A really BIG girl named "SUE"

Ya gotta love her!! Here is Sue at a Chicago museum.

By the time I finished reading the book about a T- Rex (Tyrannosaurus) named Sue, a true story btw, I felt sorry for the people in the story who worked so hard for “two years” digging her out of the mountain and going thru all that trouble of wrapping her up in burlap and plaster to keep her protected while in transit. Then when they just about finished with that, she was promptly confiscated and taken away from them because it was said that no one remembered to file for a 30 dollar permit to dig for fossils. Lawsuits were filed, but to no avail. Sue wound up sold at auction for just under 8 million dollars and is now on display in a Chicago museum.

More facts about Sue:
Sue is roughly between 40 and 45 feet long depending on how measured. Some say less, some say more. In any case she is the most articulated T-Rex fossil ever found because she was discovered with 90% of her bones (said to be “real” bones), intact.

Why was she named “Sue?”
Among the party of fossil hunters who discovered her was a paleontologist named Sue Hendrickson. It was she who noticed one of Sue’s bones protruding from a rocky ridge. The team felt it only right to name her after her discoverer, Sue Hendrickson.

Sue Hendrickson standing next to her find:

…the team hard at work:

Now you KNOW, I just had to make her!!! In full scale as well. Since Sue is depicted in a running stance, that worked out even better for me because it would naturally cut down on height as she is stooped over. In my estimation at the time, I guessed her height to be around 13 to 15 feet. All doable since also at the time, I had a home with a nice big yard, so her length wasn’t a problem, either.

I wanted to replicate her exactly as she was shown in the newspapers and the like. Maybe later, I would even decide to flesh her out, fully. Time would tell. First things first: I had to figure out how to make her so that she would be sturdy, durable and easily managed by me as I worked alone. The first material to use that popped into my head was “furring strips.” They are long, narrow pieces of wood (pine based) measuring roughly at 3/4 of an inch by 8 feet long, they’re lightweight and cut easily. Mostly, they are used as interior supports for other materials and hidden. But for me, they would do to start. I might overlay with something else later on once the whole thing was standing in front of me, so I could judge if more was needed.

This is the picture I would work from. It was in the New York Post

I decided to start with the head which was just shy of 5ft long. Fact: the real head weighed 600lbs!!
T-Rex 6

T-Rex 5
T-Rex 2

Hand carved her teeth (mostly at work during breaks). They ranged from 4in to 9in.
T-Rex 4
I noticed that I numbered each piece but am now wondering why? Maybe in case I had to take it apart for some reason? Hmmm…

Pieces had to be put together before I could make them stand. Below is just the tail section which is 21 feet long.

this part 21 ft a

Here is the back end of T-Rex, standing. I actually don’t have enough room to back up so I could get all of her in one shot. Had to do it in two!

Here’s the rest of her.

Had to stand in my neighbors yard to get THIS shot (below)…too bad it’s not that great a pic., but best I could do, then. You know…the only way I could get this thing to stand was I had to attach a bunch of ropes to it, one rope every 3 or 4 feet or so along the entire length of the animal. Then I had to gather all of them up at once and slowly pull, keeping my eyes scanning up and down each section looking for the slightest sign of any separation or breakage. I finally breathed a huge sigh of relief once I saw that she was standing up, still fully intact. Wish I could’ve gotten a pic of me doing that, but no one home but me!! But I tell you, I was just so happy to have that part over with because now the real fun could start. Little did I know…
Sue 3

Sorry to say that I never finished her because one day while working on her, I had developed chest pains. I was dragged off to the hospital and wound up with two stents. I came home feeling great and ready to work on Sue. But to my shock and horror, she was GONE!!! My kids threw her away!!! Can you imagine that!!! I didn’t yell, I didn’t holler my head off at them (tho inside I was screaming), because I knew they did it to protect me. Till this day I STILL want to build her! …Sigh!

Aaah, but she was a magnificent animal!!!

Almost forgot about the Raptors, Velociraptor that is. I was gonna make a couple of them and in fact was also working on one of them outside my shop, built a hoist to hold him so I could turn him around more easily as I added stuff.

Poor guy, I threw him out after I found my T-Rex gone. No point in finishing him.


Just to add, the hardest part of making her was the part where I had to get all 41 feet of her to stand up at once. I had eight ropes that I had to control. I mean this thing was rickety as all heck. It is after all just a bunch of flimsy furring strips stretched to the max and having to cover quite a distance to boot.
I had every intention of strengthening it with other materials, later, but…fate got in the way.


Man, I would be POd if somebody threw away a project like that.



Oh, wow! Your Sue is glorious. Well done. I can’t blame your children for protecting you, but I would also be screaming inside.

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I am angry at your kids, and it didn’t happen to me. I can only imagine how much angrier you are. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

I’m sorry that happened to you. Sue was huge news at the time I moved to Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota in 1994. I have always been fascinated by her. Thank you for sharing what you did accomplish on your scale model. You did amazing work. What a tribute! :hearts:

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WHOA! What an accomplishment even to get as far as you did!

I hope that instead of actually throwing all that wood into the landfill they found a way to get it into the hands of people who could use it - if not just putting it in a pile for you for smaller, safer projects laser.

I’m glad you are healthy and back at your wild making shenanigans!

T-rex is one of my nicknames, so I feel an special affinity to all the t-rex things!

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Jamie, you should read the book, or maybe not, because it’ll make you even angrier. Those people (who found her) and did ALL that digging out of her and all the work of getting her wrapped and ready for transport (for two years mind you) only to wind up with somebody else swooping in and taking her away? I should think that a hard pill to swallow. Notice, too, how they waited till all the hard work was done “before” they took her! Amazing how a seemingly inconsequential law like that could change the course of history!


Well, at least my kids didn’t get the teeth, I left them in a drawer in my shop. I still have them!


And my thanks to all you guys that stop by. One thing for sure, you people will be keeping me busy because I see a lot of interesting crafts being concocted here that are inspiring me to try them! You guys are great!!


She was a beaut. I especially loved her teeth. Perhaps one day you could recreate her skull only. That would be a lot less work and still super cool.

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Oh noooh…don’t give me ideas, Gozer!!! LOL! Actually, um…uh oh…!!!

ETA: I would LOVE to do just the head, but what would I do with it once it’s finished??? Can’t keep it, because I now live in an “effcientcy” apartment where ANY space has to be occupied by a necessity. As it is, those spaces where claimed years ago! I can only do “tiny” which never really interested me, I like BIG, the bigger the better. So…I just do silly things now, dolls, puzzles, beading, weaving, painting…tiny things like that. Tho Lord knows I’d drop them all in a heart beat if I had the room!

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Yes, it was hard to swallow.

Just to say that I added a picture of one of two raptors I was also gonna make. I had planned on placing them on the back of the Rex. Didn’t finsihed even one because I gave up when I saw that I no longer had a Rex to place them on!! In case you miss it, here’s a pic of my raptor under construction…

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How large are the teeth you have left? I bet you could do something with those.

Also, you said you like making bigger things, and this wouldn’t be nearly as big, but how cool would it be to make a smaller scale of the skull and turn it into a lamp? Then it is still crafty, awesome, and useful!

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This whole story was such a wild ride.

And I can’t believe they threw her out!

“If” I ever get around to making a “small” T-Rex head (which to be honest, I can’t see me doing) I’ll give it to you. As far as the teeth go, I still have 4 or 5 left, not sure, cuz I put them in a box with some of my son’s things, sealed it and stored it in my closet where it’s been for the last 5 years since he died - he was the only one who objected to my other three sons throwing my T-Rex away. I put the teeth in the box as a sorta “thank you” for sticking up for my Rex and me. I could only fit in a few teeth and threw the rest away. I had to throw a lot of good stuff away when I moved here, anyway. No room for much, here.

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That whole story was sad!


SUE! I love Sue! That is way cool!