I finally "branched out" (pun intended) to try my hand at a more substantial carving: a critter. I say "critter" because this is more of a Disney-type animal caricature figure and not a realistic carving. This piece, because it was a heavier, and not a soft wood, was a challenge. I hope to graduate to chain-saws, but until I develop my skills I have to learn to be content with attaching a chainsaw blade to my 5in grinder. That is how I started this carving.
The grinder attachment removes a lot of wood very quickly, perhaps too quickly. I am learning to go slowly and apply very little pressure because the chain really grabs the wood. I used a vise to hold the wood while I roughed the shape I wanted. The snout was a branch and that feature became a recognizable nose as I turned the piece over in my hand. That was the starting point. The eye brows where simply areas where the chain gripped and cut into the wood. Although these cuts were roughly where I envisioned the eyes to be, I have learned to go with the flow and used those deep gashes as the eyebrow ridges.
From there I used the Dremel tool and a few assorted burrs to continue to remove wood to define and shape the animal. I experimented with various strikes and blades to get the fur effect I wanted. The wood had a natural darker tone on the interior and this became a workable feature too, allowing for some natural light and dark. I finished the piece with a Min-Wax product called Puritan Pine stain. Thanks again to Greg Douglas for donating some sample stains for these projects.