Greetings fellow geeks!
I recently found myself in New York, yet again with Ray Villafane and a phenomenal sculptor/carver that’s quickly becoming one of my favorite dudes to work with, Patrick Burke. Each year, we create a large scale pumpkin display at the Bronx Botanical Gardens. This year celebrated Frida Kahlo, Dia De Los Muertos, and Jose Posada. As such, we created a tribute to one of Jose Posada’s famous calavera (skull) illustrations. For more on that, check out the Villafane Studios Facebook page, or visit the NYBG website.
On my way back home from a pumpkin carving event in Arizona, my entire bag full of every carving tool that I own, as well as a few new sculpting tools I picked up, was stolen right out of my luggage. So, shout outs to Newark, New Jersey for being such a nice airport to stop off at on the way back home. Hoping to replace a few key tools quickly, I had the chance to hit up the sculpture megastore, The Compleat Sculptor. I ended up picking up a few sculpture only tools and and just using some of Ray and Patrick’s tools to get by.
I went straight there from my bus in, so sadly, Ray and Patrick were already at the venue and weren’t able to accompany me. Although, I don’t think it would have been much different. Patrick comes with a plethora of fine wood carving chisels so, I can’t imagine he would have bought much and Ray, well, he appreciates fine tools but I have yet to see that man use anything incorporating sharpness, or precision and I constantly find myself harping on him about some of his primitive, caveman-like tools. Of no consequence, of course, as I’m sure you’ve all seen his work and while he might be better suited to use a rock, duct taped to a stick, than some of the tools he has, they seem to work great for him. That’s proof positive that its really more who’s wielding the tool, as opposed to how fancy the tool is. That said, to me, there’s nothing like a finely tuned, precision instrument, made specifically for the task at hand. Carving and sculpting are hard enough, why struggle with inferior tools?
Anyway, I wanted to share with you my pick ups. I have yet to use them, but I may end up writing a review on them after I give em a good run. I normally like to make my own tools from scratch, but I can’t resist grabbing some if they look real useful or just plain fun to use. Yes, I have a tool fetish and its a problem -I guess. Ive known sculptors who only use a few tools and get by just fine, but that’s not me. I really like tools… like, a lot.
So, incase you were interested in checking out some of the same tools, here’s what I picked up this time around.
-Stainless Minarette 1705S
-Milani Steel Wax Tool 37W05
-Wax Tool 17156
-Stainless Tool Fox 43281001
-Hax Scraper (set of 2) 4226813 – not listed on the website but in this category
-Handmade Hickory Rib – not listed on the website but in this category.
-Steel Tool #37 37W37
-Kemper WT12 Wood Modeling Tool
The last time I was able to visit, I was with a few of the guys from NECA about 6 or 7 years ago. If you ever have a chance to go to this store, DO IT! Its fully loaded with just about anything a sculptor could want, and then some. The staff is friendly and helpful. They will let you shop in peace, and walk behind the counter to take a closer look, if need be.
Now, I believe a sculptor should make the majority of their own tools because its usually the best way to get what you need. However, I do pick up some ready made stuff from time to time. When I do that, its usually a tool that can’t be made easily without proper equipment. This usually includes teeth that have been precisely and evenly cut in or something that has a weird bend in it.
I would also recommend visiting the store yourself since a lot of the tools there are handmade, so the edges vary slightly in their stock. While I will probably go in and tune up the edges of my new tools even further to what I want, its nice to have a better starting point.
I’ve been asked many times to share my process of making tools so, look forward to that. In the meantime, I’ll be scraping away at the Deathclaw sculpt with these new additions in anticipation of the release of Fallout 4.
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Smoke, and Garlic!