I have a wonderful Swedish friend who is always optimistic. He has always ‘APA’, meaning ‘Alltid Postitiv Attityd’ in Swedish (always positive attitude), but in Swedish APA is also the word for monkey. I wanted to give him a Kay Bojesen monkey but it was to expensive for me. So, I made him a wooden monkey. I have been thinking of making one more to put on my desk, as a reminder when I’m frustrated. May be this 'APA' will help me with my positive attitude.
For the design of the monkey I was inspired by the design of Kay Bojesen’s monkey (1951) and I changed some of the details.
For this project I only used waste material. I got a piece of beautiful wood (teak), which i believe used to be a big picture frame. It had the perfect colour for a monkey. The birch and oak which I used were leftovers from other projects.
Tip: If you are short on material, you can always glue waste material on the blanks before turning
Step 1: The Drawings
I always make a sketch/drawing before I start, and in this project I followed my drawings precisely, because the wooden blank was only 3 millimeter thicker than the final shape.
Tip: Draw all the pieces you have to turn on your blank if you are short of material to avoid the disappointment of missing out on material for the final part of your project.
In the video you can see the different moments of woodturning used in this instructables, but be kind it is my first video.
Step 2: This I What I Used
For the drawings:
- paper, pencil, circle template, ruler and an Eraser
- various kinds of wood (birch, teak and oak), bee wax, fabric, Sanding paper (400-600 grid), sanding drum
For the eyes:
- messing nails, black paint and a dowel (Birch)
- Nails and paint, wood glue.
- elastic cord (2mm thickness) to assemble the monkey
These are the tools which I used:
- an adjustable jewelry saw, band saw, crappy scroll saw this one will be better
- a planer
- sanding disk,
- wood glue and wood clamp
- mallet (chisel)
- a lath and turning tools (I used roughing gouge, spindle gouge, parting tool)
- pillar Drill, hand drill and an awl
Tip: choose two different colors wood if you want contrast for the belly, but watch out and don’t make the color difference too big (see step 3)
Step 3: Preparation of the Blanks Needed
I started by removing the strip from the blank and took out the nails with my pillar drill. Because of the thickness of the piece I marked the different pieces that I needed looking carefully to avoid old drill holes and how I could saw the blank to make sure that I had enough material to make the monkey (including some material left for some small adjustments during the project)
Tip: Look always for nails or other metallic parts in used wood as they can damage your gouges when turning.
Step 4: The Preparation of the Body
I cut the two different kinds of wood with my band saw. For the first body I choose birch and teak. The second body was in teak and oak. I sanded the surfaces of the individual pieces and glued them together with wood glue. Clamp them in the work bench or with a wood clamps. Let it dry for at least two hours.
Tip: If you want a bigger light part as the first body (see step 5) the dimensions of the lighter wood has to be ¼ of het total thickness of your blank. If you want the belly in the same size as in the second body (see step 6) the lighter wood has to be 1/5 of het total thickness of your blank
Step 5: Turning of the Body
All woodturning in this instructables starts the same way by marking the middle of the blanks on each end and make an indentation, except for the ears and arms because these blanks are so little in diameter that I only clamp them between centers.
Mark the center on both ends by drawing two diagonal lines corner to corner. Make an indentation to fit the blank on the drive spur. Place the drive spur (even better if you use a worn out drive spur) on top and hammer with a mallet so you get an indentation on one side.
I started to rough down the blank till it was round. If your blank is 50 mm or less you can start your lath at 1500 rpm (revolutions per minute). I used my roughing tool. When the blank was round (Measure with your calipers and check if it has the desired circumference) I marked the body with a pencil and made two deep marks with the parting tool. I then took my spindle gouge and shaped the body (2500-3000 rpm).
I turned the body between these marks, so I got the exact dimensions that I wanted. Turn the body in the right shape and sand if needed. I applied bee wax and buffed the body.
Take it of the lathe. Make marks with an awl and drill holes for the shoulders where you will have the arms. Cut away both ends and sand.
Make the belly button by drilling a hole in the center of the stomach. I used a 2.5 mm drill.
Tip: There are different ways to make an indentation. You can also saw diagonal from corner to corner with a (band) saw. Or use a chisel and a mallet to get your indentation.
I used a roughing gouge but of course you can also use a skew gouge or other gouge which you prefer to use
It isn’t easy to get your mark on the right pace. A circle template could help or why not make a mark when your project still is mounted in your lathe. Using a flexible tape measure will help too. Measure the circumference of the piece and divide in two.
Step 6: A Second Body
After finishing the first body I wasn’t satisfied with the result as I ended up with light wood at the whole front of the body. Luckily I had some material of the picture frame left and turned a new body with oak and teak. The contrast with oak was less, I preferred that. I also changed the ratio between the two different kinds of wood from 1/4-3/4 to 1/5-4/5. Now I only got oak on the belly.
Tip: If you want to use wax, make sure to test first on a sample. Some waxes colored the wood darker and the effect of the lighter belly could disappear.
In case that you accidentally ended up with a tilted drilling hole, you can repair this by filling the hole with a dowel of the same type of wood or put in some glue in the hole and add some fine wood dust. Let it dry and sand.
Step 7: The Head
I started the same way as the body. Make indentations on both ends, rough it out. Measure with your calipers and check if it has the desired circumference. Make marks, use the parting tools and round the head with the spindle gouge. Sand, apply wax and buff. Drill a hole at the bottom of the head for mounting to the body. Make sure that the drilling is slightly tilted so that the head is positions somewhat face down (nicer and less stiff).
Tip: If you have some extra wood you can turn dowels of the same blank. Try to remove as much as you can, depending on which diameter you need.
If your blank is not too big you can turn several parts att the same time (handy if you make more then one monkey). You can see how I did this in the embedded video in step 1. I did this for the head and the nose. I tried to do this for the arms as well, but the turning blank was to long and the arms to thin, so it broke due to vibrations.
If you are not sure about the tilt of the head start to drill with a little drill (2mm) and increase with bigger drills. In that way you can easily adjust the tilt and get it right.
Step 8: The Eyes
Measure the dowel for the eyes and drill two holes in the face to fit the dowels. I used a template for the exact spot of the dowels and made a mark through the template onto the head with an awl before drilling.
Sand the dowel and cut it with a saw. Glue and let dry. Cut or sand down the dowels and make a mark with an awl for the eyes. Drill a hole.
I used nails for the middle of the eye and had two options. A bigger black one and a smaller messing one. I liked the smallest best so I painted those black.
Tip: If you are unsure about the size of the nails for the eyes, you can place them in the template and see which fits best
Step 9: The Big Monkey Mount (Neb?)
I turned a bigger and smaller mount of the same blank. After the turning I sawed the mouth in two pieces and glued them together again slightly shifted creating a really monkey mount. After the wood glue had dried I sawed the mount to the right length, marked with an awl and drilled a hole for the dowel.
Tip: Turn two mouths at the same time. This allows you with testing when you saw the mouth in two parts.
Step 10: The Tiny Monkey Ears
I turned four ears from the same blank. I didn’t t know exactly what sizes would fit with the head so I turned two different kind of sizes from one blank. The thickness of this blank was only 15 mm which meant that I could turn at a high speed. This gives a glossy surface and you don’t need to sand or wax.
I ended up using the little ears of about 8mm. I sanded them with a sanding drum for the right fit on the head.
Make a mark with an awl on the top of the hands and the feet and drill a 3mm hole to match the tenon on the arms and feet. Attach with wood glue
Tip: The placement of the ears, eyes and so one on the right spot if difficult. I always use a paper template, or in the case a paper strip, so that I can mark the right spots on the turning project. I placed the template on the face and marked the spots with an awl.
If you want a lighter spot on the ears you can drill a hole in the center of the ears and fill it with a dowel in birch. I did it on a first attempt but didn't like it together with the eyes. It was kind of toooo much.
Step 11: The Arms and the Legs
Well you now know how you can turn the same sizes. I love my parting tool and my calipers. With these tools you have the opportunity to turn two exact copies.
Tip: If you need taps you can turn them directly on the end of the arms or legs. See pictures. But these taps break very easily. No worries if they break you can always use a nail as a dowel in tiny projects as this monkey.
Step 12: Hands and Feets
These were the easiest parts. With help from the circles template I draw two circles (21 mm and 18 mm in diameter) on the same wood as I used for the belly (oak 8mm). Then I drilled two holes in the center and cut out the circles with the jigsaw. I splitted each circle in two parts and there they were: two hands and two feet. Only little sanding left and then you’re done.
(As you can see my scroll saw is kind of crappy it would be nice to replace it with the Compact Dremel scroll saw ;-) https://www.amazon.com/Dremel-MS20-01-Moto-Saw-Va...
Tip: Pay attention on the direction of the fibers when you make your hands and feet. I chose the grain direction to go across for strength. If they are upright your hands and feet will easily break.
If you want to drill holes in tiny parts start with a really tiny drill 1mm, after that 2mm and than 3 mm. This reduce the risk of splitting the tiny ear, hand or feet in two parts.
Step 13: Almost Done
Shape both sides of the body on the sander in an about 60 degrees’ angle. Do the same with the legs and hold them together to see whether the legs go straight down. Mark the spot where you want the legs. This has to be a little higher than expected otherwise the monkey will not rest on his body but only on the legs with the body hovering above the surface. Drill a 2 mm hole both in the legs and the arms. Than drill once again with a 3-3.5mm drill in order to create a shoulder so that your knot will stay in place. You also create space for the dowels witch hide the gap afterwards.
Make a knot in the round elastic cord on one and, mount the legs and stretch the cord elastic. Put a little bit of glue in the hole and place a dowel. Repeat with the arms.
Glue a dowel on the other side to cover the hole. When the glue has set, cut the dowels and sand. Mount the head and pffff you’re done.
Tip: In case the elastic cord breaks you will only have to drill out the dowels and replace it.
Strech the elastic cord to the back while mounting the dowel, so you won't see a black spot on the front of the legs and arms.
Step 14: Some Final Thoughts and Pictures
This was a cool project to make. Even though the monkey is small in size, it was a big project to make with a range of different moments. It would have been easier to make a bigger monkey. Particularly the ears and the dowels were tiny and therefore more difficult to turn, but even more difficult to hold during sanding, drilling and mounting.
My friend was very happy with the monkey and now I have started with my own ‘APA’.
Thank you for taking your time to read this instructables. If you have suggestions to improve the monkey or this instructables please feel free to leave a comment below. Have a nice day/Annemarie
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