Resin Update

Thank you all very much for your input on what to do with that chunk of maple burl. As George Bush said, “I’m the deciderator and I’ve, uh, what?”

I like (still) the idea of doing something Dune-like. I loved that book as a kid, and I always thought that it had a great visual sense behind it (I’m talking about the book, which creates vistas in your mind’s eye, not the movies, which created acidic churnings in my stomach) – so I decided to do an experiment and then I’ll try for a full-up version eventually.

It turns out that on Ebay there are people who sell 3D printed sandworm models. My mental image of a Dune sandworm is based on the original cover art, but the 3D model is based on the 80’s movie (which is still worth watching).

It doesn’t look like much. But, when it gets here I’m going to flip it around and send it to kestrel, who – you may recall – does amazing painted horses and manages to bring them to life incredibly well. [affinity] I’ve already checked, and this plan is approved, so I’m not surprising kestrel by outing the idea here. Anyhow, I may sand the base away on my belt sander before I send it, so I can just drill a hole in the wood and glue it in, then rough some “sand” around it or something. Or maybe I’ll just send the whole thing to kestrel and see what happens. To me, that’s the best part of artistic collaboration: you have basically created a pleasant surprise for yourself.

Since I’m not going to have an infinite supply of these model sandworms to work with, I thought I should try to get the atmospherics approximately dialed in before I try for the finished version. So, this is what I did:

  1. Made a red/pearl wash layer and poured it over the burl. It almost completely ran off, as I had planned. This is probably good because it was way too pink.
  2. Poured a clear layer covering most of the piece most of the way to the top. I let that gel for an hour and swirled bubbles out.
  3. Made a red/ochre/pearl “storm” layer and added that to the top, then did a vortex swirl with a chopstick on one part of the scene

That’s it. Because the container I used is a plastic bottle with a textured inner surface, the resulting resin object has a textured surface that makes it very hard to see what’s going on inside. That makes this all a great adventure.

The next stage will be to flip it upside down and pour a puddle of resin at the bottom (it’s recessed) and put a disc of 3/4″ thick plywood atop it. The plywood will serve to hold screws for the base-plate which mounts it on the lathe. When I did the Icecrown mountain egg, I discovered that if your base is really solid and you mount a chuck ring on it, you really don’t need a tailstock center (but I’ll probably use one, anyway) especially when you’re doing your final polish.

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I have several chunks of burl from the same piece of wood, so I expect to do a couple of these sorts of pieces. I also liked the other suggestion of going all dark and gothic, and I may do that, next. Still trying to think of how to make a galaxy swirl. I have some holographic flake chunk and maybe some blue pigment, over a “landscape” that is black with white caps.

In case you are not familiar with Patrick Stewart’s story about working with Sting when they were making Dune it’s pretty funny. I suspect Stewart is not as clueless as he makes himself sound, but that’s one of the hallmarks of a good raconteur.

Also worth a mention: there is an excellent documentary about Jodorowski’s artistic vision for Dune. It’s the movie that should have been made. But it was the 80s and CG wasn’t where it is, now.

And, unrelated to all of that: I heard a story from a literary friend that when Frank Herbert submitted the manuscript that became Dune, it was huge and full of digressions and quirks that detracted from its story. The editor at the publisher took what amounted to a gigantic turd and polished it into a great gemstone of magical beauty. Subsequently, being a “best selling author”, Herbert insisted on editorial control of his subsequent work, which is why there was never another masterpiece. That story, which I believe, inspired me to formulate my theory of best-sellers, which is that you can tell the best-sellers by hack writers because after their first best-seller, the next book is twice the size of the first one. Or, they begin to balloon with each subsequent book. I’m looking at you, J.K. Rowling, Diana Gabaldon, Tom Clancy, Neal Stephenson, and Frank Herbert. Great writers manage to be consistently concise and on message. Perhaps the best examples of that that I can think of are Terry Pratchett and Iain Banks.


  1. Jazzlet says

    Oooooh *jumps up and down with excitment* glad you are going with Dune for at least one piece. And yes that isn’t my idea of a sandworm, but there we are.

    Thinking you are too popular or too big to edit always suggests to me that the author is not a professional. All of my favourite authors have talked about how helpful and vital the editing process is to the quality of the final work, which shows in the quality of what is finally published.

  2. says

    Ohhh, that’s going to be amazing.
    I’m wondering how much the pearl pigment will affect the transparency of the object

  3. says

    I’m wondering how much the pearl pigment will affect the transparency of the object

    Me too. I tried to only swirl it into the “dust devil” but that stuff gets everyplace.

  4. kestrel says

    Ooooh this should be super fun – and it almost looks gigantic, compared to some of the things I’ve been painting. I’m anxious to give it a go!

    I too loved Dune the book and still sometimes say “Kul wahad!” For the most part, no one gets the reference or understands what the hell I mean. Oh well. Not the only time that happens.

  5. voyager says

    Oooh! This is going to be fun. I hope you and kestrel both take lots of photos.
    Dune is one of my favourite books, but I never read the sequels. I’ve been thinking I might try one, but you’ve just saved me the heartache and bother.

  6. dashdsrdash says

    It’s not just books. There are any number of great albums where the followups make it clear that having a producer editing down the excess was necessary.

  7. says

    There are any number of great albums where the followups make it clear that having a producer editing down the excess was necessary.


    Sometimes you get a rare genius who can do it all perfectly on their own, but for mere mortals, everyone involved in a creative work has some kind of influence on it. No doubt there are plenty of cases where a collaborator has made things worse, but some creative producers appear to be really important to the overall sound of an album or a track. For example, Daniel Lanois’ production on Emmylou Harris’ and Robbie Robertson’s work definitely improved it (and its sales). There’s also a guy named Bob Rock who crops up here and there, but he appears to be the guy who produced Metallica’s black album and defined the band’s crunchy sound thereafter. I forget who it was, but I read somewhere that Alanis Morrissette’s distinctive sound on Jagged Little Pill was pulled out of her by the producer. And, then there was Phil Spector’s work on Madonna’s sound…

    I really love watching the “behind the music” movies about how some great albums were constructed. It’s fascinating to see how a collaboration comes together. It’s also a great reminder of how incredibly much goddam work it is to produce greatness.

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