Cat in the Hat sculpting sequence, page 1 of 5
step 1: cutting slabs from a raw block
I've cut one slab free with a chainsaw, while another is scored on the block next to it. To work on the Cat, I need 2 slabs of about 40"x20". One slab should be about 3 inches thick and the second should be thinner, perhaps 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. The thicker slab will take the engraving and colorfill, while the thinner slab will become a backing plate that allows me to cut a more shallow engraving while also increasing the lifespan of the sculpture.
step 2: preparing the ice slabs
Using a nailboard, I made one side of each of the two slabs as flat as possible. These two flat surfaces get welded together near the end of the process, so I also checked to see how well they matched up.
step 3: applying and using template #1
I used 2 templates of the Cat in the Hat during sculpting. Here, I've applied the first template, and I've cut the outer Cat-shape outline and removed the excess template paper.
step 4: using template #1
Now, I've finished the outer outline by cutting the excess ice away. Also, if you look carefully, you'll see that I've engraved the outline of the Cat himself into the surface of the ice. The engraving is rather shallow as I'm trying to create an inset surface.
step 5: template #1 removal
Using a die grinder with a 10 degree cone end mill bit, I removed the template to reveal the engraved outline of the Cat that will be inset.
step 6: cutting the inset
Using sharp chisels of various sizes, I carved the inset (less than an inch deep). I tried to make the surface as level as possible.
step 7: smoothing the inset surface
I lightly ground and polished the inset surface so that it's as flat and uniform as reasonably possible.