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Tiki Central / Tiki Carving

NEW Benzart Black Jade Marq 3-6-14

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Greetings TC Land FIRST, here is a link to my Last Thread which was bursting at the seams with over a hundred pages.
Here is a link to MY THIRD THREADStarting July2 2007

Heres the link to myMY SECOND THREAD starting Feb 02 2006

Heres the link to MY FIRST THREAD starting in Feb 02, 2004

Some links to Previous pic's posted which Shutterfly changed the links to and are empty boxes in the old posts:

Now down to the real work. Seems like forever since I've picked up a tool!
Finally did a wee bit of a tiki here this weekend. I found a guy on My Space who used the spines from a large sea urchin for some tiki pendants and thought why Not. The stuff is a bit strange and fairly Soft, almost like that Areated concrete but different. anyway as I was roughing out the body I broke his neck by dropping him on the cement floor so I just finished the head alone on this one.

I think sherry likes this one for herself

[ Edited by: Benzart 2014-03-09 07:14 ]


Nice one, Benz!
Sooo small!
Does the sea urchin spine have that sea urchin smell?

WOW! You're insane and that'sa good thing. Sea Urchin spine? THAT is pretty cool. If you haven't seen that video I posted in The Viral Video thread I'll send it to ya'. The artist paints sooo small he uses a hair from a house flies back as a brush. Your getting close to him. You need a microscope?

[ Edited by: Jungle Trader 2009-03-22 21:22 ]


AMAZING!!!! Give a real expression of life in a so small piece...amazing! I will rename my thread: big carving from france :lol: ...
Your new work worth the time to wait. Sorry for the broken body, but you have yet some materials and so as much promise of new things...

Geeze Ben!

Freaking amazing!

The size of a quarter!

What's next, a grain of rice! :wink:

Wonderful detail in such a small package... and way to expand the possibilities of new carving materials!

Not trying to muscle in on the 'little' market are you BenZ? :wink: Very nice to see you here and with a new thread no less. I hope this means you have a swag of new stuff to show us? Id better stick around and see if I can keep up this time..

Best wishes,


Thanks Bowana, yeah the size of the spine was very limiting. Oh YES, the SMELL, definitely took me right to the rocky Biscane Bay shore, with crabs and dead sea animals and all kinds of flotsam laying around. Not a really Unpleasant smell in small doses and these spines had just enough to make it interesting. I wouldn't want to chew on it for sure.

Digger, Thanks for the kind words, and No, I haven't seen that video, paints using fly hairs for his brush? I would definitely need a microscope for that size But this is about as small as I think I want to go, though I May want to do a pendant/earring set some day. Yes I am A few doors Past Getting insane.

Thanks Laojia, your comments from So Far away are very Welcome, I appreciate your kindness. I originally started out to make this guy very shallow because the material is so soft and Unknown. It seems the only strength is in the outer shell which is pretty hard, but Inside it is much like damp(smelly) chalk. So when I broke his neck I figured I would just go as deep as I felt the guy needed to be realistic.
This one won't be sold because I would rather test it out first and since Sherry really liked it, she will be the guinea pig.

Thanks Lake, I appreciate your enthusiasm but I think I'll Eat the rice and carve other things. This is about as small as I'd like to go. though smaller on a harder material would actually be easier.

WOAH, Who is this Tama guy, Welcome back. Actually you can have the "Little" market, this stuff anyway was a real pain not knowing weather the piece would survive with Every touch of the tool!
I don't know though, working small definitely has advantages like no heavy lifting, storage space is cleared, Much less mess But I think the old "Box" would get More populated as it doesn't take much of a slip to erase a nose or an ear.
Nice seeing you here Sir!


holy schmoly benz! that guy is amazing. the amount of detail you put into something that small is truly great. i've seen the video jungle trader speaks of and that guy has made and painted a piece that fits inside the eye of a needle. bvut back to you just amazing benz. hmmm.... the amazing benz, not a bad ring to it.



Oh wow. Very tiny and very cool! I can't believe you even fit your name on the back.

Check this out Mr. Wizard!!

it's hard enough to draw that small
but carve?!?!
You're incredible,Ben!
and on a Sea Urchin spine no less...

GROG posted on Mon, Mar 23, 2009 8:49 AM

Hey Ben - you got some amazing detail with that spine - great deep carves. Did you ever get to the hollow center? The ones around here are pretty brittle - was it hard to keep from snapping, or does that species have a little more sturdy spine?

Great work Ben, you are constantly amazing us!


Thanks Big Daddy, He didn't start out so small. Just now watched that video, in Total Awe!

Thanks The BigT, Of course I had to fit my name on back or it wouldn't be a "Benzart" now Would it! :o

Digger, Thanks, that IS Truly Amazing as is the Selling price for his life's work. 22Mil$, maybe i Should go Smaller?

LLT, Thanks for the comps, Drawing small is like carving small, you are only limited by the size of the tools and the media.. Yeah, Sea urchin spines,, Always Loved'em.

Grog, Welcome to these parts. Thanks for the warnings I'll have to make sure to hide it when the 3 year old are about. :o

Polly, Thanks for the kind words, you know me, Deeper is Better! These spines are solid but very porous. When the head broke off I was able to see that there was not a hollow center, it's kinda strange stuff. When I was done I coated it with 3 coats of shellac which all soaked right in, like it was a sponge. I'll do some progress shots on the next one.


spines from a large sea urchin? Really, wow! I didn't even know they have a spine, where, how?... Sounds like a Lovecraft story!

Nice one, Benz!
~Great to see some new carving!
and it looks great too

WOW! What a way to start a new thread! I like the mild mannered little hat he's sportin'!


:o OK Benz, how did I missed this one yesterday? I was on here for a few minutes in the morning and then right off to work. Never checked back in last night when I got home.. Good to see you started a new thread, finally. Wendy is lucky to have this one, sweet.. Good thing he didn't break off right in the middle of his head! :lol: I also love the little topper he's sporting. :lol: Looks very familiar. I've seen some thing like that before somewhere. :lol: Oh yeah, on one of the cartoon shows.. :lol: Next please!


Hi Clarita,Light of my tiki Candle :o So happy ton see you here and Yes seaurchins have Mean, Nasty Spines built for Self-defence. so here are a few different shapes and sizes. I'm not sure there is a Love story here except many sea creatures Love to eat urchins and a few have found ways to get past the spines as we all know. Thanks Clarita! :D

Tiki Dudley, Thanks, Nice seeing you hangin 'round again too!

Thanks Surfin', That cute little hat is a hard part of the spine, Polished to a fine surface where it connects to the body or "Test" of the urchin. I guess it is connected with tendons and muscles much like our own to allow it a limited movement or motion.

Thanks T-Paka, fro the kind words of wisdom and the feel goods too. Sherry Loves this little guy and just had to have him.Not quite finished with him yet tho. That little topper tidies up that "securing" end of the big stick so it will have a strong base to wildly swing away at predators trying to defeat and eat him.

Thanks everyone, I'm Really happy you like him as I really thought he was neat but I never know.

Also many of you have heard I was supposed to have shoulder surgery this past Tuesday, well it's been Delayed once again due to this nasty cold/flu bug that pops back up after I'm off antibiotics a few days. this has been going on since the end of November, Thanksgiving actually. I just started the 10th round of Antibiotics and had 6 rounds of Prednisone and it Still's coming back> I'm feeling a little bit about the guy who was murdered by a Spoon. You had to see it to know.Anyway its getting really OLD.
More Later
Love ya's


Very cool Ben and different! Stay well, take time to heal



WOW, Benz, this moai looks really awesome, Sir.

Can't wait for an update 'cause you seem to be a "little behind" in your work :wink: :lol:



Oh,Thanks, very cool! I get it now, there are a bunch of species of sea urchins, I didn't know that, I only knew this one

And I've meant to say, it sounds like a H.P. Lovecraft story, he was an American science fiction/ terror writer (1890-1937)
That was obsessed with the idea that real life it's not comprehensible by the human mind, that the world is meanly alien.
That all human history happen by chance, because this planet really belongs to the huge alien creature that is asleep under the ocean, and that when IT wakes up, the real destiny of the world is going to take place.
He has some stories, where people find remains of alien civilizations that took place way before our time (I mean human time)
He had very interesting sci-fi/ terror ideas, and his characters where always fighting between 'seeing the truth' and madness...
Some of his stories are very good and very scary, others not so good really.
But he managed to create his own sci-fi/ terror universe and I guess he is one of the main influences, among Edgar Alan Poe, on terror literature of today.

I hope you feel better soon, (go away bug!!!) try to eat a lot of vitamin C, that would help a little... Sending you a lot of energy from the south!! (but don't use it all to carve, save it to feel better!) and a big hug!

My Space

[ Edited by: Clarita 2009-03-27 08:31 ]

Hey Benz,
Great start on the new thread. Realy surprised on the sea urchin spine. I do have some sea urchin shells lying around wich I caught as a kid on a holliday.
I then learned there are not only sea creatures that like em as food. I sold them to tourists who ate them like you would eat an oyster. Alive and right out the shell :o
Hope you feel better soon.


Your thread is more and more interesting...thank's a lot for information and pix!
Take care of yourself for the surgery of the shoulder, the Michael Moore's movie "Sicko" make me more afraid that HP Lovecraft...


Well Thanks Grapa-ru and loajia your kind words and comments make me feel like carving up a storm, :o :D :P
It is hard typing with my left hand so I won't be saying much but I'll be hanging around watching you guys.


hey benz,
hope you feel better and hope the reason your typing left handed is that you had the surgery to repair your shoulder. good luck and take care of yourself.



Thanks Big Daddy.......
Oh Yeah, I Finally had the surgery to repair a torn Rotator-cuff last Tuesday the 31st and timed it just right between the out going cold and the incoming. the nurses mentioned that I was a bit congested but they worked thru it.(how nice!) Anyway the surgery went well and I'm supposed to be in this arm sling 6 to 8 weeks but there is a lot I can do with the sling on my arm,,for instance the level of my arm wearing it is just the same as the bench where I carve, So I'll check it out today before Pt and see how much it limits the work/play action.
More later.

laojia posted on Fri, Apr 3, 2009 6:35 AM

Just one day after and you get back on carve, incorrigible you are! Be careful to a good healing...


WOW, you're a hero !
Take care of you Benz, because we need frequent "Benz fix" to feel good here on T.C.
Rotator thing is on the shoulder isn't it ? Does this mean no more Chainsaw :( ?
I can hold it for you if you need :wink:

Best wishes for your healing,



Great work on the urchin spines, very cool. That little guy has alot of character. Hope the healing happens quickly and permanently. Our best to you.


Didn't forget, just didn't See..
Thanks Amy, Nice to see you 'round againI'm feeling Much better now

Thanks Benny Yes I'm a bit Behind in my work but haven't been working on the cute "Behinds" like you've been (Butts!)

Clarita! Thanks, I feel Better Already :D Scary story tou are telling us about but it seems your urchin is in the Deep Sleep and all thats left is his Test which is what his skeleton is called.. When they lose their spines it's Good-bye Mr Spiny! :o :lol:

Grapa-Ru, Thanks, I Appreciate your well wishes. Eating Raw Sea Urchins??? Have you ever seen the insides of those Slimey things? :(
Thanks Laojia Appreciate the kind words. I've had too many surgeries to want to see Sicko 'cause I know I'll need more and I don't want to be any more afraid than In am. Just seeing and Experiencing the Ineptness by the caregivers of the local Hospital puts enough fear in my mind!
Thanks again Laojia, I did a lot of work actually the next day after getting home.

Benj, Thanks but a Hero I'm not, I just carve and make sawdust to keep from losing whats left of my mind. :o :o
No chainsaw for a couple months anyway but I have LOTS of other tools I CAN use to make neat stuff! Thanks for the offer,, umm you want to hold the chainsaw for me while I hold the wood or something dangerous like that? SURE, C'mon Over, we'll work it out.. :D Thanks Benny

DrGoat, Thanks for the comps, The spines are neat little gadgets and I'm Glad I decided to cut some up.

Thanks to Everyone for thair messages and prayers and everything, It means a LOT, HappyHappyHappy
I did start another spine and also a piece of Ebony and here's the stuff. Also there's a small jade chief I'm doing up.



:o Geese Benz, your pieces are getting smaller and smaller. I guess they're easier to grip and hole on to. These are all nice, but that piece of jade is starting out with a nice shape going on.. So you must be feeling better even with this handy-cap slingy thing.. Keep it up and you'll be carving that 6' tiki for me yet. :lol: Then you can put it in your car and bring it up to me.. Oh sorry, I'm must have been dreaming. :lol:

GMAN posted on Sun, Apr 5, 2009 5:47 PM

yup. youz gone to the other side. that's nutz! welcome to nutzville.

Nutty, NuTZviLLe! That spine is awesome...that is quite a micro-headdress! Daaaa-yum! Oooooh, and that jade is a nice piece...don't mess it up!! HA HA (I've never seen ANY mess-ups from you..someday I wish you would, so I know you're a mere mortal!!)


Good to see your work again. Im loving the lono's!

Ben, Outstanding micro work as always! Simply phenomenal and exquisitely detailed. One question for you, do you have to give out magnifying glasses just so people can enjoy your work? Happy Carving.


Oh you don't behave at all! how did you do all that with a bad shoulder and all?! Super cool stuff!!! that head dress it's impressive

Hey Ben- I just checked out your latest stuff. It's been way too long since visiting the carving section, but I love the new ebony piece along with the carved shell spines! So intricate and beautiful as always! I enjoy having my cool Benzart pieces displayed in my office, and admire them daily.

Babalu posted on Tue, Apr 7, 2009 3:20 PM

Holy Cow Ben!! All of this work is coming along soooo sweetly! I can't wait to see what the next week brings out of your workshop there - DANG!

I can't get over how much fine work is happening on TC lately. You, as always, lead the pack!


so you and the doc's that patched your shoulder up hooked up and now you are using their microsurgery equipment right? next week you will have a line of uncle benz fried rice tiki idols on the shelf next to the rice pilaf totem poles. amazing stuff you do. once again my hats off to you and the marvelous work you do.


Thanks Benz, now I need surgery to get my jaw back in place. All of these are amazing so far, so it will be a lot of fun keeping an eye out for updates. Raw sea urchins are not my thing either, but selling them to tourists when i was a kid was a great way of making money. Stay happy & healthy


Lace on spine urchin!!! Amazing! Like so your little ebony piece...I see that you don't go slowly, you could boosted with surgery? Who can follow?? :o :D


Benz glad you are feeling better. Great to see you producing your fine art again!!


Thanks Everyone for the great feedback,
T-pak,THANKS! it may seem like things are smaller, but just the spines and there won't bee too many of those i think.
oh, and the jade guy i actually started before the surgery. And i'm not feeling too much better in fact that bit of carving set me back a bit, seems too many pills allow you to do things your doc and body don't want you to do, even using the computer which i'm down to left handed.

GMAN tanks brudder, I've been on the Other side for a Long time now, you just got here? :o

Thanks Surfin',The 'Micro headdress" looks good from a distance but did you notice there were No Macro's of it? Looks pretty ragged, Lots of fixin' to do. No Mess-ups? You haven't looked into my "Box of 80"? Again the jade piece was Pre surgery, glad you like it.

Thanks Seeks, I Know how much you love the Lonos but mine could Never compare to yours, but I'll try.

Thanks Tiki Lizard,Happy you like my small stuff and they Won't come with mag glasses yet but Who knows? :D

Thanks Clarita, Don't talk to my Doc, Glad you likeee.
(Your Bamboo's are Terriffic!)

Thanks Sam, Glad to see you over here on the Other side, I Know how hard it is to get over to the Other side when there's way too much happening on your own side and it's getting worse! Glad you like the new stuff and of course I look at my "Gambino's" Every day too, you are on that Higher plane which is lightly populated, your art is inspiring.

Bab's, Thanks for the kind words, hopefully I'll be able to do a little more in a few days. You are right about all the art stuff really there seems to be an Explosion of great art happening on both sides here and Yours is right up there on top too! HappyHappyHappy.

Thanks for the Ideas and props Big Daddy, however my doc won't let me Near his toolz at least until I behave and get healed, He's not happy with me right now!
Thanks again for the kind words.

Grapa-RuHa, Thanks for the comps and I Apologize about the Jaw, but I'm sure it won't be bad. They say you can just poke a hole in the urchin's shell and stick a straw in there and eat'um that way so you could eat those after your jaw surgery :o

Laojia,Lace on a Urchin spine Sounds neater than it is but Thanks anyway, the ebony one will take the slow road as that was Hard stuf. I'll be working more as the shoulder gets better, Thanks for the comps and well wishes. :lol:

Keigs, Happy to see you around these pages, Thanks for the kind words, good to see you carving more TOO!

Thanks again everyone, Hopefully I can get well enough soon and get back to the Good stuff and not let you all down. I will be posting the latest 'Benzart Fix" as soon as I can,, Hang tight!



OK Benz, it's been almost a week! Are you back to feeling better or did you push your self to hard and now your in need of more rest? I hope you've just been to busy carving more great work? And if so, update us please.. :)


Thanks T-Pak, Yes I Over did it a bit and have really had to be ultra careful, More later though and I'[m OK

I've been lurking on TikiCentral for too long without finally posting and sharing some mana'o. It's an interesting take on ki'i punohu / ki'i wana that you're doing here. The detail is quite incredible. Still, my favorites are the ones I've done, which attempt to resemble the original ki'i punohu that was found at Kamohio on Kaho'olawe, given a little artistic license. Nowhere near the amount of detail that you have achieved, but I work with a file and a pin to work things out.

For anyone who is unfamiliar, ki'i punohu is the phrase that we use for carved pencil slate (Heterocentrotus mammillatus) urchin spines. They're a particularly interesting thing that is peculiar to Hawai'i, specifically to Kaho'olawe, as the only examples that have been found, to date, were there at a fishing shrine. Some people have postulated that the one piece with a fully carved face is possibly Ku'ula, one of the akua lawai'a, fishing gods. Three or four other punohu spines were found in the same small shrine with some details carved into them, but only one had a well-defined face. I have provided a picture below of some contemporary examples that I have done.

Here is a link to pictures of the original ki'i punohu, courtesy of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum: http://www.hawaiialive.org/realms.php?sub=Kai+Akea&treasure=373&offset=0



Thanks makrogore, for the kind words and First of all a Big Welcome to TC! I'm Really happy you finally decided to chime in and add some Photos of your "ki'i punohu". I agree yours are Way better than mine. I have not delved into the ancient History of the Islands as i should and have Never seen any ki'i punohu before. I saw someone on My Space carving tikis on these urchin slate and then I ran across some at a gift shop in St Augustine ,Florida and I purchased only 3 when I should have taken the lot of what he had. Your examples are showing Incredible detail and I personally know the challenges of carving the spines so deeply, but what a difference. I will carve my last spine more in line with the example shown on the Bishop Museum link you kindly provided. Big thanks for those links too!

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