Introduction: Faux Sea Turtle Wall Hanger

anatomically correct, full size, dimensional loggerhead carapace made from scrap plywood and 2x2 pine

Step 1: Build It Like You It Grew It- the Skeleton

So, I tried to design the skeleton based on the rib structure of the real deal. The plates of a turtle's shell are called scutes, and are part of the rib cage. I wanted my scutes to have a rib behind each one. I also tried to model the scutes to be as close to the real thing as possible. The spine and ribs are notched and glued plywood slats of 1/4” scrap that was laying around. The medial scutes have the stability of the spine and at least one rib. The radial scutes anchor on the ribs as well as the medial scutes. They are from the same 1/4" scrap, glued in place. I think I intended to build this one as a prototype and use better material on the next one. This thing took three years start to finish, there won't be a next one. Maybe.

Step 2: A LOT of Custom Cuts Later........

All of the plywood cuts were done at the table saw, with beveled edges to match the neighboring scutes. I learned to cut them big and shave them down. All glued down with wood glue, no fasteners. The radial scutes were left with squared edges. Costal scutes around the edges are cut from white pine 2x2"s to give it the look and feel of heft and thickness. The woodgrain radiates out from the spine to mimic the burl of a loggerhead's shell.

Step 3: Knocking Down the Corners

Filled any seams with putty, and sand sand sand. I liked the natural finish so much, it hung for a couple of months like this, while I thought about color. I didn't want to screw it up with a crappy finish after so much work. But finally....

Step 4: Color and Finish

Loggerheads have this great red/orange when they are adults, so I started there. I didn't love it, so added a darker tone on the scutes. The top layer of real scutes are made of dark keratin that grows new along the seams, newer tissue defines the edges of the keratin plates. Anyway, another layer of dark stain on top of that, then a coat of wax finished it up. Cool project, glad when it was over and on the wall!

Comments

author
Gooey13 made it! (author)2016-01-07

I love it! Completly scientific, by the way. Nice job! What do you think is the minimum amount of time I can do this in?

author
DanL63 made it! (author)DanL632016-01-10

If you can work on it every day, I think you could pull it off in a month. I didn't want any fasteners to show topside, so it is all glued. Each piece relies on the stability of the last step, so over night drying is mandatory for each scute. There are 25+ scutes, requiring that many days are least, for assembly. Then sanding, staining, and finishing.

author
Cedserp made it! (author)2015-12-29

Super bien! !!

author
TheWoodfather made it! (author)2015-12-26

wow! This is one of the most original piece of wood work that I've seen for a while, well done!

author
DanL63 made it! (author)DanL632015-12-26

Thank you, father

author
man-after-Gods-own-heart made it! (author)2015-12-25

Great job!

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos made it! (author)2015-12-25

Fun turtle shell design.

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