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W C Greene
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From the outset, I know that there will be just a few freerailers who will want to make saguaro cactus plants. I have wanted a bunch of these majestic cacti (cactusses?) for a long time and have looked at and spent money on "scale replicas" that failed to melt my butter and ideas to make them have taken an inordinate amount of Muj's and my time, we have thought of and tried several methods to make the plant. Making wire armatures with plaster covering, clay models used as masters for rubber molds..all time consuming and still not quite "right". Well, while I was watching "3:10 to Yuma" the other night, I got an idea...why not carve the things from balsa sticks which I had a bunch of stashed away. So, here it is. It takes longer to explain than to make.



A balsa stick is carved into a tapered dowel (roughly) and a coarse Xacto saw blade (or other) is dragged lengthwise to simulate the "ribs" in the trunk.



Here, an "arm" is being carved from a stick. This will be rounded and the saw will be run lengthwise also. Be sure to use a fresh #11 blade to do the carving.



The "arm" is glued in a small pocket made in the trunk. Peach Head is not amused as I use medium CA to glue the part on.



Here is a "finished" cactus. I inserted a small piece of wire in the bottom to help when I "plant" the cactus. I see the old man has moved, I must be bothering him. You can add "arms" where you want but it helps to look at photos of real saguaros and don't make them all look alike.



Here's an old cactus which looks like a bunch of sticks standing vertically. I made this one by really attacking the balsa with the saw...it has that dead look now.



And here's the saguaro cactus "forest" I am working on. these are not glued down and I will mess with the ground cover some more to get the "look". I didn't spend much time making all these, just some nice sittin' and whittlin' in the sun. I painted them in various greens and gray, none are alike. Now it's time for some more.

 

Sullivan
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Very nice tutorial, Mr. Greene...

They look really nice in the 'flesh', too.

"And that's all I've got to say about that."

                                          - Forest Gump


 

Last edited on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 08:52 pm by Sullivan

Herb Kephart
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Have no idea what a real one looks like, so will have to go along with the experts.

What are you going to use for leaves?


Herbie :old dude:

Sullivan
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Herb Kephart wrote: What are you going to use for leaves?



 

       :shocked:    .....uuuuuhh.....

Durn troublemakers!

wclm
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Great looking Woodie. Doesn't look like they need much water so the leaves should
not be a problem. First time I have ever seen tongue and mortise on cacti though.   
                                                                   :us: Clif K

W C Greene
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Well, I seem to have satisfied my "craving" for these cacti, something I have wanted for quite a while. The leaves? Saguaroes have millions of tiny spikes that have the same function as leaves so that's the botany lesson. On the models, the act of carving and scritching the balsa causes tiny fuzz and that represents the leaves or spikes. That's my story. I am going to make these in a spring setting with some flowers (when I figure that out) and a few birds sitting on the tops.

Clif-the morticed arm joint is easier to glue together, the soft balsa gets squished and fitted before I do the glue so the nicely cut attachment point is pretty much hidden and then with some glue here & there, it is gone. Making these things is really fairly relaxing and now I may have the problem of making more than I really need, unlike when I used to make trees...never enough!

Dwayne
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Herb Kephart wrote: Have no idea what a real one looks like, so will have to go along with the experts.

What are you going to use for leaves?


Herbie :old dude:

http://d-daze.blogspot.com/2011/03/this-photo-of-saquaro-cactus-near.html

W C Greene
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http://phoenix.about.com/od/arizonapicturesandphotos/ig/Saguaro-Cactus/

Here's a link to some more cactus stuff. Some of these saguaros are really outlandish and I think that I will go outside now and carve up a couple of more. I noted that in these "forests", there were many "young un's" which didn't have any arms, just look like trunks coming up 10-15 feet or so. That close up of the spines is a good one, I don't know if I will do spines, I got fuzz already.

Stickboy
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Your cacti look great!

I seem to recall a nugget of information along the lines of the saguaro cactus does not get it's first "arm" until it is about 100 years old. I know they are protected, and damaging them is a serious offence. Good work!

Phil

W C Greene
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Phil-you are correct..they are protected in Arizona. If they catch you digging one up to take home, the authorities may send you to Gitmo or some other high security prison. You can drink a beer in a bar with your sidearm holstered but if you touch a saguaro...well..."git a rope"...

W C Greene
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Now, fellow cacto-files...here is how I figured out how to make flowers on these plants. First, a nice photo of the real deal, courtesy of the internet.



You can see that the flowers are on little "stalks" on the top of the cactus plant. I will not try to make the scale bees but will add a bird on one or two plants. The flowers on this one are white.



I found these tiny "lil pins" from some forgotten ship kit, Model Shipways made them but they can probably be found at the craft store.



The pins were stuck into the top of the stalk and one arm, I thought it would look more "natural" with 3 or 5 flowering stalks. Then I put some Aleen's Tacky Glue around the pins and painted them with green paint.



Then I put small dabs of the glue on each pin head and stuck some Woodland Scenics flower material on the glue. Pretty simple and since the pins are separate, the little flowers are separate also. I believe some flowers were yellow and red also, depending on the type of saguaro, and I will do some more with white and those colors also. I will try to not go banannas with this project, but it does add some color to the scenery. How about this?

Stickboy
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Bravo cactus master!

down under
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very nice woodie they dont need leaves
cheers kim

wclm
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Woodie

  Pretty clever and it looks great.

                                     Clif K

Si.
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Howdy Woodie :cb:

Are the Saguaros growing well on the new layout ?

Just took a look a your 'green fingers' step-by-step.

N i c e result !

The damn miners can't use 'em as tunnel-props...
...there must be a good few about !

:moose::moose::moose::moose::moose::

A def. 5 mooser !!

Si.


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