Calendar collection

I’ve wanted to make the Star Wars Aztec calendar ever since I first saw it, but it’s taken me awhile to build up the knowledge and skills to finally make it. After getting it to work, I went on to make four more: the Marvel, DC, Norse, and actual Mayan/Aztec calendars! It’s been a great learning experience, so I thought I would share what I’ve learned for those that would also like to make them.

First, I have to give credit to Tim Celeski for his YouTube video on finishing. I initially tried to paint these gold and then cover them with black acrylic paint which was wiped off. I felt this left the surface vary dark. So, I switched to Tim’s technique. I start by sanding the MDF to 400-600 grit to make it very smooth. Then I spray it with shellac. I find this gives me a crisper carve. Once carved, I spray a primer (I use grey), followed by flat black. I use Rub n’ Buff metallic wax finish in silver or gold applied with an old t-shirt. I finish it off with another coat of shellac.

I started carving using my Amana 90 degree vee bit which worked ok. I tried an Amana 60 degree see bit, but it didn’t do well. On a recommendation from Instagram, I bought a new Whitesides 60 degree bit (1541) which works great! I couldn’t get the Star Wars design to work with Carbide Create, so I did all of these using Vectric Aspire.

Credit for the designs goes to: Nopal, Sandyeggo, and Story_Board_Draftsman.

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I recently made the DC, Marvel and StarWars that are 19 inches around. Each took about 12 hours to complete. I too used the Rub and Buff and have since used on a bunch of other stuff.

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Obviously, your (and @gdon_2003) finish is the best I’ve seen. There must be a lot of “hands on” with the gold, based on a leetle bit of that stuff that I’ve done. I got it everywhere before I quit and went back to a sprayed on finish. Any tips on how to keep it away from the black background?

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Mine are all 14", and only took 2-3 hours to carve.

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You have to be sure to thin the Rub n’ Buff with a few drops of mineral spirits. Then use just a small amount to rub on the surface. I tried paper towels and shop towels, but those tended to shred or leave fibers behind. An old cotton t-shirt worked the best.

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On my calendars I would squeeze about a quarter inch of Rub and Buff and then 2-3 drops of mineral spirits. Mix well with popcicle stick on card board or thick paper… Use a thin rag, a textured rag like micro fiber won’t work. Dip rag in rub and Buff and in a clean area rub in a circle. Use this area over and over. This makes sure you don’t have too much paint on your rag. Then move over surface of project. Do not try to get full coverage on first swirl. This stuff dries fast and you can go over an area again till you get the coverage you want. If you have too much product on rag you smear it down in the v carving. Use a light touch and repeat as necessary. The harder you rub the more you get it down the carving.

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I started with the cloth method and was experiencing accidental contact in the carving. Fat fingers and poor fine motor control :disappointed: I switched to using a Brayer (rubber roller) like you would use for inking type or a surface plate. I put a little Rub n’ Buff on a piece of float glass and thinned it a very little with mineral spirits to get the texture right. It worked great. It wasn’t fast, you’ll need to go over it a few times to get the coverage you desire, but it was simple. I also waited until it had dried before buffing with a soft smooth cloth. These are 23 inches across, using advanced Vcarve so the pockets are flat bottomed and about 2mm deep.

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Its always the case. The machine work never finishes the project. Its only a part of it. The real art comes in when the finishing materials come out.

Great job to you finishers! +1

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These are stunning guys, thanks for sharing your finishing process!

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