It is finished!
Wow, this was a long series of posts. Hopefully one or two of you enjoyed it as much as I did making it. Here are a bunch of shots in various lighting.
Built from mahogany, sapele, lacewood, maple, purpleheart, bloodwood, padauk, cherry, ebony, aspen, walnut, and 150 year old white oak.
My initial inspiration for this was a painting/sculpture I did on canvas and MagicSculpt, which I sold years ago. I missed it and wanted to recreate something like it.

I cut the intarsia background on a @portercable scrollsaw, lumber was all milled on my @dewalttough table saw & planer, arms were cut with @ryobipowertools bandsaw, @dremel(with absolutely critical @saburrtoothshaping burrs), @morakniv 106 knife, and a handful of Pfeill chisels and gouges. Octopus finished with @minwaxusa Clear Gloss and frame with @makerbrandco Simple
Finish. @starbondadhesives CA glue was used in the intarsia and @titebondproducts II in the frame and backer.

Posts during the making of…

View this post on Instagram

“I Hear You Have Crabs: #2” It is finished! Wow, this was a long series of posts. Hopefully one or two of you enjoyed it as much as I did making it. Here are a bunch of shots in various lighting. Built from mahogany, sapele, lacewood, maple, purpleheart, bloodwood, padauk, cherry, ebony, aspen, walnut, and 150 year old white oak. My initial inspiration for this was a painting/sculpture I did on canvas and MagicSculpt (swipe to the end), which I sold years ago. I missed it and wanted to recreate something like it. … I cut the intarsia background on a @portercable scrollsaw, lumber was all milled on my @dewalttough table saw & planer, arms were cut with @ryobipowertools bandsaw, @dremel (with absolutely critical @saburrtooth shaping burrs), @morakniv 106 knife, and a handful of Pfeill chisels and gouges. Octopus finished with @minwaxusa Clear Gloss and frame with @makerbrandco Simple Finish. @starbondadhesives CA glue was used in the intarsia and @titebondproducts II in the frame and backer. … #woodworking #intarsia #scrollsawart #octopusart #cephalopod #makersgonnamake #madeinpittsburgh #pittsburghartist #woodenart #handmade #sculptureart #woodsculpture #woodenart #woodart #woodworkersofinstagram #woodworkingcommunity #handmade #oceanart #pittsburghwoodworking

A post shared by Laughing Mantis Studio (@laughingmantisstudio) on

View this post on Instagram

“I Hear You Have Crabs: #2” Step 14: First coat of gloss on the intarsia octopus! Those colors! The reason I want the wood to be darker and redder toward the back is to sort of simulate light in the depth of the ocean (which becomes more red the deeper you go as the blue gets scattered and filtered out). I want it to feel like he’s crawling out of the frame to get your crabs (crab legs are my favorite food too). It’s not perfect, but I dig the look. I rarely use high gloss finishes, but this is a perfect situation to go with @minwaxusa Clear Gloss polyurethane. Plus it’s what I have on hand and I know what to expect from it. As mentioned before, the goal for the octopus is to have a “wet” look. As with the protruding arms, after this dries I’ll hit it with some @mirka_usa 400 grit (and higher) nets and reapply at least a couple times. #woodworking #intarsia #scrollsawart #octopusart #cephalopod #makersgonnamake #madeinpittsburgh #pittsburghartist #woodenart #handmadeart

A post shared by Laughing Mantis Studio (@laughingmantisstudio) on

View this post on Instagram

“I Hear You Have Crabs: #2” Step 13: Apply finish to the frame. Because the octopus will be glossy to look wet, I wanted a nice natural finish to the frame. So the perfect oil finish to use was of course the @makerbrandco Simple Finish I used on the Three Rivers side table. It has good penetration, it’s super easy to apply, and it lets the wood do all the talking. I also double checked, and this old barn wood I acquired a while back is actually about 150 years old. Check out those ray flecks in this old white oak! I taped up the dowel holes to keep the wood clean for glueing the octopus arms (side note: I just learned that technically, octopuses don’t have “tentacles”. They have arms. Squid have 6 arms and two tentacles, with tentacles being defined has having suckers only at the tip or not at all in the case of nautiluses. Arms have suckers along the entire length.). #scrollsaw #scrollsawart #octopusart #madeinpittsburgh #woodworking #cephalopod #pittsburghartist

A post shared by Laughing Mantis Studio (@laughingmantisstudio) on

View this post on Instagram

“I Hear You Have Crabs: #2” Step 11: finish the frame, add miter splines, and figure out how to attach the tentacles. Okay so we may have taken too many photos just having fun with the tentacle frame. We needed some laughs (see previous post). I chamfered and glued up the barn wood white oak frame, added walnut splines with my tables saw jig, and finally decided to attach the tentacles to the frame with dowels, which worked wonderfully. This will make it easier to apply finish to them before permanently attaching. I also spent quite a few hours whittling those suckers and grinding/sanding them with tiny dremel bits and a whole series of gouges and knives. #woodworking #scrollsawart #intarsia #octopusart #madeinpittsburgh #pittsburghartist #woodenart #woodcarving

A post shared by Laughing Mantis Studio (@laughingmantisstudio) on

View this post on Instagram

“I Hear You Have Crabs: #2” Step 10: Busy my hands and await personal and tragic news. This is a tough one to write, but I’m gonna write it anyway because it’s real life. And because it’s a perfect illustration of how art is a necessary release of stress for me personally. For the past week, my step-father has been undergoing surgeries to replace an infected vascular graft. Several complications ensued and it became clear that his body could not handle it. So I took off work and spent today awaiting the call that they had removed the ventilator and he had passed. The details of all this and what we lost in his passing I will keep to my private/personal page (and I don’t need condolences here). The reason I am telling you this is because this piece I’m making became integrally involved in getting me through today, especially being so far from my family. In between moments of staring at the floor, texting and calling my family, feeling my heart break, and drowning in anxiety, I *tried* to calm my mind by putting my hands to work. I meditated on my time with Jack and what he meant to his loved ones. All of that is now forever in this piece to me. And I simply can’t continue with this silly little “making of” series without including it. I love you, Jack.

A post shared by Laughing Mantis Studio (@laughingmantisstudio) on

View this post on Instagram

“I Hear You Have Crabs: #2” Step 9b: More tentacle shaping. Spent the morning in the shop pre-power tool time (wife and pup still asleep) whittling up the first tentacle in front of a portable heater while catching up on the @madeforprofit podcast. A couple hours later, I started cutting more pieces for the 4 tentacles. By the way, I highly recommend thr @madeforprofit podcast by @john_malecki and @fixthisbuildthat. I’m actually actively avoiding trying to do woodworking/art for money these days. I do this for stress release. But it’s still an incredibly interesting and inspiring podcast just listening to the stories, goals, practices, and mentalities of other makers. I particularly enjoyed the show with @jkatzmoses.

A post shared by Laughing Mantis Studio (@laughingmantisstudio) on

View this post on Instagram

“I Hear You Have Crabs: #2” Step 9: begin building & rough-shaping tentacles! That one tentacle is nowhere close to done (spritzed with water to see color). I’ve only very roughly shaped it. The rest are still in pieces, with several still to cut. You can see how I’ve decided to make these (swipe). I’ve made it tricky on myself by wanting to make the suckers and the ventral side of each tentacle out of maple, similar to the intarsia part. And I don’t want it to be just a straight line as if I slapped a piece of maple to mahogany. So I’m cutting curves on each piece, then matching that curve with the maple (little bandsaw). Then I have to cut angles in the pieces to fit them together. It’ll look cooler once they have more organic shapes. But man they start off ugly!! I couldn’t really think of a better way to have continuous tentacles, curving through 3D space and having two layers following that curve. But I think this will turn out okay. However, it’s gonna be a bitch carving all those suckers! Note: I haven’t put the frame together yet. It’s just taped for now. #intarsia #octopusart #woodworking #madeinpittsburgh #pittsburghartist

A post shared by Laughing Mantis Studio (@laughingmantisstudio) on

View this post on Instagram

“I Hear You Have Crabs: #2” Step 4: Attach templates to the wood while wearing a Chewbacca pajama onesie in between handing out candy to children with @tam_a_ryn. I first put down a layer of @3m packing tape (cheap stuff won’t do for this), then adhere the paper to the tape with 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. I’ve tried multiple methods, glues, and tapes, and this is what works best for me – it leaves almost zero glue residue and I rarely have problems with lifting of the tape. Yet I can still remove it fairly easily and cleanly. Using tape also helps lubricate the blade. This is also when I actually choose the grain direction/figure/color as I lay down the templates.

A post shared by Laughing Mantis Studio (@laughingmantisstudio) on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *