Keystone

Gargoyle

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Thread starter #1
Haven't been around lately, it's been pretty busy this year. I just stopped by because I thought some of you would enjoy this. I finished it yesterday. The stone block is 36" tall, 22" wide, and 18" deep, Indiana limestone, and weighs about 950 lbs (ok, so maybe I work a little bigger than you do). It's a keystone for an arch over a spa area in a client's back yard; water will cascade out of the mouth, into the spa, and then down to the swimming pool.

A bit bigger than the wonderful greenman on the watch cover that Paul Lantuch just posted, and a little more cheerful (my client didn't want it too fierce), but still links to the same tradition. I pulled in a bit of an acquatic theme with the seashells mixed with the scrollwork.
 

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sam

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#3
Wow, Arnold...that's fantastic! It's amazing to see your large carvings, especially since most of us to postage stamp-sized work! / ~Sam
 

Gargoyle

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Here are some progress shots. I use both mallet and pneumatic hammer; the chisels are the same either way. Mostly hand forged steel, but some carbide tipped chisels. I mainly use the carbide for the heavier roughout, they don't have the live feel or delicacy of the tempered steel.

Final thing I did, after these pix were taken, was to core a 2" diameter hole 18" long from the mouth through the back- it will have a lot of water flowing through it. Can't wait to see it installed and hooked up and get some pix with the water cascade!
 

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Peter E

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#7
I love that kind of sculpture. Fantastic looking gargoyle. I'm sure the new owner will be thrilled with it.

Pleasure seeing it.

Thanks,
Peter
 

Roger Bleile

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It' good to see you posting again Arnold. I have always gotten inspiration from classical stone sculpture. And yours is top shelf. In fact, Dr. Harris, in his book "Gun Engraving as Decorative Art" opined, with some authority, that gun engraving styles are mainly based on early archetictural stone carving. Especially Islamic styles. It must be nice to work on a large scale instead of in minutia like we do but then you can't work in your basement or at the kitchen table!

Roger
 

KCSteve

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Wow! Those progress shots give a much better sense of size. That thing's huge!

And yet it still manages to hit the balance between size and detail.

When doing your layout do you do side views as well as the face-on one(s)? I imagine that for something like this you have to do at least a simple sketched side view to make sure everything - including the water line - wind up in the right place.
 

keykeeper

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#13
Beautiful work, a splendid work of art.

Being made of limestone, does water cascading through the mouth tend to erode any of the features around that area? Would probably take years of constant flow, but just curious.
 

Gargoyle

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Arnold, the mask is magnificent, in time, getting patina, it will look even more beautiful.
What kind of stone it is?
Indiana limestone.

Being made of limestone, does water cascading through the mouth tend to erode any of the features around that area? Would probably take years of constant flow, but just curious.
If it runs constantly, in a few decades we should see some wear on the teeth and lips. But it won't run constantly, so it's not a worry. (around here, even if he runs it 24x7, that's only for 5 months a year).
 

Marcus Hunt

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#17
Amazing work Gargoyle. I love the range of stuff we get here in the Cafe.

What I find very interesting is that you use a pneumatic chisel. This has often been an argument I have used in answer to the 'air assistance is cheating' brigade. I ask them, if Michael Angelo had had access to a pneumatic chisel to rough out his sculptures do you think he wouldn't have used it? I think your carvings answer this question. Thanks for posting this thread.
 

Gargoyle

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Thread starter #18
I ask them, if Michael Angelo had had access to a pneumatic chisel to rough out his sculptures do you think he wouldn't have used it?
A sculptor I knew in Italy in the 1970's used to say that if Michelangelo had the pneumatic hammer he would have left twice as many sculptures unfinished. :)

I have several pneumatic hammers from 1902/1903. They were introduced for stone cutting and carving in the mid 1880's. In what other field do people think you're taking unfair shortcuts and cheating if you incorporate 100 year old technology?

I do feel strongly that apprentice stone carvers need to start with the mallet and chisel before learning the pneumatic; probably for the same reasons with engraving? That way you learn to feel the stone, and you have greater flexibility, a wider vocabulary of tools and techniques. I use both mallet and pneumatic every day, picking up whichever is more appropriate for the particular cut or stroke I'm doing at the moment.
 

Gargoyle

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Thread starter #19
The masons installed the keystone today. Water will cascade thorugh his mouth, into the spa, down into the pool, and across to a zero edge at the end of the pool, then it will be filtered and recirculated.

I still have a few more carvings to do for this wall, including two 18" diameter medallions with dolphin heads for the round openings on the sides.
 

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Tira

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#20
Thanks for posting Gargoyle! That is very cool. It must feel great to see it finished and installed. Great work!
 
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