09.07.2012 A Tail of Trial and Error

Ahhh, the equine tail.  A thing of beauty, key to balance and essential to a design, without ever having to be “My Little Pony” about it.

You may recall that the new cutting horse I’ve been working on was first molded with a mere stub of a tail bone.  And no mane.  The reason was that I wanted to see how the resin would balance without it, and then design a tail (and mane) to further stabilize the base-less piece.

To start with I had a scrap of metal craft mesh left over from another project and the “obvious” place to start was to simply attach it to the resin stub with super glue, catalyzed by baking soda.  This is a magic combination to create instant structure.

Additional wisps of “tail” were added with more super glue and baking soda.
My intent was to recreate this cool curly que design I saw in a little photo in a working cow horse magazine.
The three-D design was sketched in by stabilizing the mesh edges with super glue and baking soda.  Then I started to fill in with epoxy putty (by the way, does anyone know where to buy “Gapoxio” putty these days?).
But it just wasn’t working — the balance was off and the poor lil’ dude tended to fall over on his nose.  That’s no good!  So….
Do over — off with his tail!
This time I added top-to-bottom support with sturdy aluminum armature wire.
A quick sanding gave the wire some “grip’ for the super glue/baking soda “cement”.
That’s better! Now I can really test what position and angle best supports the hind end.  To me that’s the key engineering function of this tail design, it must provide a solid column of support for the hind end of the dynamically posed horse — in fact, I don’t want much weight at all on that left hind leg, I want the tail to do the work.
Here we go again, add strips of screen mesh…
Apply super glue and baking soda to set the edges on the mesh.
More mesh. More glue. More soda.  Repeat.
Then fill in between the “glue lines” with epoxy putty.
What’s so nice about the mesh is that a sloppy mix of putty will squish through and really lock things into place.
Inevitably, I over-do the putty and end up dremeling half of it off again. 
 That’s why it’s a tail of trial and error!

2 thoughts on “09.07.2012 A Tail of Trial and Error

  1. Clare

    Brilliant! I love your technique, definitely want to try this. I love this sculpture and I look forward to seeing him all finished with his new ‘do!

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