Today we throw it back to just about the first Happy Bugnalow toy ever prototyped. I think it was just about the first thing I ever made on a scroll saw. This was made when Happy Bungalow was just starting up. We were ordering a few pieces of new professional grade equipment, but still trying to make it by on the thinnest shoe-string budgets. So this little animal was cut on a piece of pine that was hanging around the shop.
I drew from (cartoonish) memory the shape of the animal. I was happy that others recognized the shape was a bunny, but disappointed in how lame the thing looked. So I set about drawing animal profiles from real animals (usually from pictures, but occasionally from real life as in our bison toy). When we fist started there were two primary animal lines: farm and safari.
Since we’ve added to our shop woodlands animals, dinosaurs, and mythical animals (think unicorns). In addition we’re working on adding water animals, Australian animals, and just about every other animal that can be rendered in wood.
Reproducing real life animals into small wooden form took some tweaking. Legs were too thin, bellies to bulgy, and the like. Legs are the biggest problem. Like, have you ever seen how thin a horse’s legs are? Or a chicken’s? In the beginning there was a lot of tweaking and fussing to get the animals just right, but now, I think we’ve made close to one hundred different animals so far, we usually nail it down pretty quick.
So kids, remember – what they say is true. Practice Makes Perfect! Or just a lot better.
Whatever you call it – buffalo or bison – this baby is A-dorable. There’s a state park (Big Bone Lick) near the Bungalow that has, amongst other cool attractions, a herd of buffalo. The Kids here love it. In times past Big Bone Lick was a gathering spot for animals of all sizes. Bison, mastodon, giant sloth, among them. The area was mineral rich (like a natural salt lick – hence the lick). Unfortunately for the larger creatures the ground was boggy and many of the animals sank into the ground and later died. The bones of these large animals were later unearthed (hence Big Bone).
We love the buffalo so much that we’ve rendered the bison in wood (walnut). You can find them in our shop.