When you have a wood shop you start to feel like you can make anything. And I have a small wood shop (for now – expansion under way) so I’m inclined to make things that fit in my work shop with room to still move around. SO MANY of my ideas are from my husband mentioning that he thinks something is cool. We tend to think a lot of things are cool. Unfortunately, oftentimes, the coolness bubble pops when we realize that cool thing is made of plastic. Now don’t get me wrong; plastic itself is cool but when you expect something to be made of wood or it’s made to look like wood it is something of a letdown when you discover it’s plastic.
…SO. That’s how I ended up trying to make a monkey butler/monkey statue/monkeythatholdscandyonatray outside an office door.
For these odd projects I always start with what I have – and in this case it was bits of 2 X 4 leftover from framing the basement and doweling to tie pieces together (didn’t want to use screws if I didn’t quite know where I was going to be carving). So I start doweling chunks of 2 X 4 together to get a basic shape. There are – fortunately – dowels going through the ears and into the head. Make sure that any appendages like ears and arms have a secure connection to the main portion, especially if you don’t know the humidity levels of where this thing will end up.
I put the most amount of detail into the face, hands, feet, and bowtie. The torso got very little work but no one ever seems to notice. I used a wood hand carving set, some wood chisels, a dremel tool (mostly for face), and the vertical belt sander on my combo unit. Once I decided it was done I sealed it all and painted with acrylics. I also added hair to the head and face with lots of black acrylic paint added to gesso. One of the monkey’s arms is behind his back and he has an opening in his hand to hold a wooden banana. Personally I thought the bananas came out really lifelike. The other banana alternates between sitting on the tray and sitting at his feet.
I added a base under the feet because I realized that if someone went after the sweet tray with a lot of gusto they might easily knock the monkey over. It must have been a big enough base because it’s never been knocked over during a snack attack, nor any other attack that I know of.
You might be wondering why his arms are so different from the original chunks of wood. Well. That comes down to artistic license. As I worked on it I realized what it was supposed to be. That OFTEN happens with projects I work on and I suspect that happens with other’s projects as well. So one of his arms got wrapped around his back and the other came up to hold a tray. The tray part was easy. Dollar Store purchase with a piece of elastic bolted to it so that it wrapped around his hand.
The monkey is so popular at my husband’s office that coworkers dress it up for holidays.