Fat rat

fat-rat-4

Here is my newest creation.  At 2 1/2 cm tall  by  3  3/4 cm long he is sure to be the smallest rat in the house.

The eyes and nose are inlaid with purpleheart wood.

fat-rat

fat-rat-3

This is my second attempt at a tagua rat.  I sold  the first one several  months ago.  I had planned to make another,  but I did not think it would take so long to get around to it. This one is different.  They are all different.

I could not carve the same thing twice if I wanted to.

Now I will need to carve a tagua cat to take care of my rat problem,  sheesh!

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8 Responses to “Fat rat”


  1. 1 Bill Grimes July 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I love this post, made me smile, almost tricked me into thinking it was easy to carve a tagua rat. Wow, purple heart inlays, displayed on a purple heart board. Great carving, great story. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. 2 matthewgrimes July 16, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    This rat caused me a little grief when I was sanding it, he jumped out of my hand and skittered across the floor. Happens a lot when I sand them. It tells me they are getting pretty smooth at that point. He must have landed on his ear because it was chipped in half. I have never had one chip before. Luckily I had carved the ears big, so I just shortened the other ear. Now they may be a bit small.

  3. 3 Mike Collis July 23, 2009 at 3:26 am

    Matt,
    This website is very,very good.

    Your work, I must say isabsolutely incredible , well done.

  4. 5 Lori Ames September 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Hey, I just started carving tagua nut, and I was hoping to pick your brain a little bit. First off…how do you anticipate the hole in the middle? Also, how do you do the inlays? I assume there’s some kind of glue you use…just any kind of superglue, or…epoxy? I’ve seen some carvings elsewhere, and some spots are darkened, is it possible to achieve this with, say, a woodburner? I really love the material, I’m working on a simple Thor’s hammer to begin with, and maybe a future one will be inlaid with runes. Do you have any suggestions on how to seal the wood that’s inlaid? Sorry for all the questions, but I have been looking up and down for info on this, and I haven’t found many answers. Thanks so much 🙂

    • 6 matthewgrimes September 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      Okay lori, good questions. It’s hard to know where the void will be, or even how big. If your lucky it’s just a hairline crack. If your not lucky its a pit that you could put the tip of your finger in. If you were to slice off the tiny bump that is on all tagua nuts you would see a narrow channel running into the heart of the nut, so the void is never right next to the hole, it is always at the end. I know, that confused me to.
      Dark spots could be burned with wood burner or could be friction burned with rotary tools. My favorite way is to use the skin of the nut for the dark areas, but that is not always possible. I don’t worry about sealing the wood for inlays and yes I use super glue. Just make sure that you have the inlays the right size before you start applying glue, it dries fast.
      I should do an article on the anatomy of a tagua nut someday, with pictures of a nut cut in half showing the inside. I think that would bore the daylights out of most people, but there are always the few like yourself with the desire to create, who might get something helpful from it. I realize this was all very vague, let me know if you have any more questions.
      Last thought, be willing to ruin a few. I know I sure did. Have fun.

      • 7 Lori Ames September 21, 2011 at 1:15 am

        No, it was very helpful, thanks so much for the quick response! I don’t mind ruining a few to get the feel for them 🙂 I’ve been doing chain maile for…hmm…almost 10 years now and I’ve screwed up more than a few jump rings, some in precious metals. It just kind of goes with the territory, I think. What kind of wood would you recommend? I really like the look of the red woods and olive wood, they’re both very pretty. On a very practical note, I’m right handed, so I hold the nut in my left hand and carve with my right…do you use any kind of glove etc to keep from gouging your hand if you slip? It’s happened a couple times, and since I keep the knives and things nice and sharp, it takes a lovely chunk out of my finger. Any suggestions? And again, I really appreciate the help 🙂

  5. 8 matthewgrimes September 22, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I don’t wear a glove. I tried it a few times but I found it difficult to grip the slippery little tagua. Both hands are working together, the left hand moving the nut around to get the proper angle for me to see my work while the right hand carves away from the holding hand. Another option ( only for relief work) is to carve a tagua sized bowl shape into a small piece of wood then super glue the tagua into the wood, which can then be clamped to a table or held in a vise. Then I can use a long handled skew with both hands on the handle and use more of my body to push the blade. That’s my favorite way, but it does not work for carving “in the round”. Also, I only use a skew chisel. I believe it offers more control than a knife.
    in regards to inlay material, the purple heart worked really well. If you wanted something darker with less color I have heard that Ebony wood is nice but I have no experience with it.


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