Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Resetting the leg and repairing the shoulder

Continuing  my saga of "Tolt's" leg repositioning.  I removed the wax from the shoulder area (a lot harder to do than it sounds - I'd put it in there REALLY well!) and broke the wax off the wire for the shoulder part of the leg.(The wax you can see here is on part of the armature.  It will anchor the wax I'm going to use for the shoulder.)

Then I cleaned all the clay off that wax that I could and dropped it into the pan to be softened so I could reapply it.

WARNING!!!  Working with melted wax is DANGEROUS!  You can be severely burned if you're not careful!  Don't say I didn't warn you!

I didn't need the wax to be melted, just softened, so I watched it carefully as it "cooked."  I had the electric griddle set to about 200 degrees so it would soften quickly (I'm not the most patient person in the world).  I turned it over every so often so it would soften on both sides.  When it was as soft as I wanted it, I scooped up a portion and put it in the shoulder cavity, which I had dug deeper so the leg would be set in a bit more than it had been before.  Then I pressed the wire in place, made sure it was straight to the horse's body and packed more softened wax on top of the wire.  I pressed wax around the wire until the wax cooled too much to maneuver anymore to make sure the wire was strongly set. 

The little knob of clay at the bottom of that leg isn't the basis of the hoof - it's actually part of the ground.  Its function is to give the wire a strong anchor to the working surface.  It will be surrounded and covered by clay as I build up the ground and the hoof for that leg (as shown below).

I added clay over the wax, rebuilt the shoulder and reattached the clay from the leg to the horse's body.  I haven't done any muscle detail yet, and it probably needs a little more clay to be added, but here's the finished repair.

If you noticed the thin band of clay around each coronary band, those are there so I can put hair on the coronary band.  They will be textured and the clay blended in to the pastern so you'd never know I had a "worm" of clay around each hoof once upon a time.  :)

The repair went well and didn't take too long because I thought it all out before I started (always a good plan!)  Moving the leg forward that small amount (about 1/8-1/4 inch) made a huge difference.  I'm happy with it now.  Onward!

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