My original plan, after looking at a lot of examples online, was to make the body of the dummy out of laminated stock. I reasoned that this would be more stable and easier to work than finding a log. White oak or hickory seemed a logical choice, as both were available at the local sawmill, and Southern Yellow Pine was too soft to resist deforming of the mortises. However, a call to the mill announced that they weren’t running their kiln right now, and only green lumber was on hand.
I didn’t want to wait a couple of years for the stock to air dry, so I tried the local hardwood dealer. They, in turn, only had FAS white oak and Select & Better hickory, both for about $3.50/bf. My estimate was for about 60bf, and I really only needed #1 Common.
I started looking for a log.
Traditional mook jong dummies are generally cylinders about 5 feet long and 9 inches in diameter. The arms and supports are inserted through various square and rectangular mortises extending through the body. I had used up a lot of the good wood from the downed trees, and was doubtful of finding anything suitable. After a lot of poking and prodding in high grass, I found one log section that was close. It was somewhat elliptical in shape rather than round, and had a curved section at the bottom. At first I rejected it, but then returned for a closer look. The curve could actually be oriented facing forward, and could act as a forward-placed leg without extending as far as an actual wooden leg. This would work well with my style. It was worth a shot, and if it didn’t work out, I wasn’t out any real money.
Once I got it back to the shop and up on some sawhorses, I gave it a good once-over. The bark was looser and wetter on what would be the front, and I worried about rot. I decided to start with this side and see what I had. If it was too bad, I would scrap the whole thing before putting in too much effort.
Some time later, after lots of work with drawknife, axe, scrub plane and, yes, belt sander, part of the surface was revaled (and a lot of the floor was obscured). All in all, it looked pretty good. There was some spalting, but the structure seemed sound, and the surface didn’t seem punky.
Now comes the hard part. I have to continue working the log down to the point where I have a basically cylindrical shape that is smooth and ready to accept the various mortises necessary to make it into a functional dummy.
This is going to take a while.