Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Totem Pole Den Doodle

I volunteered to serve as my son's tiger cub den leader in December 2011. A few days ago, after our second den meeting, I finally got a brilliant idea for a den doodle. Making a den doodle requires a bit of time and effort, and I didn't want to do it at all unless I could do something really cool. I made one about 15 years ago when I was a den leader in Provo, Utah. It was shaped like a ferret. My husband and I had pet ferrets back then, and we thought they were really cool and unique, and I was proud of our doodle.

Since moving to the Northwest I have become rather fascinated with totem poles. There are three in my current hometown of Scappoose, Oregon. One of them is in front of my son's elementary school. It's about 40 years old. It was recently restored (repainted), and it is featured on the schools letter head and t shirts and things. When I spied a photo of a totem pole in the den leader how to book, I knew that was the doodle for my den.

A quick internet search provided only unsatisfactory methods of creating an appropriate model of a totem pole. One idea: to make it from recycled plastic jugs, I liked very much except that it did not appear very mobile, and I couldn't figure out how to hang beads from it. Even the pole in the how to book didn't seem to incorporate the beads and string motif that seem to characterize every other den doodle. I think each head on the totem pole represented a different boy, and you switch their positions or something. That did not appeal to me.

Finally, I figured that if I modeled the den doodle after the totem pole at school, then I could hang the strings from the cross piece. The pole at school features an owl with wings outstretched. But it was my husband who thought of making the pole from a large cardboard tube, the kind they use as concrete forms.

I went to the building supply store yesterday, and the man at the counter was only too happy to help. He used to be a cub scout, too. He sold me an 8-inch concrete form tube (4 feet long) for $5.79, and he sold me a 1x8 pine board (4 feet long) for $2.07. I also bought some hardware so that I could attach two handles to the tube and two handles to the wings. 4 handles form $7.16. 4 bolts, 4 nuts & 8 washers for $1.68. And 8 eye screws for $1.29. The eye screws are for hanging the strings of beads.

I plan to cut a notch in the tube to set the wings into, and I'm hoping the handles will make it that much easier to put it together, take it apart, load it in my car and store it in my garage. I'm sure I can attach the handles to the wings without any trouble, but I'm worried about attaching the handles to the tube. I bought nuts, bolts and washers, hoping to protect the cardboard. We'll just have to try it and see how it works. I think it should hold up okay as long as it doesn't get wet.

The next thing I did was to print a photo of the totem pole and measure it. I don't know how tall the actual totem pole is, but the pole in my photo is 7 inches tall and 1.25 inches wide, so I figured that if my model is 4 feet tall, then it should be 8.75 inches wide. I could shorten it to get the width to come out at exactly 8 inches, but I think I prefer the height, and I think the width is close enough. I also figured out that at this height my wings should be 38.5 inches wide and 7 inches high. This will work out nicely with my 48 inch long 1x8 (which is only 7.25 inches wide).

So, the next thing I need to do is cut out the wings, notch the pole and add the hardware. Then I can start painting. I expect that to be quite time consuming, but I think I can do a good job. I hope to have the whole thing finished by our next den meeting 02/20/12 - President's Day.