Box 16 is a Turtle

I never would have predicted this – I mean, boxes are generally not turtles.  I guess there is a kind of turtle called a box turtle, but I only knew that in passing and could not tell you much about box turtles before reading the content in the hyperlink you’ve just passed.  This started because my sister recently sent me a wooden turtle that had come from my grandfather’s house.



I vaguely recall this guy from when I was a wee lad, as something in the set of forbidden things one was not to touch.  Anyway, the turtle comes to my house and I’m honored, that across fifty years finally, it has no better place to go, and now I’m good enough.  But really I’m at peace with this turtle, just being a little dramatic.  Anyway, looking at it, suddenly it seemed like a great idea to make a new one – this is what ADD is all about – there is a wild delight in chasing that next squirrel.

I noticed that quarter-sawn wood would be a very bad choice for this design, as that would taunt the legs to break off at where they join the body.  In fact, selecting a flaw-sawn piece where it was a chord near the edge, such that each of the legs could be with the grain as they came down and out from the body, that would be perfect.  I found a piece of black walnut with just such a grain.  I probably should have taken pictures of some of these intriguing intermediate steps, but I had not thought the exercise would turn out so happily, so my dry text will have to do for a bit.

Getting the face and feet more right seemed somehow important, as if in keeping with my neo-primitive preferences a little worshipful realism might be the thing.  I browsed pictures of turtle tails and turtle feet and turtles faces.  My primary model for the face, just to make sure I was honoring the truth about turtle faces, follows.



And thus memorialized –


My attempt was not to mimic the whole turtle photo, merely to use the face as a way of improving the marginally correct face on the wooden original.  This is a box, and I even stamped the inside using the railroad spike signature stamp I’d made some time back.  The cool thing was, that to make an imprint properly one needs single strong and decisive hammer blow.  I still have lying around my grandfather’s sledge hammer.  I used that.  That made a nice circle, of replicating something he had and applying the signature with the force from his hammer.  Rich and strange are these seemingly desirable associations.


Here he is open before getting the tung and orange oil treatment.



The doing of this went very fast using a jig saw, kutzall wheel via angle grinder, kutzall bits via Dremel, rasp, files, sandpaper.  Ok, that’s not neo-primitive.


There pretty much you have it.  Here he is before donning his shell.


And then two shots of them playing on the kitchen counter.

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It’s one of those things.  I noticed specifically as I was filing the turtle, shaping the neck and head and legs, a certain deja vu, like I’d done this before, perhaps many times before, that it seemed very natural.




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