Let's Dance

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Project by cathyb posted 11-16-2018 05:03 PM 1119 views 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Nineteen years ago, I carved this horse (my mailbox) from Cuban mahogany. I refinished him last week. When I think about decisions I made back then, some were great ideas, other choices could have been better. On the positive side:

I used Awl Grip polyurethane, quite a toxic coating. Since it is so wet in Hawaii, I decided to treat him as if he were a boat. There were initially six coats: the prime coat of white, the first base coat of black, three coats of white and two more coats of clear polyurethane. Of course, there were accents to create a more realistic horse. The use of a marine paint was an excellent idea. Every six years, I added a new mane and tail and one more clear top coat. Finally after nineteen years, it was time for a new finish. I sanded him with 220 grit, the Awl Grip was still holding on well and I did not penetrate the initial finish. I add a new primer out of another, less toxic marine paint, Interlux. Then I sprayed three layers of their top coat. He looks fantastic. I am pleased with the decision to use marine paint on an outside piece.

For the two hoofs in contact with the concrete, there are stainless steel bolts and the slightly raised hoof reveals the bolt. In hindsight, it was a mistake to not add caulk the two hoofs in contact with the concrete. Water from the rains tended to pool around the hoofs and I could see they were beginning to show evidence of wear. This time after the repair, I caulked around those two hoofs and will pay close attention to this remediation for any further wear. This was a negative. In addition, I did not trowel the finish on the concrete base, so water was able to remain longer on the base. That was a mistake. Initially, I did not paint the base, another shortsighted mistake. I will now keep the base painted to prevent water from penetrating the concrete to create a moist surface under those hoofs. For the most part, this finishing experiment had a positive result. I would strongly suggest marine paint for an outside piece, it holds up well in a moist environment.

Have a great weekend and upcoming Thanksgiving holiday,


-- cathyb, Hawaii,

20 comments so far

View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3571 days

#1 posted 11-16-2018 05:17 PM

great carving. impressive project. Carving a full size carousel horse is on my to do list.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View oldrivers's profile


2626 posts in 2720 days

#2 posted 11-16-2018 05:26 PM

My, He is beautiful! What did you use for the main and tail? And how are those attached?

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View fivecodys's profile


1742 posts in 2789 days

#3 posted 11-16-2018 05:49 PM

Now that is one fine mailbox Cathy!

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3948 days

#4 posted 11-16-2018 05:57 PM

He looks young and handsome. Absolutely beautifully done.
He’s definitely a winner.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View cathyb's profile


844 posts in 4397 days

#5 posted 11-16-2018 06:14 PM

The tail and mail are real horse hair from England. The vendor is the rocking horse shop. I think the website is The price was just $92.57, including shipping. The quality is excellent.

It really is fun to carve carousel art. The glass eyes are from Van Dyke’s, I used deer eyes to get the size correct.

Have fun out there….

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View ClaudeF's profile


1327 posts in 2860 days

#6 posted 11-16-2018 09:07 PM

Nice work! I think your choice of marine finish was wise!



View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8087 posts in 4506 days

#7 posted 11-17-2018 01:00 AM

Wow what a magnificent project Cathy! Nice work!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View ralbuck's profile


6753 posts in 3419 days

#8 posted 11-17-2018 03:11 AM

Now that is one fine mailbox Cathy!

- fivecodys

Still looks like a COLT— Great mail box!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View shipwright's profile


8733 posts in 3951 days

#9 posted 11-17-2018 05:20 AM

Loved it the first time I saw it (was it here or your website?) and I still do.
For a long lasting hard living exterior finish you just can’t beat linear polyurethane be it Imron, Awlgrip, Endura, or any other. I’ve used them a lot (mostly Endura) with great success. It’s not the cheapest or easiest but your pony deserves the best.
Great piece Cathy!

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View cathyb's profile


844 posts in 4397 days

#10 posted 11-17-2018 06:52 AM

Thanks guys. Tomorrow is my Christmas fair, at my home. It is raining and windy out there. Get it over with already and bring some sunshine tomorrow :)

It is true Paul, those marine finishes are expensive and you must become adept at the application, but they last and last!! I love them better than any other finish I have ever used. I did wear my hazmat suit when I sprayed the AwlGrip. The Interlux didn’t seem as awful, so I only wore my painter’s smock and hood with my respirator.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.



-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View hoss12992's profile


4180 posts in 3046 days

#11 posted 11-17-2018 11:08 AM

Wow. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Peteybadboy's profile


3634 posts in 3103 days

#12 posted 11-17-2018 12:18 PM

That is cool! Has the post master general approved it?

-- Petey

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4487 days

#13 posted 11-17-2018 12:35 PM

It still looks brand new even after 19 years of being exposed to the elements. Pretty amazing and beautiful work too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View CampD's profile


1832 posts in 4639 days

#14 posted 11-17-2018 01:17 PM

Wow that’s beautiful and after all these years still looks brand new.
Good luck at the fair!

-- Doug...

View shipwright's profile


8733 posts in 3951 days

#15 posted 11-17-2018 02:28 PM

Check this out Cathy.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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