

flying buttress figurines from flying buttress no. 6 and 7 of St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem

A photograph that I was sent by Slotboom Stonemasons. The Sad Badger in the foreground was carved by Stide.

It was a motley collection I received at my yard: the Noah and his ark I described earlier, a dog, a naked lady with big feet and a broken neck plus a bird, a very happy lion with his paw in a strange position, a fat man drinking from a large pot, and a bird which we suspected could be a Capercaillie. …Read the whole article…

Removing a pedestal with the concrete chainsaw

Last Wednesday I was at the gardens of Estate De Schaffelaar in Barneveld, the Netherlands. I had to remove a plinth of Belgian bluestone, that was anchored with four stainless steel pins of 2 centimetres thick to a concrete foundation. Of course the solution was the concrete chainsaw on 230 Volts (Cardi Coccodrillo 35 or, in sold here as the Renova chainsaw). The base will in due course be reinstalled inside the main building itself, but more on that later. …Read the whole article…

Flying Buttress statuettes for St. Eusebius' Church Arnhem

Restoration St. Eusebius' Church gets going again

← Read here the first post about this restoration

Good news! There is another budget for the restoration of the St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem (the Netherlands). Today a press release came out that the municipality and province have provided funding for a transitional period of a few months, and the expectation is that the rest of the restoration project will in time be provided for as well. As a result, I can now report that the next few months I will be busy carving a whole batch of new statuettes for the flying buttresses of this church. Below is an account of the first two that Stide and I made.

Flying buttress sculptures for St. Eusebius's

precutting flying buttres figurine1

the precutting of a flying buttress statuette

…Read the whole article…

Moses and Aaron-Veghel

Lambertus Veghel façade with statues of Moses and Aaron

Today I once again started on an interesting restoration job. I went to St. Lambert's church in Veghel to collect two statues: Moses and Aaron, carved in Udelfanger sandstone. The statues date back to about the construction time of the church, round 1860. …Read the whole article…

Disassembling tuffstone with a concrete chainsaw

Stide lifting a block that has been cut loose from the wall

Stide lifting a block that has been cut loose from the wall

← to the first post about this project

Today my colleague Stide and I were in Nijmegen again. We are presently replacing a number of ornaments on the South Portal of St. Stephen's Church all of them (20 trefoils, 7 consoles, 20 crockets and 3 capitals), and right now we're arriving at the removal of the last blocks. …Read the whole article…

Precutting

provided stratenmaker1When carving a sculpture out of a block of stone it will be obvious that a lot of stone, will have to be removed. Just removing that stone is not too complicated, and with the right tools that can go very quickly . The point is just to know where it needs to be removed, and usually there is a lot of reduce all the measuring involved (which happens to be not my favorite activity) and that takes the most time. …Read the whole article…

Experiment with a Cut-n-break machine (video)

← To the first post about this project

k-3000-cut-n-break-18890cc4
I've arrived at the point where I can cut the openings between the ferns. It's just that some of the openings are so narrow that a normal angle grinder doesn't fit in between. Fortunately there are several solutions:

-an chain saw for stone and concrete (hydraulic, with a petrol engine, or on 230 volts)
-or an Husqvarna Cut-n-break saw. This one as well is available on petrol or electrical. …Read the whole article…