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Tiki Central / Tiki Carving

JUMBOKU-he's back!--new pix 11-04 p.15

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...after a 3 year or so year absence. This will be about my 10th carving since my first one about 10 yrs ago. Stumbling across this site has kicked me back into carving mode, I must say. This is the 1st time I actually spent some time on the rough sketch on the log so hopefully my end result will be better than some my past works. Nothing extremely original with this design-just bits and pieces of carvings I've seen before, I guess. I 'skint' back most of the bark w/ a chainsaw then hit it with some 60 grit on the orbital sander for a smooth enough surface to sketch on with the "sharpie magnum". The sander is also a great eraser for the sharpie. No carving here in these pics-just sketched palm log. I'll try to post my progress.

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no pics yet but those 2 little boxes with the X on them would make for interesting work. Looking forward to seein' em'. They popped up, looks great.
Checked out your site very cool, especially the tourney prints.



Thanks Thom - checked out your site as well- nice job on the watercolors. Tikis look good also. Really like the driftwood eel. Wish I could've developed a knack for the watercolor thing. Almost all my art is created in photoshop, illustrator or painter (or any combination of the 3). Hope to have a 'real' website soon instead of my bellsouth hompepage thing.


Surf... you're kind of scary in that mask.

Nice sketching, he's going to look fantastic! Look forward to following your progress.


I gotta go with Stu , your kinda scary. Looking forward to seeing some progress. Great start.


Is the mask some sort of new Dust Mask??

Love the Spinal Tap-ism!!!


Stu and Rodeo- what's behind the mask might be scarier!!!

RevBB- Yes, it's a great dust mask-it fills up with dust like a champ! Just clowning around actually, I could barely see through it so carving could be disastrous with such an accoutrement.

RevBB- Yes, it's a great dust mask-it fills up with dust like a champ! Just clowning around actually, I could barely see through it so carving could be disastrous with such an accoutrement

I give you an 11 on the clowning!!


So's i started roughing out a little earlier today on my sketched log-- and frustration has reared it's stinky head a little earlier than usual for a project like this. My log has numerous nails and screws embedded in it not to mention that it's chock full of sand (it was a roadside find-already cut to length of about 4 feet). My chain disc has suffered greatly from this tainted timber from tenth st. as evidenced by the burn marks on the close-up pic of rough-out. Also, I lost a good hunka' toe meat off the thing. I guess I'll have to make his feet a little shorter than planned or cut him off at the bottoms of his shins and nail a pair of shoes or flops to the underside!!???!?#$%^%@
this is the side I've roughed out mostly, except for headdress, chin and from the knees down

burnt from dull chain

the object of my most current frustrations (Surf-n-turfilosophy----the density of a species of wood is directly related to the sharpness of the tool used for cutting that particular piece of wood) I'll call this is a log of 'Ironpalm'


Here's the toes I lost. It was a section of the outer layer of bark that is really soft and turns to dust at the site of a lancelot type carving disc. I usually try to skin all that stuff off and get down into the harder stuff, but I try to leave some of the outer bark for the areas I want to be protruding out farther than the inner,harder wood -like head-dress, nose, toes, knees. MAybe when I get my chain disc sharpened back up I can take the whole carving another level deeper into the log and the feet/toes isssue will work out.

Anybody know how to sharpen one of these. I had it done at a local tool sharpening business awhile back. The guy charged me an extra 4 bucks since it was a 'specialized' job (12$ instead of 8$ for normal c'saw) I guess it waas worth it, since I can't do it m'sef.

OUCH! that's what you get for trying to trim toenails w/ a chainsaw!

Loki posted on Tue, Feb 7, 2006 4:53 AM

Who is that masked man?

Surf'nTurf...as for the lost chunk-Super glue gel and a pipe clamp. Will actually set stronger than the wood fibers originally were. Your chain disk-I don't do the grinder thing but I know that you can get a decent chain sharpener at Slowe's . Looks like a round rasp file made out of ceramic. It'll have a little metal guide that comes with it.


Thanks BK- I'll pu t the super glue gel and the file kit on my slowes list.

Bete posted on Tue, Feb 7, 2006 2:54 PM

Fun and cool forum thread here. That tiki is gonna be cool when it's done.


It looks like you are going to have a killer tiki done soon. I feel your pain, most of my driftwood tikis have chunks that fall off. Gorilla Glue has been the life saviour of choice for my tikis. I usually will mix it with some sawdust and make sure whatever is being fixed is somehow tied down tight. After it dries a little sanding action and you're good to go.

Don't take my word for it, but it looks like you angle grinder attachment has a chain similar to a chainsaw. Therefore, a small chainsaw file should be adequate. As long as you can secure this tool it should be easy to sharpen. If what I said before is true, the guy at the sharpening shop is making a killing, he should be charging you $4.00 since it is half the work.

I gotta ask you this Surf-n-turf...

That chain disc you have on yr grinder...is it smaller than the grinder itself? The reason I ask is I got a 5" grinder, but I noticed that Lee Valley only sells Lancelot Wheels in the 4" or 4.5" variety. So can a 4.5" chain wheel go on a 5" grinder?

Of course, I'm making all sorts of assumptions by even asking you this...so you can just tell me to go to hell...But if anyone out there knows let me know..

By the way, love the tiki. That's one of my favourite styles and I think yr doing a great job.



Thanks, SC- Yea, the grinder attachment is basically a small chainsaw blade. I picked up the smallest chainsaw file kit I could find today but it's too big (5/32", I believe). I'll have to determine the size of the cutter on the chain I suppose, maybe I'll contact the co. for best info.

BTW- checked out your website--nice carves! I especially like the pic at bottom of gallery of the 5 tikis w/ tall head-dresses, I really like that style. How do you achieve the deep cuts? Chisel? chainsaw?


Slacks, go to hell. (just kiddin') Thanks for the comps on the carve, I've always been a big fan of the Ku style myself.

My grinder is a 4 1/2' grinder and the disk is also 4 1/2" I kinda did it backwards though. I ran across the chain disk at a tool store, bought it, then went out and bought the appropriate grinder for the disk.

Don't take my word for it, I'd hate to give advice that led to a mauling of fingers or worse, but it seems to me that as long as the arbor that the disk is mounted on is the same size as the arbor hole on the disk, then it should work. However- RPMs are something you may need to check on your grinder. My disk has stamped on it "12000 rpm max" so if your 5" grinder puts out more than that, maybe you should consider a smaller grinder. Hope that was helpful.


After a few days of no carving, I finally started to finish the rough-out. I keep finding more parts to rough-out but I'm 'bout ready to get busy w/ some chisel action, I think. Been doing this w/ lancelot type grinder blade and did some rough chisel work in the tight spots. Still need to do some tweaking, ie., make more symetrical, make eyes closer to the same size, etc. Gotta do something with that chin also.

Hopefully I can get back on dis mo-fo some tomorrow and have some progress posted.

about half roughed here

little mo' roughed out

fire and tikis...great together....fire, tikis, alcohol, sharp metal blades, yea!!! that's livin' on the edge!


Nice Tiki, Surf-in-turf, he's going to be excellent, I can see already.
The blade you have sharpens Exactly like a chainsaw, bicause it IS a Chainsaw chain. The guy really ripped you for 12$, I would go back and tell him so too. Use normal chainsaw files for your blade, like the one you already have. Does the chain come right off the disk when you remove it from the grinder? If it does like mine, just open your vise (if you have one) wide enough to hild the chain and file it there. It is much easier sharpening a flat row of chain than a round one. Just try to take the same amout of strokes on each tooth, that way the teeth will stay about the same length. Oh and one more thing, you can have the guy who owns the chainsaw repair shop who sharpened it earlier, (or someone else you trust)MAke a chain for you, It looks like 1/4 pitch chain and should be sold by the link to determine price. Just take the chain in and say you need this size chain for my short bar. Don't tell them int on a disk since that gives them something to charge you more for. He had to take the chain off the disk anyway to sharpen it.


That Ku is looking good. The last shots with the fire are great.

Your chain disk looks a little different than a lancelot. You can buy chainsaw sharpening bits for a dremel like tool for about $5, less than half of what you spent on getting your chain sharpened. They sharpen a chain pretty quickly.

Be careful with that tool, it's a beast that will mess you up.


nice good looking tiki Surf-n-turf....looking forward to more pics of your work.
Gret fire pics too.

Surf n turf, your tiki looks so killer for the rough stage. Can't wait to see what happens when you get down to some serious detailing with the chisels!


GMAN posted on Sat, Feb 11, 2006 6:51 AM


I'm digging your carving and your posts. Thanks for the humor, it adds a lot to the forum. Hopefully you will post again this weekend with some updates. I agree fire, tikis, and sharp steel go together like pork and mayo



Thanks for all the positve feedback guys. Been kinda' pokin' at it slowly -damn work schedule gets in the way occasionally, not to mention a good case of the lower back blues.

Benzart---the chain doesn't come off the disk on the one I posted earlier, however, I started to sharpen it while still on the disk and it's working out OK-would be easier if I could remove it. I bought a new disk yesterday anyway (chain is removable on this one)-figured it wouldn't hurt to have a backup disk.

JohnnyP----the disk in that picture is a 'Toolbox' model I got back around 1998 or 99. The disk I picked up yesterday is a 'Lancelot' . The 'Toolbox' has a solid metal disk with a groove around the edge that the blade sits in. Also the chain spins freely around the disk whereas the 'Lancelot' is 2 metal disk halves that lock down over the chain when tightened onto the arbor/shaft. Jeez-I hope that made sense-feel like I'm rambling w/ my fingertips.

It's cold and wet outside-might take a day or 2 off. Winter finally showed up down here in the sunny south and I aint diggin' it!

Very cool mask you have Tiki Tooler. We Want More!


I want to add one more thing about the chain disk. I usually use a router speed control to slow down the grinder when I am sanding. It gives Great control and I NEVER Burn the diska, and I use 220 grit sometimes. Well I slowed down the chain disk too and MAN What a diffrence. I had Much better control and actually had a better finish than with it full speed. So Try it you may like it.

Didn't mean to hijack your thread but you have generated a Lot of interest in the chain disk. Way to go.
Hurry with that tiki, we're all sitting on the edge of our seats waiting.


Thanks for the tip Benzart. I just ran across a router sp. control on a woodworking website-they're pretty cheap, I was surprised. What RPM do you set it for?


OK, I believe I've finished the roughing out. Added some teeth, fingers and toes. Invested in a few decent grade chisels and decided to take a shot at adding a little more detail than I've done in the past. I found that some of the interior parts of the log were kinda rotten, soft, weak and stringy and I lost some small chunks of some features like under the right eye. I'll be a little more selective on my next log hunt.

I burned most of the big cuts with the ole Polynesian plumbers torch and for the smaller areas like detail lines and teeth, I used sticks of various sizes that I laid in the fire pit and used the burning end of the stick (blow it out first) like a pencil to burn the smaller cuts.

Still cranking on it --I'll post whatever happens next

Done w/roughin'

Dry, rotten, stringyness

chisels and close-up of some sloppy chisel work

Fire pencils-you might not be able to tell, but the ends of these sticks are glowing red.

Fire pencil in use

Bete posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2006 8:18 AM

Cool pictures! I like the one with the orange fire, that rocks!

Fire pencils?? please tell us more.


Looks good. The old log gives it an instant aged look.

Fire Pencils--this one I'm going to have to explore some more and give it a try. Even if it sounds like some tiki torture device.



Fire pencil is just a name for method I've devised, and I'm sure others use it also or a similar method, for burning in some of the smaller recesses like between teeth, fingers and such.. It's all about taking some sticks and burning the ends so you get a good black charred tip to 'draw' into the tight areas. Maybe touch up w/ a little sanding--works great!

Here's some pics, I hope they're big enough-I tried something weird. @#$%Shutterfly keeps cropping my pics!


I'm trying to quit messin' w/ this thing. I wanna be finished! I'm calling it finished for now. It's still kinda sloppy but the log was in bad shape to begin with also, not to mention my greenhorn chiseling. I know I'll keep looking at it for a while and tweaking this and that. If there's any major changes, I'll post-OH YEA! I've got to apply a sealer or similar finish too-almost forgot. He's gonna be outside so I'll have to go w/ something heavy duty. Any good suggestions appreciated, hell, I'll even appreciate the bad suggestions. I've used deck/wood sealer like T'mpsons, etc. before, but never kept a treated tiki long enough to know if it works good for a long time so give me some word if you know anything!! Hopefully my next efffort will show some improvement-not just executing detail--but executing it with a little more precision and control--we'll see.

GMAN posted on Fri, Feb 17, 2006 7:43 AM

Alright! I knew I knew you from somewhere! :wink:

Very cool carving BTW.


"The saw is family"

[ Edited by: gman 2006-02-17 08:09 ]


Ahh Surf-n-Turf, you look Much better with the mask off. That "wood" mask is really Cool, where did you get it?
The Tiki came out Great and I Love your Fire Pencils, those are really Slick. When you are all through (you think) with a carving and you keep picking at it and cleaning it up, is called "Teasing" in the sculpture world and it usually leads to amore detailed piece.. so keep on Teasing, but remember too thetthe Last cut is usually the one that ruins a great carving, so make sure your last cut is a good one.


Thanks G!

Benzart-the mask was given to me by a friend years ago and I think he picked it up at a flea market-no tellin' what kinda heads that thing's been on!

Off to do some more teasing!

On 2006-02-16 14:09, surf-n-turf wrote:
Fire pencil is just a name for method I've devised...

Such a smarty-pants! I'm gonna try it someday. Mahalo for the trade secret!

Great looking tiki - very nice detail, I'd say you tamed that wild log.

He's gonna be outside so I'll have to go w/ something heavy duty. Any good suggestions appreciated

Marine grade varinish. It's at home depot - but the best kind will be at a boating supply store

GMAN posted on Sat, Feb 18, 2006 5:29 PM


Leave him alone and start on your next one. He's great as is. What sort of wood do you have available? I can't wait to see what you start next....



Hey G-thanx for the coments. I have 2 pieces of dock post. They are new and one's about 10" in dia. and 5' tall- the other is about 8" dia. and 4' tall. I know they are treated for marine use (they are kinda green, not fresh-cut green but more like pressure treated green). I'm thinking about doing a Marq style since the shape/size lends itself to that style anyway. Will have to do it all w/ chisels though so I wont be suckin' up any green wood dust!

BTW- I'm about halfway through browsing your humongous thread-WOW!- more cool stuff there than I realized when I emailed you yesterday!!!!

Talk atcha soon!

Surf, excellent work lots o' detail

GMAN posted on Sun, Feb 19, 2006 7:36 AM


I sent you a PM about that treated wood. Check it out and get back to me.

Thanks for checking out my thread. There's some fun stuff on there.



Thanks Tfish- I'm trying to evolve as a carver, I guess---adding a little more freaky to the tiki.

G - I PM'ed you back and thanks again for the toxic wood warning.

hmc posted on Mon, Feb 20, 2006 2:34 AM

That looks excellent, the additional tone created with your fire pencil worked a real treat. Very nice indeedy doody.

Bete posted on Mon, Feb 20, 2006 2:24 PM

surf-n-turf, you are such a character, your forum thread here makes me laugh. On a serious note, you did a great job with that tiki, I think it turned out real cool. On a not so serious note, I saw you in "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and you were great in that flick, ha.


hmc- Thanx for the compliment-fire pencils RULE! Kinda like a primitive form of a charcoal pencil, huh?

Bete- I was always the 'class clown' and just never grew out of it, and I'm glad!

hodad, Poly- I always appreciate a comp and a tip also.


Been outta tha loop for a while, had to have a 'lower back procedure' in March because of wear and tear, playing like a 12 year old at 42 y/o, ttrying tricks I've seen in cartoons, etc.-actually had to do a search for my own thread, but I'm back in carving mode again and here's what I got for now-

Started a small (2 1/2' to 3') palm log carving. Wasn't a great log-roadside find-kinda stringy/fibery and was a mess to carve. Didn't document much of it for whatever reasons but I'll show you what I've got. Inspiration came from a Coco Joe's tiki I saw somewhere. Here 'tis.
You can see my trusty (so far) jumbo sized carving easel with 'come-along' attached for raising or lowering logs to desired carving height.

crooked legs-like a new-born fawn, trying to take it's first step

I don't know what happened to this pic but you can see I tried a dark stain on this with some 'chalking' to lighten the deeper recesses-'cept I didn't have any chalk so I tried some other stuff that vanished when I applied the sealer. So now it's just dark stained.

Here's a pic at night -he's standing on a 1' piece of palm log for some 'amplified altitudification' (makes it look taller) with a green light applied for some smooth exotica-tiki vibe>

Here's the CCJoe's tiki I'm talking about

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