There is a certain magic about hand made objects that is very special. They just look better than what a machine can do. That being said, it is a fact that machines make my job so much easier and faster. But I don't want to compromise my style. The solution is to use the high tech machines to help and then add in the hand made look as we finish things off.
The current balloon project is a good example. The gondola was all hand made. There was no other practical way. But the new four axis Multicam CNC router carved the balloon in a fraction of the time than I could have ever dreamed doing it by hand. The resulting balloon was perfect. I needed to fix that. I used the machine one last time to carve the nose cones for the balloon. I glued on the pieces and it was ready for sculpting.
Then I spent a couple of hours laying on the sculpting epoxy by hand. I carefully added the details needed. No matter how careful and precise I was the result looked hand made. In doing so a certain charm and magic resulted. No machine could do that.
The last step was to hand paint (with a small brush) the thick heavy bodied primer. It added a subtle texture over the smooth machined parts, making it hard to tell the mechanical and hand made parts apart. Hand painting and glazing will complete the illusion.
The balloon is starting to look pretty cool at this point. It will only get better as we start in on the color in the next week. Stay tuned...