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Babalu - Lapatiki 3 - The way out is the way through

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I saw the post where artisans should open a new thread if they wish to post stuff on their work....so here's my start.

This is my first tiki. I am fast becoming a junkie with this new direction in art, and also working in this new medium. I could tell that I was beginning to sink the tiki needle deeper when I found myself playing hookie from work yesterday to work on this tiki.

Having just found this Site, I have yet to fully plunder it's archives...but, I have read up on Buzzy thread, and I must say that I would not be anywhere close to where I am on this project if it were not for his detailed analysis of his work. Thanks . The Buzzy. plainer works great!...good drawings are key....don't sink the chisel down further than you want to carve...got it. Right now, I only possess A few straight edged chisels from Home Depot...If I'm lucky, maybe Santa will throw some other tools down the chimney as he rounds the roof top...however, come to think about it, he might not....maybe I should just go buy them.

Anyway, great Site you all...wonderful work everywhere you look...it's like eating a different piece of chocolate every time I open a new thread.

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Right on Babalu! Glad my observations could be of some help to you. That was the intent from the begining of my thread. I used that exact same HDepot set for at least my first 30 tikis or so. As my skills increased, so did my desire for new tools, but those will do a lot for you until you get more stuff.
You're off to a great start. Keep us appraised of you carving journeys; you never know, something you might say might help someone else later on. Thanks for sharing with the TC world and GOOD LUCK!


Welcome, Babalu! I can tell you are an "attention to detail" guy. That tiki looks old & wise already and only half carved. Keep us posted as he progresses.



Thanks guys...

One thing that helped me with the drawing part (many of you may already do this) was to find the center on the top of the log then draw two crossing lines that form 4 exact quarters (or close to it as possible) like a pie...then I drew straight lines down the log from these lines on the top of the log. One of the lines drawn in would be the center of the nose of the tiki. I measured horizontally between these 4 vertical lines to make sure I had the exact distance between them before I started to draw in the tiki. These 4 vertical lines, that now quartered out the log, made it much easier for me to judge distance and mimic line work from one quarter area to the next.

welcome aboard babalu...nice first effort. It's addicting, make sure you have plenty of wood
sitting around.

Babalu posted on Thu, Jan 4, 2007 9:40 PM

Well, due to other work related obligations, I had to put off working on that 1st "green wood" tiki of mine for awhile, but I finally had some time and was able to work on it a little more over this last weekend. I also have a few nicer tools now...it sure makes a world of difference. I probably should have taken on a little less of a difficult design for my 1st one....those crossing limbs on this tiki pose an interesting relief scenario. Still, I think I can pull it off in the end. I'm am, however, going to have to put it on hold yet again for a little while as I need to dive into building a bamboo alter that needs to be done by Feb, 18th.

I mentioned in another post somewhere that my youngest daughter Nicky, or "Babalu Babe # 2" is getting married at the Bali Hai on 2/18, and that I was asked to put together an alter for the event. I was toying with a few designs in 2D, but it was putting this little 3D mock up model together that really helped me to settle in on a design that I liked. This little model shown is built to scale...1 inch = 1 foot. The alter will be 9.5 feet at it's highest point. This mock up model has also helped me to determine the amount of materials that I will need for the project.

I want the 2 side islands, or platforms, to have water features, foliage, cool lighting, and a 3' carved tiki on either side. thanks to 4WDTiki, I have a nice "dry" 6 footer to work with...I didn't want to cut it in half as I had a cool plan for it in it's 6' size, but hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do...I will most likely back off on the difficulty of the design on these next 2 tiki's due to the time crunch I am under...I would imagine that my free time is pretty much spoken for for the next 6 weeks. I will make it to the next So. Cal. Chop Chop though...wouldn't miss that.

Cool thing on this alter is that it will serve 2 purposes...once the wedding is over, the alter is going to be turned into part of the back bar for the Babalu Lounge I would like to put together.


I think you accidently hit "disable bbcode..."

Babalu posted on Thu, Jan 4, 2007 9:47 PM

Humm let me try to post these pictures again...


umm, WOW! You don't mess around with simple projects. :D That thing is gonna be sweet!

Glad to see you'll be at the next chop chop. You can get another log if you want, I'll have some extras.


Big Welcome Babalu to Tiki Central, I Know we are gonna have a great fit. Looks like you are a Natural born tiki carver and looks like you are Already quite an Acomplished artist and the carving end will be a piece of cake. From the looks of your first tiki, youare going to move up quickly from beginner to advanced. Have fun and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Babalu posted on Fri, Jan 5, 2007 7:32 AM

Thanks for the vote of confidence Gentlemen....

For kicks, I thought I would show you another long term project I'm slowly working on...."The Great Sea Hare Migration". It's not tiki, but it sure uses the ocean as a key element. All are hand built ceramic. The eventual goal is to build enough of them that I can migrate them up and down the coast of California to different beach locations....hopefully, the experience will turn into a fun little vacation for myself and all 3 of the Babalu Babes. Would be fun to see the Babalu Lounge travel with it huh...Might be tough to serve up a Cobra Spit Cocktail on some of these pubic beaches though.

Bowana posted on Fri, Jan 5, 2007 9:08 AM

Whoa, those mer-hares are so surreal, Babalu! They look like they could go in a Beatrix Potter book. Is that La Jolla?


Hey, sorry Tikiday...just realize your post...yep, that's LaJolla.

The alter/bar is now making some good head way. Just a note: I have learned a few good pointers by being thrust into the fire of this whole project. Bamboo is some tricky stuff...air is trapped between the "nodes" (I think that's what their called) in the bamboo poles. When you have drastic changes in temperature (it's 35 degree in San Diego right now - warms up during the day) the air expands in these trapped air spaces causing the bamboo to split with a bang! I've lost 8 sticks of 2" diameter so far. To solve the problem, I have had to drill a tiny hole in each section up the length of each stick...allowing the air to escape. The larger the diameter of bamboo pole stock, the worse the problem of this splitting occurring.

Ok, here's my current dilemma...I've reached a point where I have to order up the thatching for this project and I have narrowed it down to two different types (pictured below)...the problem is, I really like both looks. Anybody feel like offering up their opinion on which would be their choice? I'm really torn between the two.

Can't wait to get into the candy of this project...carving the 2 flanking tiki's. Plan to sink the first chisel at this weekends "O-Side Chop"...See you all there!



I like the Fiji thatch personally, feels a bit more casual and tropical to me. I've never been too fond of the African thatch, it seems too angular and looking like it belongs at the Wild Animal Park. I also like plain palm tree thatch myself. :)
See ya Saturday, can't wait to see the poles take shape.


Very cool stuff Babalu - I love the little A-frame model and the sea-hares. (tikis are great too, but I love seeing something different here!) They seem to sit very naturally in the places you've put them. You're obviously one of those fortunate types who can switch between various media at will.


I Love the Fijii stuff too and the Sea Hares are Really Outta sight! What size are they? How can we get them?


From what I've read you can get rid of the air in between the culm and nodes, by taking a metal pole (like re-bar) and whacking down through the center of the bamboo. It will allow all of the air to move up and down the bamboo, and you don't en up with any drill holes affecting the aesthetic of the bamboo. Again this is just what I've read, in preparing to make my outside bar. I'm still saving up to buy the bamboo. It's not easy to find in South Alabama.


Thanks for you comments all; I very much enjoy your input. To have my work put in a positive light by such talented artists really feels good!

The samples pieces that I ordered on the African Reed thatch and the Fiji thatch both came to the house yesterday...It's totally a no brianer which direction to take when you can see and feel them first hand. It's Fiji all the way. Both of these samples (2' X 3') sure do weigh a lot though....10 lbs each.

Humm...The Sea Hares are all individual and of different sizes, but if I were to have an average one lay down for me on it's back with it's ears folded down, it would be about 22 -24 inches long. I did sell some of these in a gallery here in SD when I first started making them....now, I'm just trying to build up a large number of them for the migration. Once I'm done with that, who knows?

Running rebar, or something like it down the center of the bamboo to knock through the nodes might work, but I not sure I would try...in the larger diameter bamboo (4"to 6" size), some of those nodes can be up in the 3/16" thick area. Man, this bamboo splits so easy...the force might be more than it could take...just don't know without trying. The holes one needs to drill (if you go that route) can be very, very small...just enough to let the air out. Small bit on a Drumel.



I was able to start the Bride and Groom tiki's that will flank the alter this weekend. At least I have a direction on them now.



How did you hollow out the tops?

Sorry you missed the chop. We were all wondering where you were.


Cool looking bride and groom. I think you will reallymake the wedding a Tiki Wedding with these excellent guy.girl tikis.
Nice job.


Thanks Ben, I'm trying to use all the samples of stuff up that I that I had to buy to test on the alter - hence the hair dos. I also ordered this 1/8" raw hide to test bamboo tying....ended up going with 1/4" raw hide...looks good....anyway, I'm thinking of tying up the bride's locks tight with this stuff somehow....going for more for that Basquiat - Predator type look.

4wheel, Real sorry on the Chop thing...to miss a whole day like that...my mind is gone.

This course "Galahad" is a cool tool.... http://www.katools.com

Babalu, those "hares" are amazing, really great. PUt me on the list as well if you decide to sell some.



Thanks Amy...I will put you at the top of the list for first pick of the litter.


Well, I'm making progress on the bride and groom, however, they are starting to look more like they should be paired up in the "Thunderdome" vs. getting married.

Lots of detailing and sanding to go yet...got to be done with these by Friday and moving on to the next phase of the alter...only 3 weeks left. Hard to get time off of work.

hewey posted on Thu, Jan 25, 2007 2:41 PM

wow man. Welcome to TC. As Benz said, looks like your going to fit right in.

Cant wait to see this hut progress. That model looked awesome!

mieko posted on Thu, Jan 25, 2007 3:46 PM

It's looking really good! We missed you at the chop chop, but hopefully you can make the next one and tell us all how well the wedding went. :)
I'm excited to see the altar coming together... I'm kinda thinking about hitting Bali Hai that night to check it out. :) (from a respectful distance of course!)


This wedding is an ambitious project. The "Bride and Groom" tikes are too cool. You designed them very well. A heck of a lot better than cake toppers. :)

I've been watching this thread.



Thanks for the pats folks....It's great to be able to have the TC crowd around to bounce things off of. I have a little time to work on the tikis today....would really like to see them ready to stain tonight if possible

Hewey - I'll keep posting as I move forward...Right now, I have everything in front of me for the alter-lounge, just need to put it all together.

JP - Funny you should mention cake toppers....that little mock model is to be painted white and used as the cake topper.

Meiko - I think that's very cool that you might make a special trip down to the Bali Hai on the 18th...The ceremony is from 7:00 pm to around 7:45 pm, anytime after that you should be able to walk right in that side garden entrance and right up to the alter...be sure to say hi if you see me around. I got my hands on this sweet little "fog making machine"...not sure where it will fit in yet, but I'm liking the idea of utilizing it at some point during the evening...I will start tearing down around 11:30 pm.


kill the wabbit.


Pablus, Your words kind of open the door for some creative fun...ok, ok, I'll jump off of the rabbit thing....I don't know though....wabbit tiki? maybe.

Anyway, man there sure is more work to sanding a tiki than what I thought there would be....many more hours than I had planned on, and I could still stand to sand on these a little more. Stain - no clue? Got to jump away from these for awhile and think bamboo.


Looks like some concerts I went to back in my mushroom days.
The tikis are tight. So is the framework.

Kill the Wabbitt -
Elmer Fudd.


Wow, LOVE the rabbit war! Alot of time went into setting up those shots.

Is that your backyard? It looks to foresty to be San Diego. And how is that 2x12 suspended off the balcony?

Tikis look good. Do the hairstyles reflect those of the bride and groom?

Many comps to BABALU! The Wawbbit-Warfare shot is really nuts, I keep going back to it just
to find the expressions that I missed earlier. Great work...nice tikis too.


Uhhh, I remember those 'shroom days too...didn't take long for me to figure out that I was wacko enough without-um.

Yep, that's the back 40...it needs a trimming. That 2x12 is held up with a couple of clamps....sure is going to be mucho easier to build down than to have to build up. The roof has to be detachable. My kids aren't cool enough to sport dos like those on the tiki's.


WOW that is some good work. i like that style. what kind of wood is that though? looks really good. hope to see more soon

mieko posted on Mon, Jan 29, 2007 3:00 PM

Um, Babalu, you feeling ok? Are you getting enough sleep? Those rabbits scare me.....

Tikis are looking great! I'm pretty inexperienced in the stain department, but just started putting some marine varnish on my guy, and like how it darkens up the wood just a bit.

It's exciting seeing the progress on the bamboo as well, keep us updated. :)


Babalu, you are one weird individual............I like that in a person!

Great Tikis! I'm looking to stain/finish my Tiki from the Chop-Chop. I think I'm going to try out the marine varnish suggested by Mieko.

Peace, my wabbits.


Thanks guys....

I will have to look back in the archives to see if I can find a pic. of this marine finish your speaking to....sounds cool.

Rained out last night....will bounce back in after work tonight. Weather looks good for the weekend.


Looks like Rabbit stew is coming soon, Can't wait. (Why else do you think the Tiki' start the wars between the Rabbits?
Excellent tikis , but I think they need to be smoother, like maybe sand them down to 1000 grit?? Ha! Love the wikkid Eyes on the one tiki too.


Whats up wid da wabbits? I don't get it. Lovin the Tikis though! Original + 10 !!!

Can't wait to see this all set up.




Cool Site for...well, stuff...you know, stuff.


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Babalu posted on Sat, Feb 3, 2007 9:42 PM

Well, some progress made today...squared and tied in the lower section. I should be able to finish the main support and finish the roof up tomorrow.

going to sleep well tonight...Babalu

mieko posted on Sat, Feb 3, 2007 10:50 PM

I think a lot of Clysdalles's tikis are done with mostly marine varnish. The only prooblem I had with it was the stirring, the stuff can separate out, so I stirred and stirred and stirred... I'll get some pictures up soon too.

Good progress, the rain messed up my ideas for a few days too, hope you're still on schedule.

Babalu posted on Mon, Feb 5, 2007 6:03 AM

Hey Mieko, thanks for the info. I think I'm going to have to go dark on those tiki's in order for them to gel with the alter.

Yesterday's progress didn't go as far as I hoped it would....hope to finish main roof structure today and move on.

Looking awesome and your mer-hares are fascinating. Looking forward to more pictures.

Paipo posted on Mon, Feb 5, 2007 1:09 PM

On 2007-01-28 19:24, Babalu wrote:

This is hands-down the weirdest pic I've ever seen posted in the carving forum. Congratulations - I love it!
Super tight tikis too, they've got a cool Witco type vibe to 'em.

You're out of control! Mix that mental illness with talent and you are one dangerous individual! I'll be watching you....

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