Carved Dog Shaped Moneybox from Welsh Cherry, African Blackwood and Bloodwood

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Established Member
14 Feb 2016
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Nr Cross Hands, South Wales
Apologies in advance for the verbal diarrhoea, but i thought it best to get the describing out the way and then just post all the photos in the rough order it was all done, so feel free to skip the writing and go straight to the photos.

My mate has just had his first child, so to mark the occasion i decided to make a nice gift. They have dogs, so i thought it would be nice to make a dog related gift. I thought a moneybox would make a nice gift, so i thought i’d look and see whether other people have ever made dog shaped moneyboxes before, so i saw the two dog shaped moneyboxes below and though that a dog shaped bandsaw box could be a good shout…



So the moneybox i was going to make was supposed to be a fairly straightforward bandsaw box… but i ended up going a little over the top and taking a deep dive into carving for the first time!!
So one of their dogs is a Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi, so i decided to try and (loosely) base the moneybox on the rough shape and proportions of a Corgi. I thought some Cherry would be a good shout, so i had a couple of bowl blanks of some local Welsh Cherry which was ideal.
So i first cut out the body shape on the bandsaw, glued it back up and used the bobbin sander to sand the inside shape.
With the body roughly cut out i could then decide in the proportions of the head. The head was my main focus, as that would give it the most personality.
I can sometimes be a little bit opportunistic when it comes to tool purchases, so if i see a great deal on something i’d love to try out or may need in future (and if finances allow) then i’ll buy them then, even if they sit around for a while before i get a chance to use them. So a couple of years ago i bought a bunch of different carving chisels and a veritas carving vice with all good intentions of giving carving a good try, but until now i’ve been busy on other projects which weren’t really well suited for carving. Apart from some letter carvings which were inlaid, i’ve not done any other carving work, so this was the perfect opportunity to give it a proper go. Please note that i have no idea what i’m doing, so it was all very “work it out as i go along” with how best to go about doing the carving work!

So i sketched on a piece of cherry the shape and size of the head which i think would look ok compared to the body that i cut out, and rough cut that on the bandsaw. I then screwed the underside onto the carving vice and made a start. I made a lot of use of my knew concepts fret saw to cut out a bunch of waste before going at it with carving gouges. After nearly every step i re-sketched on the shape and location of various features.
I got to the point of roughing out the shape and location of the eyes, and then decided that it would be amazing to not have to colour of paint anything and use natural colour wood for a few things. So i decided that it would be ideal if the nose would be made from African Blackwood, of which i actually had some little bits of scrap lying around after making some African Blackwood hinges a few months ago. So i turned it on the lathe so it had an integral 6mm dowel on the back which would sit in a drilled hole to keep it in place. I left the nose oversize so i could shape it down.
As i already learned from making the hinges, African blackwood is not the easiest of materials to work by hand due to it’s brittleness, so i carefully sanded the rough shape of the nose using the belt sander, and finished off the rest of the shaping sanding by hand. I used a ball end burr on the dremel tool to make the indents of the nostrils, as i didnt want to just drill deep holes and also risk ruining what i’d done as it was so small and very brittle. Once the nose was shaped i carefully drilled the hole and used the nose in the hole to mark out exactly where to cut out to house the nose so it looked fairly organic/integral.
I then thought that the eyes would be idea made with a similar method, so i cut these out on the lathe again, but this time also turned a dome shape for the eyes while on the lathe. The only thing is, the eyes are not perfectly round, so i rough sanded the shape before chucking back up. However, different from the nose i also thought that the eyes would look better if they were more shiny/polished, so i used some pen turners microcrystalline wax while it was still on the lathe. Similarly to the nose, i carefully drilled the holes and used the eyes in the hole to mark out exactly where to cut out. I’m pleased how they turned out!

Similarly to the nose and eyes, i went for a natural colour as close as possible to the tongue, so decided to make the tongue from some bloodwood, which it actually very pink in colour with no finish. I had turned myself some stationary pots for work out of bloodwood a few months ago too, so i still had a scrap of bloodwood which formed the tennon on the bottom of the pot, so i used that to cut out the tongue. As the tongue would stick out i wanted to make it as strong as possible, so i decided to curve the tongue along the curved grain lines. I rough cut it on the bandsaw, shaped it using the belt sander and finished sanding by hand after cutting out the centre sort of split line using a v-gouge.
I then carried on shaping the head with carving chisels/gouges, leaving the ears until last. This project was all encompassing, so i was even dreaming about improvements i could make, so i literally chipped away at it for a long time.

For the sides i had some perspex which i wanted to use to cover the sides, so i cut a 5mm or so sliver off of each side of the body, and used the router table to cut out a rebate for the perspex to sit in. The sides were then glued on with the perspex in place. My veritas twin screw vice comes into its own when it comes to evenly clamping together something like this!
The trouble came when it came to deciding how to figure out attaching the head to the body! It took me a while, but i used the superglue masking tape trick to fix a piece of mdf to the base to try to keep the head parallel, and after getting rid of most of the waste on the bandsaw i then painstakingly, trial and error, tried to shape the neck to fit the curvature of the body. It took a lot of finessing, and it’s far from a perfect joint, but i’m pleased enough with the result. I also turned some cherry dowels on the lathe which i used (with difficulty) to drill through the inside of the body into the head, so it has a mechanical fixing of sorts, not just relying on epoxy to keep it in place. I had to drill through via the hatch i cut out on the underside.

Moving on to the hatch on the underside, i managed to find some excellent quality mortice locks which were more or less small enough for this. The mortice lock didnt come with a receiver plate, so i made this using some brass plate, bending the plate in the vice and cutting out the mortice lock slot using a small drill bit, rough cutting out with the fret saw and filing to final shape/size. It’s not perfect, but it worked well and keeps the bottom hatch in place tightly with no slop or play in the fit once locked.

So the next challenge was how to fit the legs. This was done using cherry dowels similar to the head. So i made sure that i used two dowels per leg to prevent any possible movement/swivelling and hopefully prevent future breakages. Again the legs were roughed out on the bandsaw, waste removal using shinto rasp and fret saw, then gouging to finished shape and surface finish.
I originally thought it would be a great idea to make the tail as part of the key, so the key slotted into a hole in the tail to keep it in place, but alas there was not enough thickness of wood left in the body! So i decided to hide the key in the underside of the tail and attach the tail with magnets, so the tail is not only the key’s hiding place but it’s also waggable :)

Apart from sanding the inside of the body and sanding the eyes, nose and tongue, not a single piece of sand paper touched the surface of the dog, i just love the chisel gouged texture finish!

And last but not least i branded my ‘makers mark’ to the hatch on the underside, so it’s not ‘in your face’ or on display. The hatch wasnt flat, so i decided to see about recessing a shallow flat hole to accept my makers mark, the trouble is i didnt want to use a forstener bit due to the centre point, and i didnt want to use a router as i risked messing it up, which would affect the continuous grain between the hatch and the body! So i ended up using it as an excuse to have a play on the metal lathe. I turned a sort of hole punch of the correct diameter to accept my makers mark, and hammered that in place as a good definitive outline for me to use carving chisels to cut out the shape and create as flat of a bottom as i could. Although not perfect, it worked great for the branding iron!
Although not expecting the baby to be playing with the dog, i still used food safe oil to finish the dog. And hey presto, a the moneybox is done! It was a pleasure to make and thoroughly enjoyed the process. Although i haven’t timed it, i know i’vr got well over 50hrs into this project, but time well spent if you ask me :)

Thanks all for the kind comments. My mate and his partner seemed to be really pleased with it, which is what matters :)

Your fabulous little dog really needs a stick in his mouth! He came alive at that point.
That would probably have been a good shout. The lollipop stick was only there to wedge/clamp the tongue in place while it was gluing
That's really cute and very well made. What a lovely gift!