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Sandhill Creations

QUESTION:   How do you cut a legless wooden Hippo so it looks like it's standing in a pool?? 

That was my recent assignment..  Here's what I did:

Click on a picture to see a larger version.

 Hippo1  OK - here's our little African Hippo, well maybe not so little - over 20 inches long and when laying on it's side is about 12" high.  Oh, and should mention it weighs 45-50 pounds (YES-I weighed it)!!  The tape line is the approximate cut line so when the top of Mr Hippo is laying flat, he'll look like he's in water (or whatever)...  And in case you're wondering, he lost his legs in preparation for this operation...  So let's begin.

First - build a sled and make it strong.   So I used 3/4 plywood and added runners for both slots in the bandsaw table.   The runners had to be long enough to allow the Hippo to rest on the infeed side in the slots and still have slot support as it hung out the outfeed side.  And we're gonna need infeed and outfeed support.  Did I mention how heavy it is!?!

 Hippo2  Need good stout sides on the sled because I'll need to brace and attach the Hippo to it to keep him from rocking or moving at all during the sawing operation. 

  Here's our little buddy getting fitted in his cradle.  The sides now have some braces and I've lined up 2 clamps on the cut line (front and back) to see how the best position will be. 

  Hippo4  Excuse the rear-end shot of Mr Hippo, but I need to line up the 2 clamps again from the back to see if this cut line is what I want.  Looks pretty good.  Still may tweak it a bit. 
  Hippo5 Ok - this shot is just to show you the two clamps that I was lining up. 
Hippo6  Now our Hippo friend is being braced in his cradle.  There are blocks and shims all held in place by hot glue.  But for the heavy cut-off section, I figured the best thing is to use a 1/4" plywood brace screwed in with short screws.  I didn't want to use long screws as the waste piece is destined for other uses.   
Hippo7  Here's the "dry-run" of the cut.  As long as I had to change blades I figured I'd do a complete pretend cut, with NO blade in the saw, to insure the infeed and outfeed will do their jobs - not to mention the operator!!  For this cut, it's a one-shot deal.  So I'm using a new 3/4" blade and the runners, bottom of the cradle, and the band saw table all have a fresh coat of wax. 
Hippo8  The "dry-run" went very well.  The new blade is on and the cradle has been partly cut.  Time to do a last look at the cut line and insure it's right.  Nothing left to do now but a nice slow cut. 
Hippo10 SUCCESS!  The cradle went smoothly over the table and the outfeed supported perfectly.  This is the off-cut piece still left attached in the cradle.    
Hippo11  There was a minor bump right in the middle of Mr Hippo's surgery line.  Short work with a scraper and he lays pretty flat even without any sanding.   Here he is swimming on a mat on the top of my work bench.  Looks contented!  I wonder if I should save the sled, just in case another . . . Nah!

Last updated 02-19-2009