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One of the things I like about Tiki Central is that I have my own little corner here, I can post whatever I want without bothering anyone. I like to post progress shots. If anyone is interested they can check it out, if they are not interested they can skip it.

I hung my Broke da Mout mask on the fence and I have a blank spot on the fence that could take another similar sized mask. I've had this piece of palm laying around for some time, thought I'd give it a shot. About 28x24x6 inches. 1

I cleaned off the bark with the back of a claw hammer and a handheld electric planer 2

I'm working on a Marquesan inspired template so I can trace both sides and get it symmetrical 3

Then started at it with a saw and a handheld mini router 4

We'll see how it goes

[ Edited by MadDogMike on 2022-11-01 08:58:13 ]

Wait no clay, paint, paper, or rope?



LOL Well Jon it's KINDA wood. It's pretty soft.

A little work this morning but the rest of the day is committed to other things :( 309579020_498271805653819_6751413759857487870_n

I started from the bottom up. I said to myself, (since no one else is here). "That's palm". Well I come to see even MDM is going Marcrazean. Is there a vax for that. But good idea, a template. I use them all the time. That's a monster palm, BTW. An angle grinder cleans them off good too. Will

Will good to know about the angle grinder, I tried it on the eyes and it worked well. I'm glad you use templates too, I was afraid that was a rookie move LOL Yes that is a decent sized piece of wood, it cam off af a 24 inch daimeter log.

Carving done. A bit fibrous in a few places but I don't think I can fix that?


Stained dark brown to go against a light colored fence. Now to figure out how to hang it on that fence


Hamo posted on Thu, Nov 3, 2022 9:05 PM

I like checking out your little corner here, Mike. Very nice.

Thank you Hamo

Done and dusted, hung up on the fence received_2041884382669759 20221103_181726

I like the lighting and the mask.

Beautiful work!!

Ohhhhhhh the light really is fun. Great carving MDM!

MaukaHale, MaulRay, and Wendy thank you very much. Quick and easy project, I may have to do another one!

Done with masks, signs, and new fence 310041915_8574289015922458_2632033501396725270_n 313397991_3297582977122514_4659967814256396930_n

Did he break da mouth on a chicken bone? Pour Guy.

Probably broke his mouth on that ceramic chicken leg and pineapple LOL

He was broken when I picked him up at an estate sale. I named him after the Hawaiian slang "Broke da mout" meaning something taste so good that you couldn't even speak when you took a bite LOL

Lookin good Mike

Thank you sir :D


Nice work MDM...We know he didn't break it on Lobster.

Got that right LOL

New Project. WestADad did a faux neon sign a few years back using Electroluminescent Wire (EL Wire) and I've wanted to give that a try. My wife's dad owned a Mexican/Tiki restaurant called El Tiki in the 1960s and 70s. Here is an early pic of the restaurant, I like that neon sign on top 00000018_img_0018 El Tiki Sign Original

The design has some weird edges, maybe that was to hide the supports or the electrical transformer inside? So I cleaned it up a bit while keeping the same general elements El Tiki Sign

The plan is to cut the board, drill some holes, paint it, and run the EL Wire. Here is the lettering plan, will need about 11 feet of yellow EL Wire which I have ordered from Amazon 314828762_905419357507735_2547631668480075049_n

I'll keep you posted on progress

[ Edited by MadDogMike on 2022-11-17 22:53:43 ]

Nice! Whatever happened to the original sign? I read through your earlier thread on the El Tiki, but it doesn't mention the sign's fate.

MrBaliHai, I don't know! In fact I don't remember that sign. I grew up half a mile from the restaurant, it opened when I was about 4. My wife lived next to the restaurant and doesn't remember the sign either. I suspect it didn't last long. Top heavy with that Tiki, I'm thinking it blew over.

Might be time for a midnight trip to the Imperial landfill with a front loader...;-)


Yes, find the Sweet Neon relic and that sweet 1955 Chevy Wagon...wowzer.

MrBaliHai - LOL The family still owns the property and my father in law Ben was a pack rat who never threw ANYTHING away :) That sign may still be out there someplace. My brother in law may know what happened to it, I'll ask him. Unfortunately even if I found it, restoring it would be cost prohibitive :(

OGR - That is a sweet ride! Funny thing is that wagon was probably less than 10 years old when that picture was taken. Of course my wife has a nostalgic sweet-spot for anything related to the restaurant. Maybe I can convince her to let me buy a Chevy wagon and paint it like that? :D


Ok Mike I don't know why nobody has said this before BUT that pelican that is on what you called the gift shop that never was a gift shop, well it looks a lot like the pelican that was on the front roof of the Kahiki.

And who the heck puts a Pelican on the roof anyway let alone two places with a Pelican in the same spot?

Kinda makes you think.

Now Bill said, "we went to Mexico to get a lot of the decor for the Kahiki" AND the two places opened up right around the same time. They could have also drove by this guy making tikis.

Did he carve that Pelican on the gift shop? Where is that Pelican now?

The one from the Kahiki is I guess in the pile of tiki that Greg and Mellissa bought. Damn I wish I had taken a photo of Lees desk when I had the chance.

Wow it would be so cool to find out if there was any link to the two places.

MrBaliHai I checked with my brother in law about the sign. He has lived on the property off and on for all of his life (55 years) and has never seen that sign. It is long gone.

TikiSkip, that gift shop that never became a gift shop wasn't built until the 90s so there probably isnt a tie between the 2 birds. My father in law has been gone for a couple years so there is no way to ask. But my brother-in-law says that his dad came up with the idea but the inspiration is unknown. That hut has been turned into an apartment and someone lives there. The bird is still flying high in the same place. As far as a shared Mexico connection, I think it's unlikely. We are above the Sea of Cortez side of Baja. Pretty sparcely populated and pretty far from Ohio.

Sign progress - I got the base cut out but realized I drew the letters out too big. Off to the copy shop in the morning to shrink my layout 20221118_161458

Today's progress - painted my sign background, traced out the letters, marked out placent for the tubing holes. Now I have to wait for my EL Wire to arrive Tuesday

20221119_180028 20221119_213010

[ Edited by MadDogMike on 2022-11-19 21:46:36 ]



Great so Far Mike!

I'm not much of a painter but I'm happy with the way these letters turned out. 20221120_193716

Thank you OGR!

Not as thrilled with the palm trees but they will do. Will work on getting it hung up, EL Wire comes tomorrow! 20221120_214231

I'm happy with the direction it's going 20221121_122943

Really looking forward to seeing this lit up!

Me too, I hope it works LOL

Getting close!

This was my letting plan. Holes at the big red dots, EL wire on top of the solid lines and under the board for the dotted lines 314828762_905419357507735_2547631668480075049_n

I am using 3/8 vinyl tubing so I drilled all the holes 3/8. Cut a piece of tubing a few inches longer that I needed for each piece of a letter. Cut a V shaped notch about 3/4-1 inch from one end, measured and cut another notch at the other end and trimmed the tubing 3/4-1 inch past the notch. Sign 1

The EL wire comes up from the back, through the hole, through the tubing, and back through the hole to the back of the board Sign 2

Then the tubing and wire get tucked into the holes to the notches Sign 3

Next I drilled 2 little holes next to the tubing in a couple places to secure the tubing to the board Sign 4

I used 26 gauge floral wire to secure the tubing to the board. It's small enough that it doesn't really show Sign 5

Some of the letters finished Sign 6

This evening I will get a picture in the dark

Now to clean up the back. The EL wire in the back will light up too. If it creates a nice backlighting effect I'll distribute the excess wire around the back edges of the sign and secure it. If the backlighting is distracting I can cut off the extra and cover the EL wire between the letters. Sign 7

Night shot in minimum ambient light. The pic shows brighter than it actually is. image000000

The EL Wire controller had a continuous modes, a slow flash mode, and a fast flash mode. The slow flash mode looks best so I'll leave it there. Here is a bit of video https://youtu.be/QqqbhX6Mp0U

I think I'll clean up the back a bit and replace the battery pack with a plug in transformer. Then call it done.

[ Edited by MadDogMike on 2022-11-24 19:39:35 ]

Great job! What a wonderful tribute as well. Thanks for enlightening me about EL wire, I hadn't heard about it. Looks great!

Looks terrific, and much cheaper and easier to work with than neon. If I could make one suggestion: how about mounting a mini-spot on the left to better illuminate the Tiki Bandido?

coldwarspacemonkey Thanks. That EL wire is easy to work with and fairly cheap - 16 feet was only $12

MrBaliHai Thank you sir. The picture with just the letters showing is with all other lights out (which I never do) The link to the video show it in a more normal nighttime situation, you can see the "Tiki bandito" well with the rest of the lights on. PS - I love "Tiki Bandito"! LOL

We may have sold 99% of our collection but we still have our El Tiki mug that you made for us. Did you keep a pair too? Love the sign, that was so well thought out and accomplished. Love it.

DSCF1811 DSCF1812

Your creative ability continues to amaze me!



That EL wire is great stuff to work with. I have used it for lighting scale model flying saucers I constructed for a friend. I also sewed some around the borders of a Tiki Shirt I wore to a New Year party that looked very effective and added a new touch. Very much enjoy your constructions!

danlovestikis Awwwww, you kept one of mine <3 Yes I still have about a half dozen of those that we use sometimes. I think I have the mold someplace so I could make more if I break the ones I have LOL MaukaHale Thank you TIKIGIKI It was a fun project. That EL wire would be perfect for clothing - lightweight, battery operated, available in multiple colors, and fairly inexpensive

Journey into the mind of a madman LOL I made stuff for my enjoyment, I usually only do one-offs. I don't have the patience for mold making and I detest glazing the same thing over and over. I sometimes use a lost styrofoam armature technique where I make a form out of Styrofoam, cover it with clay, then dissolve the clay out with acetone. 2 minute video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwgTsb6gB98 I don't know if I invented the technique but I have never seen anyone else do it.

Working on a new project, I'll show you the steps but I won't tell you what it is yet. Can you guess? Exotic and tropical, but not Tiki. Origins in Hinduism and Buddhism, found in South East Asia and India

Hot knife used to rough carve from a piece of foam 1

More Carving 2

Smoothed with a rasp 3

Some more foam glued in and shaped 4

Because the outside of the foam is rough and textured, the inside of the mug would be rough - not a good thing. New technique, I wrapped the foam with a flexible plastic tape to smooth it more. Hopefully after dissolving the foam I can grab hold of the tape and pull it out. Any adhesive reside left will burn out at 2000 degrees in the kiln. Yes, I'm aware it looks a bit phallic at this point LOL 5.

Rolled out some clay and carefully layered it over the form. Making sure the clay conforms to the armature, that all the pieces of clay stick together, and that the thickness stays relatively constant. 1 2 3 4

Now I have a basic form that I can build on and will be hollow when the Styrofoam is dissolved

Some details added image000000 (2)

Arms and more detail image000000 (1)

Some pock marks to make it look like stone, still some clean up and detailing to do image000000

Dissolved the foam with acetone to hollow it out image000000 (3)

[ Edited by MadDogMike on 2022-11-28 10:38:53 ]

I loved all those steps. You are so creative. I hope he does well in the kiln.

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