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 Bear with a honeypot (flying buttress figurine)

The bear that didn't look like a bear

flying buttress statuette of bear with honeypot - old original tuff

flying buttress statuette bear with honey -new copy in muschelkalk limestone

And then the bear came with its long snout and blew out… no, he ate all the honey. This 'bear’ was the next flying buttress figurine for St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem which was to be copied into new stone. Only you have to look very good …Read the whole article…

An interesting gable stone

A plaque in the making for the Blue Tram street in Haarlem

Last week I started on a very interesting challenge: the carving of a new gable stone relief. The project deserves some explanation, because it includes a lot more than just this one relief. …Read the whole article…

A reclining bull in white marble

block of marble for lying bull in white marble

It's been a bit quiet on my blog, because I a big job had in progress. Messages about that to follow later, because it is not finished yet. But last week I carved a reclining bull in white marble.
My father asked me: 'How do you take on such a project, how do you make such an animal?’ I explained to him that …Read the whole article…

A video of a pointing machine

pointing machine with wooden cross and brass needle

Pointing machine with wooden cross and brass needle

pointing machine with needle and stop

The needle of the Pointing machine with the stop

YouTube can be a convenient medium if you are looking for something… like how a pointing machine actually works. That's how I came across a video by sculptor Jason Arkles (The Sculptor’s Funeral): ‘How to use a pointing machine for carving marble’. …Read the whole article…

Coat of arms in stone completed

family crest stone in stone completed, coat of arms carved in Belgian bluestone, arduin, petit granit-to the first post about this project-

These past few weeks I carved a family coat of arms in stone for a customer.
It was a top quality piece of stone, as I found out soon enough: I never encountered such a rock hard piece of Belgian blue stone (arduin) in my previous works. This piece therefore more than deserved its name of ‘petit granit‘ by right then. It tested my skills to the limit, I have to say, and also my chisels; frequently the tungsten carbide chisel chipped at its cutting edge. …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…

Ten tips-2: from design to stone

Ten tips for beginning sculptors-2: from design to stone

← Click here for the first ten tips for beginning sculptors in stone-

14072014229

stone statue in the making and model. Click image for link to the first article on this sculpture

Readers of my blog may know it already: I have a thorough dislike of measuring. By measuring I mean taking a distance with a ruler or a tape measure, then remember that and reproduce it on the block of stone. …Read the whole article…