Question & Comments

We received several fascinating questions and comments this week which I believe everyone will benefit from so today’s blog is dedicated to discussions surrounding those thoughts.


Our first comment comes from Mike Rowe from the UK regarding the last blog where I talked about Comfort Birds.  Mike says:

“you can never have enough comfy birds”

You are so right, Mike.  There are so many people in need of them.

Our next comment comes from Phyllis Stone from Pennsylvania.  Phyllis relates to the joke in my last blog and writes:

My friend Bob,

“I couldn’t help but laugh about your joke about vegetarians killing all the plants.  It was hilarious especially since I’m one of those vegetarians. Lo!”

Well the only thing I can say to you, Phyllis is “You should be ashamed of yourself!”  Lol

Our next comment comes from Dean Stewart in response to the topic of stropping knives.  Dean writes:

Regarding Strops. I have about 5 at this point. Two that I made myself with thick 1/8 inch cow hide glued to a board backing. One of the is an old paddle I found at a flea market. It has a nice handle and I can run the leather over the side for gouges. My others include a flexcut tool strop, a pig skin and a double sided cow hide from Beavercraft. The Beavercraft is smooth side up. Since all my others are smooth side down, I was never sure this strop was useful. Maybe some others could comment on which side of the leather is best or if you have to use them differently.

I use the yellow compound for all mine even though the Beavercraft came with green. I found the green too soft and it seemed to gum up the process. I think I might try you idea of oxide powder. I may like that better.

Great topic of conversation.

Dean also sent in a photo of his strop collection:

Thanks for your comments, Dean!  We need more of you to send in your comments on what kind of strops you use and how you strop your knives so we can get a conversation going.  It’s real easy!  Just click the Comment button below and add your comment.  We all want to hear what you have to say.

The yellow compound is the one recommended by Flexcut and it is include when you buy their strop.  I think the green compound is soft because it uses chromium oxide rather than aluminum oxide which I believe is a softer metal oxide compound.

The strop you have with the smooth side up is very useful.  It can be used after stropping with compound to give an even finer edge to the blade.  The smooth leather also cuts the steel on your knife blade but extremely slowly so it actually polishes the blade and gives a finer edge.

I see one of your strops comes from BeaverCraft.  Have you ever bought anything else from Beavercraft?  I know of carvers who own knives from them.  I think BeaverCreaft is   relatively new company but other than that I don’t know anything about the quality of their products and services.  Can you or anyone else comment on BeaverCraft?  I’d like to know more about them.  Just click on the ‘Comment’ button below.

Dennis Hess sent in some comments and wanted to share a couple of pictures of the beautiful Comfort Birds he’s been carving.  Dennis says:

I wanted to share my comfort birds that I have been making for awhile. They are made out of Spectraply turning blanks for Cousineau Wood products and I use my power carver to shape these birds. The wood would be too hard for a knife. I love the different colors that you can get and make. I hope that you enjoy them.

Secondly, I thoroughly enjoy your emails and I would like to see the wood properties of butternut, white pine, red oak, and tupelo. I enjoy the book reviews as well. 

One question I have deals with either soaking or painting a carving with BLO. What are the benefits with BLO and do you paint with acrylics after BLO sets for a day or two or do you paint right away?

Thanks for what you do as I am a fan of yours now.

Dennis Hess

Those sure are some mighty fine looking Comfort Birds, Dennis!   I really like the various colored stripes you get in them.  I’m assuming Spectraply is some sort of plywood product, or is it man made, like a resin?  Unless you’re a knife purist or don’t have a power carver, power carving seems like the way to go when carving Comfort Birds.  One reason is that it’s faster, especially if you are carving many of them.  The second reason is Comfort Birds are mostly carved from hard woods like walnut, cherry and maple, and it goes without saying that hardwoods are hard to carve with a knife.

Thank you so much for the photos of your Comfort Birds, Dennis.  I’m sure everyone enjoyed seeing them…I know I did.  How about some of you other carvers?  What types of woods do you use to carve your Comfort Birds, and do you use power or a knife?  Let’s hear from you!  Just click on the Comment button below.

I’m glad you’re enjoying Wood Chip Chatter and appreciate your input about wanting to see more wood properties lists and book reviews.  Since you mentioned butternut, white pine, red oak and tupelo I will try to post those lists soon in future blogs.

Now let me answer your question about painting and using BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil).  When using BLO before painting my carving I have found that it doesn’t really make any difference whether I let the BLO dry for a day or paint right away.  However, if I paint right away I will allow the BLO to soak in for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before painting. 

Now for my speech on BLO.

After using BLO over many years of carving I have sadly discovered that the BLO caused the carvings to ‘yellow’ over time.  The reason I believe this is that commercial grade BLO, which everyone uses and buys in the hardware store is not highly refined, and so it has a lot of impurities in it.

There is, however, an ‘Artist Grade’ BLO available from Amazon or art supply stores that is more highly refined and much purer than commercial BLO, which is not supposed to  yellow over time.  The problem with this ‘Artist Grade’ BLO is that it is very expensive when compared to the cost of commercial BLO.

My solution to the BLO problem is to use either Danish oil or walnut oil.  These two oils have several advantages over BLO.  They work the same way as BLO (I get the same results), they don’t have a strong odor like BLO (walnut oil has no odor at all), they will not yellow your carvings, and they don’t have the same safety (combustibility) concerns as BLO.  Walnut oil is my personal favorite and is what I’ve been using for the past year.

Let the chips fly!  Tell your wood carving friends and spread the word about Wood Chip Chatter, and don’t forget to click the ‘Comment’ button at the bottom of the page to send in your questions and comments so we can keep Wood Chip Chatter active and keep the conversations going! 

And remember, we need your photos!  I’m sure you all have some terrific carvings to share and photos of your carvings will help to liven up the blog’s appearance and make it more interesting.  Perhaps we can start a carvers photo section!  Email your photos to

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Published by carverbobk

I’m a self taught award winning wood carver who has been carving since I was a teenager. I enjoy instructing other carvers, especially beginners.

5 thoughts on “Question & Comments

  1. Bob,
    Thanks for the tip on the smooth strop. I’ll try that and see how it works. To answer your question the strop is the only Beavercraft item I have. The quality is first rate. Its made of hardwood with leather on both sides and the leather is right up to the edges. Your entire blade can fit on the strop.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Bob,…. I’ll add my .02 cents worth on the BLO discussion. I used to use a mix of blo and burnt umber, but for several reasons ,…convenience being #1 I switched to a Danish Oil based product that I get from Lee Valley Tools that they sell listed as “Tried &True “. Sure it’s a bit more pricy than blo, but heck, it’s not like I’m using gallons of it, and it gives a great finish IMO

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Bob,

    More on strops…first photo reflects my current supply. The second photo has a tanned deer hide. My larger strop, and the one I use most often, has quite a waxy buildup. I am planning to cut the deer hide to fit the larger strop on the smooth side and attach using CA glue with the rough side of the hide up. Is CA glue an acceptable glue to use? I may switch to using aluminum oxide that you have mentioned in the past.


    On Tue, Aug 24, 2021 at 7:59 AM Wood Chip Chatter wrote:

    > carverbobk posted: ” We received several fascinating questions and > comments this week which I believe everyone will benefit from so today’s > blog is dedicated to discussions surrounding those thoughts. QUESTIONS & > COMMENTS Our first comment comes from Mi” > Respond to this post by replying above this line > New post on *Wood Chip Chatter* > Question & Comments > by carverbobk > > > *W*e received several fascinating questions and comments this week which > I believe everyone will benefit from so today’s blog is dedicated to > discussions surrounding those thoughts. > > *QUESTIONS & COMMENTS* > > *O*ur first comment comes from Mike Rowe from the UK regarding the last > blog where I talked about Comfort Birds. Mike says: > > “you can never have enough comfy birds” > > *Y*ou are so right, Mike. There are so many people in need of them. > > *O*ur next comment comes from Phyllis Stone from Pennsylvania. Phyllis > relates to the joke


  4. Bob,
    Enjoyed the article on stropping which gave me an idea. My strop is smooth on one side which I use Cape Forge stropping compound on and the other side is a rough leather. I use this side after stropping after the smooth side. I try the final strop on a smooth leather now and see if the results are better. Correct stropping is one of the most talked about subjects in our club, so thanks for the information.
    Also enjoyed the older couple walking along the beach, as that is where my wife of 48 years and I are at. It sure would have looked different when we were in our 20’s.
    Bob Nesbit


    1. Thanks for the comments, Bob. Stropping is so important and so many carvers are confused about the proper ways to do it. I’m glad I could help you out with it.
      Would you mind if I add your comments to the next blog?
      And please spread the word about Wood Chip Chatter to our friends at the club. The more subscribers I can get the better the blog will be. Thanks again!
      Best regards,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: