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Hard Maple "raptoro" RSS Feed (McCall, ID USA)

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Odd Thomas
Odd Thomas
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Just a little too cheesy, February 19, 2014
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This review is from: Odd Thomas (Amazon Video)
I liked the movie, found it follows the book well (though I haven't read it for a few years). I did find the acting just a little too cheesy (or hammy, maybe) for my tastes. But it was still able to elicit an emotional response from me at the end. Overall a pretty good movie.

The Portrait in Clay
The Portrait in Clay
by Peter Rubino
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.78
119 used & new from $8.11

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars for Beginning Artists, December 27, 2010
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This review is from: The Portrait in Clay (Paperback)
I am trying to get a hold of as many books on sculpting techniques as possible as I live 2 hours from the nearest college, so this is how I have to learn. While I also gave Katherine Dewey's "Creating Lifelike Figures in Polymer Clay" a high review, those techniques just don't translate as well into sculpture as I had hoped (though her discussions on scaling and proportion do). Peter Rubino's "The Portrait in Clay" is an excellent step-by-step beginner's guide to sculpting portraits. Its broken down into 5 sections.

The first shows you the basic techniques on a generic head.

The second section is a brief section on tools. Its brief because he doesn't use very many tools.

The third section shows sculpting with a live model. The photos (the failing of far too many scultping books) are clear, detailed and actually show the area being concentrated on. They are not perfect, but still do an excellent job (you sometimes have to skip ahead a couple of pages to see what the current step looks like when completed).

Section 4 is a detailed discussion of the individual features of the face: nose, eyes, ears, the mouth and chin. Part of what makes this book good is that during the first and third sections, he refers to these sections with page numbers so you are not just flipping around. However I think he could have merged sections 1 and 4, or at least put 4 after 1.

Finally Peter details the finishing process: hollowing, firing and applying a patina. I must reserve judgement here. It reads good, but this is for water-based clay and I work in oils so I can't really comment on it.

Books like this create a difficulting when attempting to rate them due to the differing abilities of the potential reader. So for this I will say 5 stars for the beginner, it has everything you need to make a good portrait in clay. You might even make a few bucks off what you learn. For the intermediate I would call it 3 stars because there is probably something in here that will make your process a little easier or more accurate. For advance artists, I doubt you will find much of value.

My criticisms are three-fold. First, the artist's finished portrait created during this book doesn't look like the live model. But I think this is due more to the artist's eye than his techniques. Second, it doesn't offer any methods for smoothing the work to create more lifelike texture. And third, his patina finishes are, in my opinion, way too heavy-handed. He attempts to create the bluish effect of aged bronze, but really ends up just painting it blue.

Again, a great book for the beginner, the best I've read so far.

Sculpting in Clay with Dale Power (Schiffer Military History)
Sculpting in Clay with Dale Power (Schiffer Military History)
by Jeffrey B. Snyder
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
37 used & new from $0.98

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could be the best book for absolute beginners, November 23, 2010
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I will say this book was initially difficult to rate. The point of this book seems to be to quickly get your hands dirty. It offers a couple of different armatures that are quick and easy to make (especially if you own a bandsaw and tablesaw). His pictures are in color (always better than B&W for instruction) and good for the most part. But based just on the reading of the book, I would have given it 3 Stars. He explains the armatures quickly, flies through the steps of sculpting, and offers absolutely no help in refining and finishing the work.

But I waited to review it until I started actually working through the book. I am glad I did. All of the three things I mentioned above remain true. But they are no longer negatives. Armatures really don't need a lot of explaining. Wires or wood shaped in a very rough version of the finished product and used to support the clay. That's all an armature is and therefore no verbose explaination required.

There are other books out there that break down all of the finite details of sculpting. But for some beginners, it may be too much. Dale Power basically says put a glob of here, here and here and shape into a nose, mouth, chin or brow. Later, when you have some basic techniques, you can plan out your works and details. But today you are a noob, so grab some wire and some clay and start learning some simple techniques before you let your mind get in the way of your fingers. This is the genius of the book. Why be worried about how to remove fingerprints and produce a finished product when for the next several weeks or months your work is going to be recycled back into the clay bucket anyway? Once you progress to that level, then learn those techniques elsewhere.

This book is about getting clay on your hands and creating something recognizable within minutes of opening the cover. And with that as its goal, it accomplishes it perfectly.

The Figure in Clay: Contemporary Sculpting Techniques by Master Artists (A Lark Ceramics Book)
The Figure in Clay: Contemporary Sculpting Techniques by Master Artists (A Lark Ceramics Book)
by Lark Books
Edition: Hardcover
35 used & new from $15.50

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh..., November 23, 2010
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I bought this based on all the high reviews, but I am sorely disappointed. The book has 9 chapters devoted to an individual artist. Within each chapter are three offerings: a discussion by the artist of art history, technique and/or inspiration; a pictoral explaination of their technique; and a gallery of their work and invited artists.

The gallery: I see a collection of artists' photos such as this as intended to inspire creativity and desire to create. Unfortunately for me, the work of the "invited artists" was almost universally appalling. Scooby and friends naked on the toilet, smoking dope and reading comics while calling it "US Interests" is neither inspiring nor particularly creative. Everybody has their opinion and this is mine. If you agree with mine, this is probably not the book for you. If you think this sort of subject matter is genius then here is a book full of "genius".

That said, I do not wish to decry all of the works in here. Adrian Arleo's "Honey Child" is brilliant and "Plumage" is inspiring, all of Christyl Boger's sculpting is magnificent (though not necessarily her finishes), Justin Novak's "Disfigurine (Competition)" is very interesting, and I enjoyed Nan Smith's work with casting and molds.

The techniques: The pictoral guides are moderately helpful. The techiniques discussed are rather limited however. You get Coil, Coil + Pinch, Slab + Casting, Coil, Slab, Pinch, Casting + Molds, Coil + Form, and Coil + Pinch (notice a theme?). The book should be released under the name "The Figure in Coiled Clay" so people won't get confused into thinking this book has more to offer than that.

The discussions by the artists: this sort of thing is hard to judge because each artist speaks in a different voice that is heard differently by each reader. I won't even attempt to offer a review or judgement of these parts because of the individual personal nature. In reading all 9 of these accounts you may find only one sentence that speaks to you (or more than one even). But if that sentence is the one you are needing to see or hear to get you started, then this book was priceless. So I offer no guidance or judgements on these parts.

I wouldn't call this book bad, and is probably useful to some. For me it is nowhere near the top of my list. If you want an extensive collection of sculpture books this one should be included eventually. Or if you are interested in the Coil technique, this may be the best book out there (I really couldn't say). If you want a short list of books on proportions and techniques, this doesn't belong. It therefore appears that I am more of a Classical Sculpture fan, I find very little to motivate, inspire or interest me here beyond the few I mentioned previously.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2010 6:01 AM PST

Creating Lifelike Figures in Polymer Clay: Tools and Techniques for Sculpting Realistic Figures
Creating Lifelike Figures in Polymer Clay: Tools and Techniques for Sculpting Realistic Figures
by Katherine Dewey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.75
88 used & new from $9.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best I've found on the subject, November 15, 2010
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I will start by saying I actually see this as 4 1/2 stars. But the two 1-star reviews unnecessarily drag the rating down so I chose to rate on the favorable side to help offset those two. For any conspiracy theorists out there, give up on the government stuff and start focusing on sculpture books. There so few good sculpture books out there that it has to be conspiracy. I have found only a couple worth owning and this is the best in my collection. It gives excellent instruction on proportions and locations.
The author's use and description of Basic Units and Modeling Units is brilliant (don't know if she created it or borrowed it, but who cares? Its here and that's what counts). Its devised in a way that allows you scale your projects up or down. The base sculptures presented are 1:6 scale (6' model is 12" tall). Using Base and Modeling Units, I successfully sculpted a baby to go with the adult by scaling to 1:24. The book is loaded with diagrams showing legs, arms and torso in direct proportion to the size of the head (the first element in understanding human sculpture).
The book begins by showing how to hand-build the essential tools using readily available items and clay for the handles. Whether by design or not, it gives the fledgling artist a starter in clay use without creating the intensity that may accompany the actual sculpting. The author then uses these tools and refers to them by name each step at the beginning, then less so as it moves along. This gives the artist the chance to experience most of the tools early, but lets them go with their natural extincts as it moves along.
Also of benefit in this book and the unit system is how the author breaks down the differences between men and women's bodies, and those of average vs. large (i.e. fat) bodies. Her system of foil armatures is in some ways superior to wire armatures (the armature decision is based more in what the project is intended for though, as full wire armatures is not very practical for figurines like this).
The downside of the book (why I would actually give 4.5 instead of 5.0) is that a few of the photos are either from a poor angle or there is one photo where there should be two or three. This is not only common in sculpture books, its almost epidemic. But the number and quality of photos in this book outshines any other sculpting books I currently own. The other negative of this book is the chapter on clothing. I would call it almost helpful. In the beginning of the chapter, it brilliantly shows how to attain texture in clay clothing. But the clothing choices the author makes for the book is either simplistic or antique. Great for those wishing to make characters from the past or fantasy realm, but I haven't a clue how to make T-shirt and blue jeans after studying the chapter. I had to learn that on my own (although not always a bad thing).
I still highly recommend this book for fledgling clay artists, even if figurines are not your ultimate goal (mine is bronze sculptures). I also recommend the author's other book, "Creating Life-Like Animals in Polymer Clay", though I would work through this book first. It offers tools and clarity that the animal book lacks. Together, they make an excellent pair for new artists.

No Title Available

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worthless junk, October 7, 2010
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It definitely boosted the signal, from 56% to 90%. But what good is a strong signal if it won't connect? Not only would it not connect to my secure network, it wouldn't connect to my unsecure network, nor any of my neighbors' unsecure networks. The manual is worthless and the manufacturer's website is worthless. In summary, its worthless.

The Settlers of Catan
The Settlers of Catan
82 used & new from $75.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Even your parents will like it, December 16, 2009
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This review is from: The Settlers of Catan (Toy)
2-3 a month my parents come over and play board games with my wife and I. This year we just decided to all go together and buy a new game instead of exchanging Xmas presents. I chose Settlers of Catan after playing it on the internet several times. Since no one else came up with a suggestion, Settlers won by default. We opened it the other night (so its not Christmas yet, I can live with it if you can). Let's just say it won over a 50, 61, and a 75 year old. My wife is even talking about sending one to my sister's family for Christmas.

I did have some issues with the board hexes not fitting within the border properly. I'm going to try trimming up some of the edges (removing the tabs from where attached to the shipping boards) and see if that goes better. As for overall durability, its not the toughest material but if you don't use the pieces as frisbees they will last for many years. Its a board game, they are meant to be laid flat on a solid surface.

Cooking Mama: Cook Off
Cooking Mama: Cook Off
Offered by DealTavern
Price: $17.55
165 used & new from $0.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lame!!!, September 20, 2009
What a snoozer. Its the same repeative motions throughout the game. You peel a couple of vegetables, then chop them, then fry them with a shake of the Wiimote. And for the challenge segment you touch the salt shaker, wait a few seconds, twist the Wiimote, wait a few seconds, turn the Wiimote, wait a few seconds, click on a leek, wait a few seconds, twist the Wiimote...I think you get the idea.

On a scale of 0 = terrible and 100 = greatest game ever: as a game its a 10 (out of 100), as a cooking tutorial its an 11 (out of 100). The music is the same rehash garbage from every other cutesy Japanese game. But what astounds me is Cooking Mama's voice sounds a Japanese girl trying to speak English with a German accent. It amazes me how well she pulls that sound off, I sure hope it was intentional.

When I say pass on this game, I mean pass it through the window into the outside garbage can. It will stink up your kitchen if you throw it away inside.

Rockler Router Table Box Joint Jig
Rockler Router Table Box Joint Jig
Offered by Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
Price: $79.99
2 used & new from $79.99

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent jig for fast, tight joints, April 12, 2009
I just finished making 6 drawers for my own desk with this. I figured it would be a good place to practice since the joints would be essentially hidden and I would be the only one using it. The first problem I ran into was there is no slot for the router lift kit socket even though I have a Rockler router table kit. But I won't mark this against the product rating since it was easy to remedy (you are already using a spiral up-cut bit anyway).

The next issue was that the backer slider is just a drop-in piece so you have to be careful because it likes to rock a little. I find it essential that you joint the bottom of the backer wood you use, not just throw any old piece of scrap on there.

I used the Precision Brass Setup Bars from Rockler(why no sizes stamped on these Rockler?) for setting up and it was very easy to do. The first pieces I cut used the 1/4" bit Rockler sells with the jig (sold seperately). For whatever reason (poor setup or execution on my part, or the bit was just too small) the joints came out pretty loose and unattractive.

But instead of returning or abandoning the jig, I ordered a 1/2" bit from Amazon (1/2" x 1-1/4" x 1/2"). This time when I made my test cuts, it fit so tight I wasn't sure I could get glue to stay on the pieces while assembling them. Then I cut all my drawers and they are just as tight.

That is why I decided on 5-stars. Any difficulties I had are easily remedied by anyone with a small amount of woodworking skill. But I highly recommend getting a soft-faced dead-blow mallet too (not a black rubber mallet) and carefully read the back page of the instructions. Once you cut the first piece, you have to reverse it to line up the second piece. Just glancing at the pictures will mislead you (another good reason to always use test pieces).

Lamello 144010 #10 Beechwood Biscuits/Plates Box of 1000
Lamello 144010 #10 Beechwood Biscuits/Plates Box of 1000
Price: $47.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good biscuit, inaccurate advertising claims, December 26, 2008
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They seem to work good. They do what they are supposed to and hold tight. And they are not as moisture sensitive as other brands seem to be. In fact when they ship they are just machine dumped into a cardboard box with no air tight plastic bags or linings and still are completely unswollen and usable. I am subtracting a star because I don't know exactly what they base their 0.0013% on (probably premature swelling) but I would say probably 1 in 20 are too broken up to be used. And by my definition, they makes it somewhere about 5% defective wasted biscuits. But that probably still beats the other brands.

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