Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Olifant: Tusk Construction

In addition to giving Pachydermos' offspring a new set of tusk canisters, I have decided to also give him a new trunk hose. To celebrate that differentiation I have named him Olifant, a variation of the word Elephant.

I have molded the assemblage of brass parts (on the left) and cast it in a gray urethane resin (on the right).

Here I have sanded irregularities, filled cracks with Bondo™, and engraved the cap to match the hex acorn nut that will sit on top and hold the canister against the mask. I've also drilled and mounted twelve brads, which are meant to simulate rivets holding the top to the case.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pachydermos Tusk Construction

I'm going to give Son of Pachydermos new tusks, different from his father's, just to make him more interesting. I want them to look a bit like a steampunk boiler, but still tusk shaped.

I've pulled out a box of mostly brass parts that I've collected over the years, most of it from yard sales, but some just hardware store purchases.

Here I've chosen the parts I'm going to start with: A paper cup, a brass doorknob (that I just bought today at a local flea market for 50¢), an acorn nut, and two other parts that I can't identify.

By cutting out the bottom of the cup (and turning it upside down) the doorknob fit right into the hole. The other metal parts are just stacked on top of the knob. I plan on molding and casting this combination, then adding screws and other bits and pieces to punkify it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


This is a new direction for me. My first leather garment since I made sheepskin coats at Tahoe thirty some years ago.

I've been toying with the idea of making a steampunk leather corset, since they seem to be the rage among the ladies of steam.

I decided to start simple by making this black leather bustier with rivets and leather lacing running through eyelets. I haven't made a back strap yet, as I am undecided on how to do it. What do you all think? Please take my poll (upper right) and let me know.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pachydermos Ear Trim

Moving along on the copper ears, I have sewn on the leather trim with needle and thread.

Here I am just starting out with the hand stitching of the waxed thread. I've also exposed the copper to vinegar in order to age it.

Here you can see the multicolored copper, in all its glory. The top ear has the trim all attached, while the bottom ear is waiting to get trim.

This photo is after I have stained the ears a brownish black, darkening everything up, especially the leather.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pachydermos Copper Ears

I'm making a variation of Pachydermos, sort of a Son of Pachy. I had made the copper ears for the original Pachydermos before I started my blog, so the steps of how I made them were never recorded. This set of ears is identical to the first except for the color of the trim.

I've started with copper lampshades from an old Wagon Wheel chandelier. These I found at my local thrift shop, but I have also purchased some online at Ebay. I'll be covering the outer edge with leather, so my first step is to make regular indents with a hole punch.

This photo shows the original shade on the left, and the reworked one on the right with its punch marks showing through on the front lip. I have also buffed off the lacquered antique finish that the original came with and which made them look so 1950's.

Next I drill small holes through the copper, using the punch marks to keep the drill bit from wandering.

And here I'm sanding off the rough edges from the drilled copper on a drum sander, so that the holes are smooth enough to allow the waxed thread to pass through without cutting it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dr. Beulenpest: Mask is Complete

Here is the finished steampunk plague doctor mask. I made the straps so that it is adjustable to fit any adult head, and the lenses are dark enough to keep others from seeing in, but allowing the wearer to easily see out.

Hope you like it (although I have to wonder why none of the five posts on this mask has received a single comment)!

Dr. Beulenpest: Trim and Coloring

After much contemplation I've decided to simplify my original plans by combining the resin piece between the eyes, upper beak trim (which hides the handstitching) and transitional beak trim into one piece of leather.

First I airbrushed the mask with an undercoating of violet dye. Then I cut and attached the trim piece with domed rivets. As you can see I made the shape of the trim a bit more interesting than I had originally planned.

Here I have added matching domed rivets all around the surround, purely for decoration.

I then stained the mask brownish black, and left some of the violet (and undyed trim color) showing through to give it more character. Plain old black would have looked bland and modern.

These are the two eyepieces cast in cold cast aluminum. The one on the right is a nonagon (a nine sided polygon) with a nonagon cut-out which has been rotated 20°. I find its mechanical look quite pleasing.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dr. Beulenpest: Stitching the Leather

I've cleaned up the patterns and used them to cut out the 5-6 oz vegetable tanned leather pieces.

I begin by handstitching the two left pattern pieces together. I then repeated for the right side, then joined both halves together.

Here I've stitched on one of the eyepiece trims, and am checking how it looks with the resin beak and two eyepieces. So far so good!

I have stitched on the second eyepiece trim, as well as the surround that will support five buckles for holding the mask on the head.

This is my attempt at adding a leather trim piece to ease the transition between the resin beak and the rest of the mask. It's proving awkward to fit well, and I am thinking of other ways to accomplish this. I am also struggling with the resin piece that will fit between the two eyes. Hmmm, what to do, what to do.....

Dr. Beulenpest: Making the Pattern

Now that the sculpt and resin beak are done I have moved on to making the pattern for the leather pieces.

Here I have finished the beak casting by removing the extra resin, and I've returned the plasticine I cut off earlier to the end of the beak.

Since the resin beak will sit atop the leather I need to extend the clay underneath it, but reduced in size to fit within the beak. I've marked in red where the leather trim will go.

Tape won't stick to plasticine, so I have covered the clay in a brushed on coating of urethane resin.

Once the resin has cured I remark my seam lines with a black Sharpie™, and then I've started covering one half of the face in blue masking tape. Since the mask is symmetrical I only need a pattern for half of it.

As the layers of tape cross one another I keep remarking the seam lines so I don't lose sight of them.

Lastly I cut the tape pattern along the lines I've marked with an X-acto knife. Ideally they should lay almost flat, and these do.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dr. Beulenpest: Casting the Beak Tip

I have now cast two beak tips in urethane resin for Dr. Beulenpest's plague doctor mask, one for the upper beak and the other for the lower.

On the left is the rough casting right out of the mold. On the right, after it has been sanded down a bit, on its way to the final shape of the upper beak.

Here I've placed the combined beak casting onto the clay model to check that it's looking right.

In pondering more about the joint between the resin beak tip and the leather I'm thinking I need a piece of leather trim piece to ease the transition.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dr. Beulenpest, A Steampunk Mask

My leather plague doctor mask has been very well received. I made it as true as I could to the historical model, with nothing added, but all along as I worked on it I was thinking of how I could make a steamier version. I have enough ideas to start and so I've begun creating it.

Above is my preliminary sketch. It includes cold cast resin eyepieces and beak tip, along with a leather surround studded with domed rivets.

I started by lengthening the beak (from the first one) in the plasticene model, and incorporating the eyepieces into the clay. I also altered the seams to make the mask more interesting.

Since the resin beak tip is a major change I decided to start there in the fabrication stage. Here I have simply cut off the plasticene beak. Next I hot glued a popcorn cup down around it in preparation for pouring a silicone rubber RTV mold.

Above is the clay beak partially covered in the rubber. I will add more silicone into the cup, then wait 18 hours for it to completely cure. I will cast the beak tip in resin, then shape it to how I want it. I am calling this mask Dr. Beulenpest, the German word for bubonic plague.