Wooden Fish Weathervanes #5: Shaping the Shape

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Blog entry by woodetal posted 02-15-2019 05:11 PM 1349 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Epoxy and Varnish Part 5 of Wooden Fish Weathervanes series Part 6: Adding the Fins »

Wooden Weathervanes: Fish Story
Part Five, Shaping the Shape Rough Shape: There is a fish under the wood, hiding, waiting to be lured out and set free. But, the fish will not emerge without some coaxing and more time. Sanding, for me is the best way to get there. So, in preparation for the sanding, consider a couple of time-saving options. At some point in time the fish will be mounted and installed somewhere. To get there will be epoxy, varnish and some type of fin material.

EMT and leave room for the epoxy. The hole MUST be plumb and level. So to get to that needed point, a watchful eye on the clamping of the shape to the drill press table is required. Having it square, level and plumb is important otherwise your fish will have a list, left, right, forward or back. I like the fish to appear to be level to the ground and the rebar mounting spire level and plumb.

The example above shows the EMT from the underside installation. The EMT is exposed @8 inches. No real reason. Rebar is not as attractive as EMT? The length appears to assist in the play/wiggle of the outside of the rebar diameter and the inner diameter of the EMT. The longer length appears to allow for free spinning so my needs are met. If the EMT is installed out of balance, the fish will always list/tilt. No doubt the weighting will favor one direction more than another no matter how precise you are on the balancing, drilling and siting of the rebar in the ground. There are just too many variables in the installation. But, if the shape is level to the ground, it is more aesthetic. Balancing the Shape: Pretty straight forward and not scientific. Pick a fulcrum, the edge of a 2X4 and place under the shape, and balance away. Mark the balance point, invert and get the shape level and plumb on the drill press and adjust the depth of the forstner bit and that is done.

Detail of the EMT installed in the forstner bit hole, plumb and level and epoxied in. The EMT could be quite long as some I have and this appears to be a compromise in length. The long and short EMT applications all spin free and smooth. I have tried different methods of installing the EMT: After the varnish and before final sanding. Before final sanding works best as the flat dorsal part of the shape aids in the location of the hole and a nice flush/level installation.

Installed Rebar and EMT: Level and Plumb. The shape is weighted pretty well and the result is a fish that moves in the wind.
Quick Recap: The glue-up and rough shape has been completed. A 3”depth drill for the 3/4OD EMT site is located for the EMT epoxy install. Now, back to shaping.
SANDING: I use a Delta 6” belt/12” disc combo sander to get to the desired shape. Lots of sanding is a certainty. BUT, cedar and redwood are soft so fresh sanding product and the shape is good to go. Using a dust collection system certainly aids in the process.
Next: Part Seven: Adding Fins

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