I'm now well into the carving of the Scroll-Head. The left side is now taking shape. I've also carved the drapery flowing around the back of the head. This is in keeping with the particular style of this ship's original figurhead.
The center of the scroll head ("wheel"), is carved at an angle to the ship's bow. In this case about 70 degrees. As it unwinds from the center, the angle is slightly increased.
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I've filled in the back now with timber and machined the interior of both rear drapery sides to an angle of 70 degrees. This is the angle of the bow where the figurehead will be anchored. At no time will these sides touch the vessel's hull, having an approximate clearance of 2 inches, either side.
I've given the figurehead a liberal coating of wood preserver resin
turning the wood a pinkish color. Just a natural reaction.
This has to be liberally applied, paticularly on marine carvings of this nature to ward off tropical infestations, white ants, wood borer and makes the wood waterproof. It also cuts down UV and protects from rot.
I've also driven in heavy oak dowels into the body at key places. This reinforces sections of the figurehead that are not quite as strong as others, e.g. arms, head, scroll head wheel etc.
Photo - courtesy of
Sydney Morning Herald
The Figurehead is finally bolted under the bowsprit. White lead has been used to seal the back of the figurehead, so water will not run down her back, that could rot the timbers over the years.
I've had to work on her at the bow, making a few modifications to get a tight fit and remove tar and scuff marks and re-paint and sand some detailed work that was slightly damaged during the fitting process - inevitable.