Wood Properties of Butternut

Wood Properties of Butternut

BUTTERNUT Juglans cinerea (Juglans – the classical name of the walnut, meaning the nut of Jupiter; cinerea – ash-colored, pertaining to the bark)

The kernel of the nut is delicious and so rich and oily that the name OIL-NUT has sometimes been given to this tree.

It grows from Quebec down through the northeastern sections of the United States, westward to South Dakota and as far south as Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.

This wood is in many ways very similar in characteristics to American black walnut and has at times been called white walnut.  Like walnut, the nuts are edible and highly prized.  The sap obtained is sweet, and a syrup may be produced that is similar to syrup from the maple tree.  Butternut wood is lighter and not as strong and durable as black walnut.  It is soft in texture but coarse-grained.  The wood is easily worked with all types of tools, very sharp tools being desirable because of the softness of the wood.  Lovely interior paneling has been done with butternut, and a small amount used in the manufacture of furniture.  Also, many church altars have been made of this wood.  It is also used by wood carvers.

Reader’s Comments

Our first comment this week comes from Robert Larsen in response to last week’s post about “Human Face & Body Proportions and the Rule of Three.”  Robert writes:

“i like they way you broke down the portions of the whole body..very good reference”

Thank you Robert!  I also like to keep those diagrams handy and refer to them often.  I’m glad you found them helpful too.

Next we have an interesting question from Bob Tinsley about facial proportions.  Bob asks:

“What about the distance from the front of the skull to the back of the skull? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this.”

That’s a very good question, Bob.  Through all my research I have never seen this measurement either.  The only way I can help you there is to say that the front of the ear is located half way between the face and the back of the head.  This measurement has always served me well in most cases.

Lastly, we have a very kind comment from meyerco who writes:

“Love the newsletter, I don’t know how you do everything.”

Thank you so much for your nice words of encouragement!  I’s comments like yours that keep me moving forward!

Carver’s Corner

“Carver’s Corner” is the section where you can send in photos of your carvings to have them critiqued by me and get my truthful opinions on what you did right and where you might improve next time.  It’s an excellent opportunity to improve your carving skills!

This week we have a new photo from Dean Stewart which is an update on his mushroom green man carving: “Here’s an update on my mushroom green men.  The one in from front incorporates some of your feedback. Do you see anything else?”

Mushroom green man carved by Dean Stewart

Your second carving has a lot of improvements over your first one, Dean.  The cap is much better.  I like the way you gave it more shape as it adds interest to the carving.  I think you did a better job on the nose on this one, and the mustache is much fuller/bigger.  It looks more like leaves than before, to me.  The eyebrows are an improvement as well, as they now match the color of the cap. My main critique on this one is  with the flesh tone color of the face.  It’s too monotone and needs more color.  Next time, take some very diluted red and brush it over the cheeks and tip of the nose.  You can even brush some very lightly over the forehead.  If the red is too dark, take some clean water (only) on your brush and brush it over the dark spots to blend it in better.  You will be surprised how your carving will come to life!

Thank you for submitting your photo!

Photo Shop

“Photo Shop” is the section of Wood Chip Chatter where carvers can send in photos of their wood carvings for display. It’s your chance to show off your work…sort of a show and tell. The photos will only be displayed and no comments or critiques will be made.  For critiques on your carvings send them in to the “Carver’s Corner.”

This week we have several photos of the beautiful work Martyn Bacon from Scotland has been doing lately: “Like all this stuff.  Here are some of my carvings.   I do both whittling little characters and traditional carvings”

Frog carved by Martyn Bacon
Bird carved by Martyn Bacon
Caricature carved by Martyn Bacon
Man with a pipe carved by Martyn Bacon
Relief carving by Martyn Bacon

I can see you really do enjoy creating all different types of carvings, Martyn!  Thank you so much for sending in your photos.  We all appreciate seeing them.  Before I eventually switched over to carving mainly ornaments, Santas and small caricatures I also carved a little of everything…whatever interested me, I would carve it.  Even today, once in awhile if I see something different that I really like I will carve it.  Your work is very interesting and I hope we get to see more of it in the future!

Thank you so much for your photos!

Announcements

The first meeting of the International Association of Woodcarvers for 2022 will be held on Saturday, January 29 at 3:00 pm EST.  CCA member, Bob Hershey will be the presenter, and will be giving a demonstration on how to carve a floppy eared Easter Bunny bust.  You don’t want to miss this!

Zoom:  3104603575

Schedule:

1/29 – Bob Hershey

2/5 – Jim Hiser

2/12 – Tom Wilkinson

2/19 – Kevin Applegate

2/26 – Dave Francis

3/5 – Rich Schneider

3/12 – Roger Beane

4/9 – Joe You

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOODCARVERS

COME JOIN US!!!

WOOD CHIP CHATTER NEEDS YOUR PHOTOS!!!

I’m sure you all have some terrific carvings to share in my new “Photo Shop” section.  Photos of your carvings help to liven up the blog’s appearance and make it more interesting.  Also, my “Carver’s Corner” is a great way to get constructive critiques on your carvings so you can learn where to improve on your next ones.  When sending in photos please specify whether you want them for display in “Photo Shop” or if you want me to critique them in the “Carver’s Corner.”

KEEP THE CHIPS FLYING!!!

Send in your questions and comments so we can keep Wood Chip Chatter active and keep the conversations going!  Effective discussions are one of the best ways to learn about the topics that interest you.  Remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.  Plus we would all love to learn about the unique tips, techniques and products YOU use in your woodcarving process.

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Courtesy of Wayne Smith

Human Face & Body Proportions, and the Rule of Three

When carving human figures knowledge of proper body proportions is essential, even if you are just carving a human face or bust.  This also holds true when carving caricatures.  In caricature carving, face and body proportions are often exaggerated or distorted but a basic knowledge of proper measurements is still important. This week I want to discuss proper human face and body measurements and some simple ways you can remember them.

The Human Body

The human body is 7 1/2 heads tall.

Figure 1

The Human Face

The human head is 5 eyes wide.

Figure 2

The eyes on a human’s face are located on a horizontal line across the center of the face as measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin,

The distance between the two eyes is the width of one eye as measured from the inner corners of both eyes.

Figure 3

The rest of the facial measurements can be taken from Figure 3 or Figure 4.  Either one works.  Figure 3 uses measurements from the top of the head and the center of the eyes.  Figures 4, which follows the Rule of Three uses measurements from the hairline and the eyebrows.

The Rule of Three

The Rule of Three divides the entire human body into thirds.  The head is divided into thirds.  The hair line to the eyebrow is one third, the eyebrow to the bottom of the nose is one third and the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin is one third.

The rest of the body from the shoulders to the bottom of the feet is divided into thirds.  The shoulders to the waist is one third, the waist to the knees is one third and the knees to the bottom of the feet is one third.

Figure 4

Rule of Three by Donald Mertz  woodbeecarver.com

The ears on the human head right behind a centerline drawn down the side of the head, and the back of the head extends well beyond the ears.  The height of the ears is from the bottom of the nose to the eyebrows.

Questions & Comments

Brad Coval sent in a question about the International Association of Woodcarvers (IAW) meetings and asks:

“Hello,

Curious, are the zoom meetings/classes free of charge? Please let me know. This was the first time I have seen your blog. Thank you

Brad”

The IAW Zoom meetings are absolutely free!  Just use the Zoom code to enter the meeting.  Each meeting usually runs about an hour to an hour and twenty minutes.  It’s the best hour you can spend on a Saturday afternoon!

Carver’s Corner

“Carver’s Corner” is the section where you can send in photos of your carvings to have them critiqued by me and get my truthful opinions on what you did right and where you might improve next time.  It’s an excellent opportunity to improve your carving skills!

This week’s (only) entry to the “Carver’s Corner” comes from Nicky Foley:

“I carved the head on the left in November last year and the one on the right this week, some notable changes thanks to the advice of @carverbobk and his critique on his Wood Chip Chatter blog.”

Nicky Foley’s Santas

Remarkable improvements, Nicky!  I really like the way you did the nose and eyes, and you did a nice job on the fur hat trim and pom-pom…much improved.  Excellent job all around!  I’m glad my advice was helpful.

Photo Shop

“Photo Shop” is a new section as part of Wood Chip Chatter where carvers can send in photos of their wood carvings for display.  The photos will only be displayed and no comments or critiques will be made.  For critiques on your carvings send them in to the “Carver’s Corner.”

Here is a photo of some terrific Santa ornaments Nicky Foley recently carved:

Santa Ornaments by Nicky Foley

Those are some excellent ornaments, Nicky!  You really have the eyes down to a science now!  Thanks for the photo!

Next we have two photos sent in by Leonard from Newfoundland:

“Hello Bob here is a photo for the photo shop in the next blog. They are your simple Santa pattern in ten different colours that a customer of mine ordered. Cheers”

Simple Santas carved by Leonard

Those are terrific Santas, Leonard!  Great color choices!  I bet your customer loved them!

“Here’s another photo Bob of a praying woman I saw ddalo, a YouTube carver from Korea carving a couple of weeks ago so I decided to try one. Came out half decent I think, I was happy with it anyway.”

Praying woman carved by Leonard

Excellent carving, Leonard!  You should be happy with it.

Announcements

The first meeting of the International Association of Woodcarvers for 2022 will be held on Saturday, January 29 at 3:00 pm EST.  CCA member, Bob Hershey will be the presenter, and will be giving a demonstration on how to carve a floppy eared Easter Bunny bust.  You don’t want to miss this!

Zoom:  3104603575

SCHEDULE:

1/29 – Bob Hershey

2/5 – Jim Hiser

2/12 – Tom Wilkinson

2/19 – Kevin Applegate

2/26 – Dave Francis

3/5 – Rich Schneider

3/12 – Roger Beane

4/9 – Joe You

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOODCARVERS

COME JOIN US!!!

WOOD CHIP CHATTER NEEDS YOUR PHOTOS!!!

I’m sure you all have some terrific carvings to share in my new “Photo Shop” section.  Photos of your carvings help to liven up the blog’s appearance and make it more interesting.  Also, my “Carver’s Corner” is a great way to get constructive critiques on your carvings so you can learn where to improve on your next ones.

When sending in photos please specify whether you want them for display in “Photo Shop” or if you want me to critique them in the “Carver’s Corner.”

KEEP THE CHIPS FLYING!!!

Send in your questions and comments so we can keep Wood Chip Chatter active and keep the conversations going!  Effective discussions are one of the best ways to learn about the topics that interest you.  Remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.  Plus we would all love to learn about the unique tips, techniques and products YOU use in your woodcarving process.

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Carving Western Figures

Welcome back everyone!!!  I want to start off this week by saying I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy New Year.

Getting back into the groove after our holiday break I thought I would start off with a book review on one of my favorite old Harold Enlow books.

Carving Western Figures

By Harold L. Enlow

A Book Review

Front Cover
Back Cover

“Carving Western Figures” is just one more of the many excellent woodcarving books written by the renowned wood carver, instructor and author, Harold L. Enlow from Dogpatch Arkansas.  It is one of my favorite books in my library.  Published in 1984 by the Western Printing Co., Inc. this 57 page book contains eleven fun western caricature projects in varying stages of difficulty which include ‘Cowgirl Saturday Night’,  ‘Sheriff’, ‘Poker Player’ and ‘Rodeo Star’.

The beginning of the book covers what woods and tools to use, how to sharpen your tools and finish your projects, and even a little on how to create your own patterns.  Although this ‘older’ book is printed in black and white there are plenty of helpful “go-by” photos to guide the carver through each project.

If you like carving cowboys and figures of the ‘Old West’ you’ll love “Carving Western Figures”.  I highly recommend it.

NOTE: I haven’t been able to find this book through any of my woodcarving suppliers but it is available for $15.97 on Amazon.

Here are two figures I carved from the book:

“Little Britches” carved by Bob Kozakiewicz
“Cowgirl Saturday Night” (front) carved by Bob Kozakiewicz
“Cowgirl Saturday Night” (side) carved by Bob Kozakiewicz

Questions & Comments

Our first comment of the New Year comes from Nicky Foley who writes:

“Another great blog Bob, thank you for the reviews all taken on board and I will carve a new one based on your advise thank you and Happy Christmas”

Thank you for the Christmas wish, I did have a Merry Christmas and hope you did as well.  I’m glad to hear you will be doing another carving using some newly learned techniques.  I hope you will share it with us when it’s finished.

Our first question of the new year comes from John OBrien regarding the use of oils prior to painting your carvings.  John writes:

“Greetings. Your last 2 posts talk about oils to soak our carvings with prior to painting. I have had this discussion with a few well known carvers but none have been able to give an explanation as to why it is recommended to put oil on a carving and then paint over it with water based acrylics? Everyone tells me thats what we are suppose to do.

I say oil and water do not mix. What say you?

John OBrien”

That’s an excellent question, John, and thank you for asking.  To answer your question in one sentence, using oil is not what we’re ‘supposed’ to do.  Just like every carver has his/her favorite way of finishing their carvings they also have their favorite way of going about painting their carvings, and they all have their reasons why they do what they do.  Some use oils, some paint on wet wood and some paint on dry wood.  I believe in doing what works for you.

Personally, I either use walnut oil or paint on dry wood, and have equal success with both methods.  Much of it comes down to your painting technique and ability.  The main reason why I will sometimes treat with oil prior to painting is that is allows the wood grain to show through the paint better, probably for the reason you mentioned, “oil and water don’t mix.”  So the oil tends to keep the paint from soaking into the wood too much.  At least that’s my theory.

Regardless of which method you use the key to a good paint job is to use watered down paints.  Build your colors with several layers of paint rather than applying one thick coat of paint all at once.  Your results will be a lot better.

Our second question comes from Dennis Hess wanting to know which type of Tried & True finishing oil product I recommend.  Dennis writes:

“Bob,

When you wrote about the finishing oils, you wrote about Tried and True. Did you mean the Danish Oil, the original traditional oil, or varnish oil? I found all 3 on Amazon but was unsure what you exactly recommended.

From what you wrote, you recommend Tried and True Danish oil over other Danish oil. Can you clarify this any further?

Dennis Hess”

Thank you for writing, Dennis!  You have a very legitimate question regarding the three types of Tried & True available on the market and I’ll be happy to try to clarify the differences.

Three different Tried & True Oil Products

Varnish Oil

First let’s eliminate the Varnish Oil right off the top.  The varnish oil is a penetrating linseed oil made with pine resin that is used for interior furniture and table tops.  It has high abrasion, scratch resistance and durability.  You would essentially be putting a varnish onto your carving which is not what you want to do at this stage.

Danish Oil

Tried & True Danish Oil is a premium Polymerized Linseed Oil wood finish which is safe for skin contact, food contact and application indoors without the need for ventilation or gloves.  It’s made from 100% renewable ingredients and no heavy metals, solvents, petrochemicals or synthetic additives are used. 

Note: Since this is a linseed oil product it has the combustibility hazard as Boiled Linseed Oil.

Because it is a polymerized linseed oil my concern with this Danish oil is, as it is with others it further polymerization properties.  When a Danish oil dries it hardens (polymerizes).  When you paint your carvings you don’t want to paint over polymerized oil.  It defeats the purpose of using the oil.  If you are going to use this product my suggestion is to paint within 30 minutes of applying the oil.

Original Traditional Oil

The Original Traditional Oil is my recommendation for a Tried & True product for applying an oil prior to painting (Remember, this was my third choice, however,  after Walnut Oil and Mineral Oil).  Tried & True Original is a premium wood finish made from only two ingredients: Polymerized Linseed Oil and Beeswax. Original Wood Finish is safe for skin contact, food contact and application indoors without the need for ventilation or gloves.  It is ideal for cutting boards, bowls, counters, baby toys or any interior wood project. The combination of polymerized linseed oil and beeswax provides a soft, matte sheen with added moisture resistance.  Like the Danish Oil, Tried & True Original is made from 100% renewable ingredients and no heavy metals, solvents, petrochemicals or synthetic additives are used. 

Note: Because this is a linseed oil product it has the same combustibility hazard as Boiled Linseed oil.

Our next question comes from my good friend moonwolf71, who I also know as Laura.  She has a question about adjusting the guide wheels (tracking) on her band saw and writes:

“Mine has a squelch in the guide wheels and no matter what I have done I can’t get them to stop.”

Thank you for your question, Laura.  I’m not sure what you mean by “squelch” so I’m not sure that I can answer your question.  If you mean that the wheels are squealing it could be a couple of things.  Otherwise, perhaps you can describe what you mean by “squelch.”  The following are some of my thoughts:

1. The bearings on the wheels could be bad.  Try putting a drop or two of light machine oil or a  short spray of WD40 on the bearings.  If that doesn’t help, the wheels/bearings may need to be replaced (worst case scenario).

2. First, check the blade tension on the saw.  If the blade tension is correct the blade should only move 1/4″ when pushed with your finger from the side, and the guide wheels should barely touch the blade when cutting a piece of wood.

3. This is a bit of a stretch but if you haven’t tried replacing the saw blade you might try that.  Just a crazy thought.

I don’t know if any of this was helpful but that’s about as much as I know about band saw blades and guide wheels.  Perhaps some of our other readers/carvers with more band saw knowledge will provide some input to try and help solve Laura’s problem.  Let’s hear from you!

Carver’s Corner

“Carver’s Corner” is the section where you can send in photos of your carvings to have them critiqued by me and get my truthful opinions on what you did right and where you might improve next time.  It’s an excellent opportunity to improve your carving skills!

We have only one photo for our “Carver’s Corner” this week…a photo of a mushroom carved by Dean Stewart:

Mushroom carving by Dean Stewart

Carved mushrooms are usually mythical in nature so they’re difficult to judge as far as what is right and what is wrong.  The mushroom cap looks good…I like how you carved the little ribs (I don’t know what they’re called) underneath, and the leaf shaped mustache and beard.  The face is carved well too.  The eyes and nose, which are the hard parts, are accurate, but the lips are too small.  The width of a humans lips is roughly from almost the center of one eye to the center of the other.  Of course on caricatures these distances are often altered.  Lastly, I would have painted the eyebrows, perhaps  with a contrasting color to make them stand out more…possibly a green to match the beard or a brown to match the cap.

Photo Shop

“Photo Shop” is a new section as part of Wood Chip Chatter where carvers can send in photos of their wood carvings for display.  The photos will only be displayed and no comments or critiques will be made.  For critiques on your carvings send them in to the “Carver’s Corner.”

Our first entry to “Photo Shop” comes from my good friend Wayne Smith from Nova Scotia, Canada:

Santa ornaments by Wayne Smith

Those are some nice Santa ornaments, Wayne!  You’ve got a jump on next Christmas already…it’s never too early to start!  Wayne told me the reason the ornaments are shiny is because they are still wet from the finish he just put on them.  Nice work, Wayne!

Our next entry to “Photo Shop” comes from Joan Groot-Riphenburg:

Carving by Joan Groot-Riphenburg

Excellent carving, Joan!  Lots of detail and it tells a nice story.

And finally this week we have a photo of some Simple Snowman ornaments Steve Bistritz carved from my article in the Winter 2021 issue #97 of Woodcarving Illustrated.

“Simple Snowman” ornaments carved by Steve Bistritz

Terrific ornaments, Steve!  You sure were busy!  Thanks for the photo!

Announcements

The first meeting of the International Association of Woodcarvers will be held on Saturday, January 29 at 3:00 pm EST.  CCA member, Bob Hershey will be the presenter, and will be giving a demonstration on how to carve a floppy eared Easter Bunny bust.  You don’t want to miss this!

Zoom:  3104603575

Schedule:

1/29 – Bob Hershey

2/5 – Jim Hiser

2/12 – Tom Wilkinson

2/19 – Kevin Applegate

2/26 – Dave Francis

3/5 – Rich Schneider

3/12 – Roger Beane

4/9 – Joe You

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOODCARVERS

COME JOIN US!!!

WOOD CHIP CHATTER NEEDS YOUR PHOTOS!!!

I’m sure you all have some terrific carvings to share in my new “Photo Shop” section.  Photos of your carvings help to liven up the blog’s appearance and make it more interesting.  Also, my “Carver’s Corner” is a great way to get constructive critiques on your carvings so you can learn where to improve on your next ones.

When sending in photos please specify whether you want them for display in “Photo Shop” or if you want me to critique them in the “Carver’s Corner.”

KEEP THE CHIPS FLYING!!!

Send in your questions and comments so we can keep Wood Chip Chatter active and keep the conversations going!  Effective discussions are one of the best ways to learn about the topics that interest you.  Remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.  Plus we would all love to learn about the unique tips, techniques and products YOU use in your woodcarving process.

APOLOGY

I sincerely apologize if some of the book pages in the book review came out blurry. I don’t know why that happened. It all looed fine in my draft when I go to post it but then it looks blurry once it’s posted. Would someone please confirm with me if this is in fact case with your post when you receive it?

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Why are pirates so mean?

They just arrrrr!

Wood Finishing Oil Comparison – Part 2

Last week, in Part 1 of my Wood Finishing Oils Comparison I covered my three top choices…Walnut Oil, Mineral Oil and Tried & True.  This week, in Part 2, I will cover the three oils I would not use for treating basswood prior to painting…Tung Oil, Linseed Oil and Danish Oil.  I mentioned my reasons for these choices two weeks ago in my December 3rd post.

Wood Finishing Oils

Tung Oil

Tung oil or China wood oil is a drying oil obtained by pressing the seed from the nut of the tung tree (Vernicia fordii).  Tung oil hardens upon exposure to air (through polymerization), and the resulting coating is transparent and has a deep, almost wet look.  Used mostly for finishing and protecting wood, after numerous coats, the finish can even look plastic-like.  Related drying oils include linseed, safflower, poppy, and soybean oils.  The oil and its use are believed to have originated in ancient China and appear in the writings of Confucius from about 400 BC.  Raw tung oil tends to dry to a fine, wrinkled finish; the English name for this is gas checking; this property was used to make wrinkle finishes, usually by adding excess cobalt drier.  To stop this, the oil is heated to gas-proof it, and most oils used for coating are gas-proofed, also known as “boiled”.

The name is often used by paint and varnish manufacturers as a generic name for any wood-finishing product that contains the real tung oil or provides a finish that resembles the finish obtained with tung oil.

Linseed Oil

Linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil or flax oil (in its edible form), is a colorless to yellowish oil obtained from the dried, ripened seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum).  The oil is obtained by pressing, sometimes followed by solvent extraction.  Linseed oil is a drying oil, meaning it can polymerize into a solid form.  Owing to its polymer-forming properties, linseed oil can be used on its own or blended with combinations of other oils, resins or solvents as an impregnator, drying oil finish or varnish in wood finishing, as a pigment binder in oil paints, as a plastcizer and hardener in putty, and in the manufacture of linoleum.

Linseed oil use has declined over the past several decades with increased availability of synthetic alkyd resins—which function similarly but resist yellowing.

Linseed oil is an edible oil in demand as a dietary supplement, as a source of α-Linolenic Acid , (an omega-3 fatty acid).  In parts of Europe, it is traditionally eaten with potatoes and quark. It is regarded as a delicacy due to its hearty taste and ability to improve the bland flavor of quark.

Drying properties

“Drying Oil”

Having a high content of di- and tri-unsaturated esters, linseed oil is particularly susceptible to polymerization reactions upon exposure to oxygen in air.  This polymerization, which is called “drying”, results in the rigidification of the material.  To prevent premature drying, linseed oil-based products (oil paints, putty) are stored in airtight containers.

Rags soaked with linseed oil stored pose fire hazard because they provide a large surface area for rapid oxidation. The oxidation of linseed oil is exothermic, which may lead to spontaneous combustion.  In 1991, One Meridian Plaza, a high rise in Philadelphia, was severely damaged in a fire, in which three firefighters perished, thought to be caused by rags soaked with linseed oil.

Wood finish

When used as a wood finish, linseed oil dries slowly and shrinks little upon hardening. Linseed oil does not cover the surface as varnish does, but soaks into the (visible and microscopic) pores, leaving a shiny but not glossy surface that shows off the grain of the wood.  A linseed oil finish is easily scratched, and easily repaired.  Only wax finishes are less protective.  Liquid water penetrates a linseed oil finish in mere minutes, and water vapor bypasses it almost completely.  Patio furniture treated with linseed oil may develop mildew.

Oiled wood may be yellowish and is likely to darken with age.

Because it fills the pores, linseed oil partially protects wood from denting by compression.

Linseed oil is a traditional finish for firearm stocks, though very fine finish may require months to obtain.  Several coats of linseed oil is the traditional protective coating for the raw willow wood of cricket bats; it is used so that the wood retains some moisture.  New cricket bats are coated with linseed oil and knocked-in to perfection so that they last longer.  Linseed oil is also often used by billiards or pool cue-makers for cue shafts, as a lubricant/protectant for wooden records, and used in place of epoxy to seal modern wooden surfboards.

Additionally, a luthier may use linseed oil when reconditioning a guitar, mandolin, or other stringed instruments’ fret board; lemon-scented mineral oil is commonly used for cleaning, then a light amount of linseed oil (or other drying oil) is applied to protect it from grime that might otherwise result in accelerated deterioration of the wood.

Danish Oil

Danish oil is a wood finishing oil, often made of tung oil or polymerized linseed oil.  Because there is no defined formulation, its composition varies among manufacturers.

Danish oil is a hard drying oil, meaning it can polymerize into a solid form when it reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere. It can provide a hard-wearing, often water-resistant satin finish, or serve as a primer on bare wood before applying paint or varnish.  It is a “long oil” finish, a mixture of oil and varnish, typically around one-third varnish and the rest oil.

Uses

When applied in coats over wood, Danish oil cures to a hard satin finish that resists liquid well. As the finished coating is not glossy or slippery, it is a suitable finish for items such as food utensils or tool handles, giving some additional water resistance and also leaves a dark finish to the wood. Special dyed grades are available if wood staining is also needed.

Application

Compared to varnish it is simple to apply, usually a course of three coats by brush or cloth with any excess being wiped off shortly after application.  The finish is left to dry for around 4-24 hours between coats, depending on the mixture being used and the wood being treated.  Danish oil provides a coverage of approx 12.5 sq. m/l (600 sq. ft./gallon).

Spontaneous combustion

Rags used for Danish oil, like those used for linseed oil, have some potential risk of spontaneous combustion and starting fires from exothermic oxidation, so it is best to dry rags flat before disposing of them, or else soak them in water.

The following information was taken directly off a can of Danish Oil:

Contains: Petroleum Distillates.  VAPOR HARMFUL.  May affect the brain or nervous system causing dizziness, headache or nausea.  Causes eye, skin, nose and throat irritation.

Keep away from heat, sparks and flame.  Prevent build-up of vapors by opening all windows and doors to achieve cross-ventilation.  Use only with adequate ventilation.

Carver’s Corner

The Carver’s Corner is a new section in Wood Chip Chatter where carvers can send in photos of the work for me to critique.  My idea is to help make you better carvers through my truthful opinions of your work, and my advice on where you can improve.  You will need to be able to accept constructive criticism without being offended.  It’s one of the best ways you can improve your carving skills because you will never become a better carver if you keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

Our first photos come from Nicky Foley who sent in two pictures of egg shaped Santas he carved…one he carved this month and a similar one he carved 3 years ago.

It’s easy to see the tremendous progress you’ve made in 3 years, Nicky.  You now have added hair texture to the mustache and beard, and the eyes and nose are carved much better.  In fact, the whole face is a vast improvement from your first one.  I like the larger, textured pom-pom on the hat but I would like to see a wider fur hat trim.  Most of us tend to make them too narrow.  The trim on Santa’s hat is actually quite large.  I would also try adding better defined texture to it next time.

Next is a photo of Nicky’s Simple Santa’s:

Nicky’s Simple Santas

All three Santas are well done with little room for improvement.  I like the way you changed up the robe styles.  The fur hat trim is nice and wide on all three.  Perhaps make the pom-poms on top a little larger next time, and change the hat shapes a little.  Try leaning them to one side or the other, or flopping the top over all together.  You can even make the hat look like it’s twisted.  Also, try different color schemes on your Santas.  Just about any color scheme will work.

Next we have a photo of an old man with a cane carved by Todd Martin from Indiana.  Todd writes:

“Hi Bob,

Thanks for your offer to critique carvings. This is my most recent piece, and I’d appreciate any suggestions as far as areas where I could improve. I know I need to improve on the eyes for sure.

Best,

Todd”

Todd Martin’s Old Man

Thank you, Todd, for sending your carving in for my critique.  From my first glance I could see you did a top-notch job on it.  From the photo it’s hard to tell how large the carving is but I’m estimating it’s about 4″ tall.  On a 4″ carving eyes are very difficult to do because there’s not a lot of room for detail.  You might want to try scaling up to a larger carving where you can play more with detail work.  I can see you already have a good handle on that.  I like how you did the shirt and the collar, but particularly like the hand on the cane.  The fingers are very well shaped and placed over the top of the cane and project an image of realism.  the left hand in the packet is well done too as I like how you bulged out the pocket to show that the hand is inside.  More practice is needed on faces (faces are hard to do, but larger projects will give you more room to experiment) although you’ve done a good job of creating the look of an old man.  Overall, a terrific job.

Questions & Comments

We have a notable question from Leonard this week about how to get good looking facets on your wood carvings.  Leonard writes:

“Hello Bob, just wanted to ask a question about Ricks simple Santa carving. Really great looking carving, and I was wondering how to get those really good looking small facets in the carving, looks really tidy. I have tried it and for some reason just can’t get the look as in Ricks carving. Any tips on how to achieve this look? Thanks, Leonard”

A very good question, Leonard.  Facets are the result of your knife cuts (probably an obvious answer there), but to get really good facets you want to make bold, clean cuts, and you don’t want to round off the edges of those cuts.  Bold cuts are deep cuts.  Many carvers are afraid to carve too deep into the wood and this is a mistake.  More often than not there is plenty of available wood to carve deeper which allows for better looking facets.

If you are referring to the cuts in the mustache and beard, those cuts are usually made with a 1/16″ (1.5mm) or 1/8″ (3mm) V-tool.

I hope I’ve answered your question, Leonard.

Announcements

I will be taking a much needed break over the Christmas and New Year holidays so there will be no Wood Chip Chatter blog posts on Friday, Dec. 24th and Friday Dec. 31st.  Wood Chip Chatter will return on Friday, Jan. 7th with more handy woodcarving information to help improve your knowledge and skills in the craft we all love.

At this time I want to wish all my loyal readers and carving friends a very Blessed and Merry Christmas, and a Healthy and Happy New Year!

The International Association of Woodcarvers has upcoming Zoom meetings on the following Saturdays at 3PM with special guests.  Check them out…

Zoom:  3104603575

SCHEDULE:

12/18 – Eric Owens

12/25 – Christmas

1/1 – New Year

Upcoming guests for 2022 are Dave Francis, Bob Hershey and Kevin Applegate.  Dates to be announced.

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOODCARVERS

COME JOIN US!!!

Let’s start the New Year off right!  Don’t forget to submit your comments, questions and photos for our return on January 7th!

Show us what you carved over the holidays!

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Wood Finishing Oil Comparison – Part 1

Last week we had an enlightening discussion on the difference in the oils used to treat basswood before painting.  I explained the difference in the properties of six oils:  Walnut Oil, Mineral Oil, Tried & True, Tung Oil, Danish Oil and Linseed Oil.  This week I want to provide more in depth information on those oils in order to give you a better understanding of each and to help you make your own decision on which one to use.  I’ll start with Part 1 this week, and cover Walnut Oil, Mineral Oil and Tried & True.  These are the only three that I will recommend, in that order.

Wood Finishing Oils

Walnut Oil

Walnut oil is oil extracted from walnuts, Juglana regia.  The oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, monosaturated fatty acids, and saturated fats.

Composition

Walnut oil is composed largely of polyunsaturated fatty acids (72% of total fats), particularly alpha-linolenic acid (14%) and linoleic acid (58%), oleic acid (13%), and saturated fats (9%).

Culinary use

Walnut oil is edible and is generally used less than other oils in food preparation, often due to high pricing. It is light-colored and delicate in flavor and scent, with a nutty quality.  Although chefs sometimes use walnut oil for pan-frying, most avoid walnut oil for high-temperature cooking because heating tends to reduce the oil’s flavor and produce a slight bitterness.  Walnut oil is preferred in cold dishes such as salad dressings.

Cold-pressed walnut oil is typically more expensive due to the loss of a higher percentage of the oil.  Refined walnut oil is mechanically pressed and saturated with solvent to extract the highest percentage of oil available in the nut meat.  The solvents are subsequently eliminated by heating the mixture to around 400 °F (200 °C).  Both methods produce food-grade culinary oils.  Walnut oil, like all nut, seed and vegetable oils can turn rancid.

Over 99% of walnut oil sold in the US is produced in California.

Artistic use

Walnut oil was one of the most important oils used by Renaissance painters.  Its short drying time and lack of yellow tint make it a good oil paint base thinner and brush cleaner.

Some woodworkers favor walnut oil as a finish for implements that will come in contact with food, such as wooden bowls, because of its safety.  Rancidity is not an issue because walnut oil dries when applied to wood in a thin coating.  People who mix oil and wax to formulate wood finishes value walnut oil as an ingredient because of the edibility of both ingredients.  The oil typically is combined with beeswax in a mixture of 1/3 oil to 2/3 beeswax.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is any of various colorless, odorless, light mixtures of higher alkanes from a mineral source, particularly a distillate of petroleum, as distinct from usually edible vegetable oils.

The name ‘mineral oil’ by itself is imprecise, having been used for many specific oils over the past few centuries.  Other names, similarly imprecise, include ‘white oil’, ‘paraffin oil’, ‘liquid paraffin’ (a highly refined medical grade), paraffinum liquidum (Latin), and ‘liquid petroleum’. Baby Oil is a perfumed mineral oil.

Most often, mineral oil is a liquid by-product of refining crude oil to make gasoline and other petroleum by-products.  This type of mineral oil is a transparent, colorless oil, composed mainly of alkanes and cycloalkanes, related to petroleum jelly.  It has a density of around 0.8–0.87 g/cm3 (0.029–0.031 lb/cu in).

Toxicology

The World Health Organization classifies untreated or mildly treated mineral oils as group 1 carcinogens to humans, meaning known to be carcinogenic to humans; highly refined oils are classified as group 3, meaning that they are not suspected to be carcinogenic, but available information is not sufficient to classify them as harmless.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) carried out a risk assessment on the migration of components from printing inks used on carton-board packaging—including mineral oils—into food in 2011, based on the findings of a survey conducted in the same year.  The FSA did not identify any specific food safety concerns due to inks.

People can be exposed to mineral oil mist in the workplace through inhalation, skin contact, or eye contact.  In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set the legal limit for mineral oil mist exposure in the workplace as 5 mg/m3 (0.0022 g/cu ft) over an 8-hour workday, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has set a recommended exposure limit of 5 mg/m3 (0.0022 g/cu ft) over an 8-hour workday, with a previous limit of 10 mg/m3 (0.0044 g/cu ft) for short-term exposure rescinded according to the 2019 Guide to Occupational Exposure Values compiled by the ACGIH.  Levels of 2,500 mg/m3 (1.1 g/cu ft) and higher are indicated as immediately dangerous to life and health.  However, current toxicological data does not contain any evidence of irreversible health effects due to short-term exposure at any level; the current value of 2,500 milligrams per cubic meter (1.1 g/cu ft) is indicated as being arbitrary.

Applications

Laxative, personal lubricant, baby oil. cell culture, veterinary uses, cosmetics, mechanical, electrical and industrial uses, and food uses.

 Other uses

Mineral oil’s ubiquity has led to its use in some niche applications as well:

  • Mineral oil is used for treating and preserving wooden butcher block counter tops.
  • It is commonly used to create a wear effect on new clay poker chips, which can otherwise be accomplished only through prolonged use.  Either the chips are placed in mineral oil for a short time, or the oil is applied to each chip then rubbed off. This removes any chalky residue left over from manufacture, and also improve the look and feel of the chips.
  • Mineral oil is used as the principal fuel in some types of gel-type scented candles.
  • It is used for cooling, such as in the liquid submersion cooling of components in some custom-built computers.
  • Veterinarian-grade mineral oil is inexpensive, and is frequently used by amateur radio operators as coolant in RF dummy loads, as mineral oil is typically used as the insulating and cooling fluid in large electrical equipment such as transformers.
  • Mineral oil is used as a brake fluid in some cars, such as Citroen models with hydrodynamic suspension, and bicycle disc brakes.
  • Mineral oil is burned in specialized machines (both manufactured and home-made) to produce a thick white smoke that is then blown into automotive evaporative emissions (EVAP) systems to find leaks.
  • It is used for polishing alabaster in stonework and lubricating and cleaning pocket knives or food handling tools that use an open bearing, thus needing periodic lubrication.  Light mineral oil (paraffinum perliquidum) is used as a honing oil when sharpening edge tools (such as chisels) on abrasive oil stones. Mineral oil USP or light mineral oil can be used as an anti-rust agent for blades.
  • It is an inexpensive alternative for storing reactive metals, such as lithium and sodium.
  • Horticultural oil is often made of a combination of mineral oil and detergent. It is sprayed on plants to control scale, aphid, and other pest populations by suffocation.
  • Before the widespread adoption of thermocyclers with heated lids, it was common practice to use mineral oil to overlay polymerase chain reactions in biotechnology to prevent loss of water during heating cycles. It is often used to suspend crystals for use in X-ray crystallography.
  • It is used as a transparent collision material for reactions in particle physics, as in the MiniBooNE neutrino oscillation experiment.
  • As a relatively low heat combustible with no flavor or odor, mineral oil can be used in fire breathing and firedancing for entertainment, but there is a risk of injury.
  • Paraffin oil is commonly used to fill Galileo thermometers.  Due to paraffin oil’s freezing temperature being lower than that of water (approx. 24 °F (−4 °C)), this makes them less susceptible to freezing during shipment or when stored in a cold environment.

Tried & True (Traditional Danish Oil)

Most finishes today contain petroleum distillates, solvents or heavy metal drier additives. This Danish oil doesn’t. Pure polymerized linseed oil with no additives, it strictly adheres to the standards established by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and qualifies as non-toxic and safe for food-contact surfaces in both its uncured and cured (wet and dry) states. An ideal choice for kitchenware and furniture, it penetrates deeply into wood surfaces and builds to a durable, water-resistant satin sheen.

Made using traditional 18th-century production techniques, it is a high-yield finish, providing coverage of at least 75 square feet per 16 fl oz/473ml.

The oil is applied sparingly to the surface, allowed to penetrate for 5 minutes and then wiped clean and buffed dry. Subsequent coats can be applied in as little as 24 hours though allowing 2 to 3 days between coats will speed curing of the finish. Good protection is achieved with 2 to 3 coats. Buff surfaces occasionally to maintain sheen.

A simple, environmentally-friendly finishing solution available in 16 fl oz/473ml and 32 fl oz/946ml containers.

Part 2 will continue next week with Tung Oil, Linseed Oil and Danish Oil; three products which I don’t recommend for use as a treatment for basswood prior to painting, and you will see why.

Readers’ Comments

Our first comment this week comes from Bill Douglas from Pataskala, Ohio along with a photo of the really amazing pins he carved from my Simple Snowman ornament pattern.  Bill says:

“Hi Bob:

I wanted to thank you for your article and pattern for the Simple Snowman Ornament in the Woodcarving Illustrated Winter 2021 issue.

I took a little liberty with your pattern and reduced it to make blouse pins for a couple of friends.  Hope you like the photo?  Plan on adding a couple of Holly Leaves to the red hat after spraying it.

Thanks for helping me be a better carver!”

Bill’s Simple Snowman Pins

Hi Bill…Thanks for writing!  I always love to hear from my readers.  What a great idea, making blouse pins from my Simple Snowman ornaments!  I never thought of that, and yours look terrific!  I would love to see it again after you add the holly leaves to the red hat.

Next we have some questions from Rick about Walnut Oil.  Rick writes:

“Hi Bob,

I know you were going to talk more about oils this week, so wanted to throw in a few questions I had if you aren’t already covering these. Is the Walnut oil from the grocery store any different than from brands like Mahoney’s or Lee Valley?  How long do you let the oil dry on the wood before painting?  And finally, does the oil go bad after a while and does it have to be refrigerated.

Thanks

Rick”

All good questions, Rick, and I’ll try to answer them in order.  First, there is no difference in the Walnut Oil from the grocery store compared to Mahoney’s or Lee Valley.  In fact, the one I use is Mahoney’s.  Walnut Oil dries slowly but I usually like to paint after allowing the oil to sit for only about 15-30 minutes.  And finally, Walnut Oil does not go bad or turn rancid, and does not need to be refrigerated.

We also have a photo of a Simple Santa Rick carved from my pattern:

Rick’s Simple Santa (unpainted)

That’s an excellent Santa, Rick!  One of the best ones I’ve seen.  The cuts are crisp and the overall work is very clean.  I hope you will send another photo once you have it finished.

Our next comment comes in the form of a letter from Nicky Foley from Ireland.  In his letter Nicky makes some good comments and suggestions, and asks a couple of excellent questions:

“Hi Bob
Thank you for what you are doing being from Ireland we do not have much in the way of local woodcarving clubs the way we have woodturning clubs. I also love joining the weekly calls on Saturday evenings with the international association of woodcarvers what Thom and Blake have done bringing woodcarving to the world has definitely helped me with my carving skills.

I liked the article about the choices of oils, I have used BLO for a while now and never thought to try mineral oil (which I use all of the time in my woodturning). I have tested it against BLO and I can say that I see no difference in the paint quality and I normally paint directly after applying the oil to my carvings. Game changer for me with no smell, easier to clean off, cheaper and no fear of combustion. My bottle stopper was oiled using mineral oil before painting.

I like Bobs suggestion (not you Bob) about getting feedback on carvings, we do this in woodturning where we get an experienced woodturner to critic the work of beginners, this helped me in progressing from a beginner to an intermediate woodturner and to even get the confidence in demonstrating in front of others, but you have to be willing to except what is being said about your piece that you have spent hours in creating and you yourself think is great.

Your tip about increasing the size of your carvings is exactly how I do mine and its funny how last year this is what I done to your simple Santa. We have just put up our Christmas decorations and it was nice to see some of my first carvings and to see the progression through the years, so it’s a good idea to sign and date all of your carvings.

Could you cover simple facial measurements in one of articles please, I have recently started with facial carvings and find it hard to get it right all of the times, eyes too big, too far apart, nose is to wide or too long and I won’t mention ears :).

Keep up the great work, we might not always reply but we are always reading 😉

Regards,
Nicky Foley”

Thank you for your complimentary words about my work and Wood Chip Chatter, Nicky!  The International Association of Woodcarvers is an excellent platform where carvers can learn from other carvers and I try to support them whenever I can.

I’m glad I was able to steer you in the right direction with the BLO/Mineral Spirits debate. 

The comments on getting feedback on your carvings is well noted.  It doesn’t do a carver any good to tell him his carving is fantastic when it really isn’t.  That carver would be better served if you gave him constructive ideas on where you think he can improve.

In fact, beginning next week I will be adding a new section to Wood Chip Chatter called “Carvers Corner” where readers can send in photos of your carvings for my constructive criticism.  I will critique the carving and offer my honest constructive advice on where you may have gone wrong or how you can do things differently next time.  Hopefully it will help you become better carvers.  So let’s see if we can get some carving photos this week to get things started!

It’s funny you should ask about facial measurements, Nicky.  I was planning to post something on that very subject in the near future.  Look for it right after the new year.

Announcements

The International Association of Woodcarvers has upcoming Zoom meetings on the following Saturdays at 3PM with special guests.  Check them out…

Zoom:  3104603575

SCHEDULE:

12/11 – Dale Green

12/18 – Eric Owens

12/25 – Christmas

1/1 – New Year

Upcoming guests for 2022 are Dave Francis, Bob Hershey and Kevin Applegate.  Dates to be announced.

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOODCARVERS

COME JOIN US!!!

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 carverbobk@woodchipchatter.com

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Whoever coined the phrase ‘Quiet as a mouse’ has never stepped on one.

More on Carving the Human Eye

I want to start off this week by saying I hope everyone had a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving, and didn’t indulge in too much turkey, pie and football! And I want to wish all my Jewish readers a very Happy Hanukka!

Getting back into the groove after our holiday break I thought we would start off with one more segment on carving the human eye. There is more to carving a good human eye than just carving the eye itself. Read below for features you should be aware of when carving any eye:

Carving The Human Eye

It is vital we look at the detail of the eye within its context of the face.  That is, the eyelid, the cheek, the nose, and the eyebrow – in other words everything that surrounds it.  The eyeball itself doesn’t really create the character of the eye at all, except for its color and that is not a variable unless we are planning to color the wood we use for our carving.

First, let’s take the eyelids.  Some questions you can ask yourself as you look at your eye in the mirror, or your friend’s eye in front of you are listed in the accompanying checklist.  Each of these questions can, and should, be asked about any eye you wish to reproduce.  Any one of them represent common features that are often overlooked when carving the human eye.

The study of anatomy for reproduction in art should not become a laborious pursuit.  Indeed, some of us will have no interest in it at all.  However, if you want to reproduce some animals, including people, then it is essential to at least have some fun and give it a go.  Use the following checklist to help develop your understanding of the detail of your subject’s eye.

Eye Detail Checklist

1. This checklist is a tool to reinforce the new skill we are developing, which is really the study of the human eye.

2. What shape is it, and exactly where is it?  Are the eyes close together?  Is the cheek hollow?

3. Where is the tip of the nose in relation to the eye and tip of the chin?

4. Are the comers of the mouth turned up in a smile that extends to the eyes?

5. Does the top eyelid overlap the bottom at either end?  Some eyes have no overlap, others do, mostly on the end nearest the ear.

6. Is the tissue at the tear duct straight (horizontal) or does it turn down?

7. How many creases are there on the eyelid?  Are there a different number in the top and the bottom?

8. What is the curvature of the edge of the top and bottom eyelids?  Is the bottom eyelid flatter than the top?

9. How thick is the tissue that forms the eyelid?  Is it following the curve of the eyeball on both the inside (where of course it must because it touches it) and the outside?

10. What is the actual curve of the fleshy part above the eyelid (below the eyebrow)?  How wide is it?   On some eyes it is pronounced, for others it is narrower.

11. What is the depth, in relation to the bridge of the nose, of the corner of the eye nearest the nose?  It can be quite deep, and it is often made far too shallow, thus not achieving the right roundness of the eye.

12. What is the position of the other corner of the eye?  How far back toward the ear is it?  If it is nor placed in the right spot, the eye will not be the correct roundness.

Questions & Comments

Our first questions this week come from Rick who is looking for information on making his own tool tote and on whether kiln dried wood loses moisture.  Rick writes:

“Hi Bob Thank you so much for all you do. Attached is an unpainted carving of one of your simple Santa’s. I really like how it turned out but need to get caught up on my painting! I have a couple questions.

If it’s already kiln dried, does it matter how long you keep basswood before carving? I’ve noticed a big difference in how hard some wood is compared to others and just wondering if over time this could change- or is it just different pieces of wood? When ordering wood I have questioned whether I should only order small quantities that I would be able to carve in a reasonable amount of time, or does it make any difference, once it’s dry- it’s dry?

My second question is about storing carving tools. I have 10-12 knives and gouges and would like a stand or some way to hold them so they are easily accessible, organized, and not just laying on the table. I’ve seen a lot of totes or stands that people have built but wondered if there are any available for purchase that you are aware of or would recommend.

Thanks again, Rick Carver”

Thanks for writing in, Rick!  Unfortunately, the photo of your Simple Santa didn’t come through and we’d really like to see it.  Perhaps you can try sending it again.  Send it to carverbobk@woodchipwhatter.com

Once basswood has been kiln dried it’s rate of moister loss slows down.  It will still lose moisture but because of the lower percentage of moisture left to lose the rate of loss is slower.  That said, I personally wouldn’t leave my basswood out in the open air for more that about two or three years.  I store much of my basswood in closed air-tight bins which help keep the wood from drying out too fast.  I also buy my basswood in small quantities limiting the amount to just what I will be able to use in a short period of time.  Some things to definitely consider.

Perhaps some of our readers can add some welcome input to this topic.

With regard to your second question, I have not personally seen any commercially made tool totes…only tool rolls.  I know a lot of carvers make their own tool totes and if you go on Facebook you are bound to find carvers who have done it.  Also,  I’m sure some of our reader on this blog have made their own and would be happy to share how they made them.  How about it?  Anyone out there want to show us your tool totes?

Our next question comes from Bob (not me) who has a question about his tools chattering.  Bob writes:

“Very nice tutorial. I would’ve to see from the beginning of the eye.how deep do you go by the nose..also question..when carving cross grain I get little chatter marks. Is it from the grain or is it cause the v tool isn,tsharp?. Thankyou”

Thank you for the compliment on the eye tutorial!  When it comes to carving eyes in relation to the bridge of the nose there is no rules of thumb.  You just have you eyeball it (no pun intended).  It’s a feel you get from carving many eyes.  Practice, so to speak.

Your chattering problem is due to dull tools.  A sharp tool will cut across the grain smoothly with no chatter, leaving a perfectly smooth, shiny finish on the wood.

Our next question comes from Todd Martin from Huntington, Indiana.  Todd has questions about the various oils and finishes used on wood/carvings and writes:

“Hi Bob,

I’m a recent subscriber and look forward to future posts.  If this is the right place to ask questions, then here is one – just when you get the chance.  If not, I’ll check back on the website.

I saw a recent post on using Mineral Oil vs Boiled Linseed Oil, which focused on the coloring and, of course, to some degree, on the potential dangers of BLO.  Besides Mineral Oil, you mentioned Walnut Oil.  I’ve also seen Danish Oil and Tried and True, and Tung Oil, usually in relation to treating furniture – so never was sure if it would work as a base for painting basswood figures.

I wonder, then, if there is a way you could do a pros and cons for these?  Are there any you would definitely rule out?  I spent a fair amount of time a month or so ago trying to figure this out, because BLO worries me a bit, with its flammable nature, but I couldn’t find an alternative, so I bought some and have just been as careful as possible.  And I never saw Mineral Oil as an option (until your blog), and I think the preference for BLO was drying time – is there a big difference?

Sorry, longwinded.  In brief:

What are the advantages/disadvantages (or is it even an option) for BLO alternatives for treating basswood before painting:

Mineral Oil                                                                                                       Tung Oil                                                                                                    Walnut Oil                                                                                                       Tried and True                                                                                             Dutch Oil

Hope this makes sense.

Thank you!

Todd”

Well, Todd, welcome to Wood Chip Chatter!  This is absolutely the right place to ask your woodcarving questions, in fact I encourage them!

In my opinion, there are two (2) different oils that can be used to treat basswood before painting instead of BLO.

Walnut Oil. My top choice is Walnut Oil, which I now use exclusively.  It is not refined from petroleum products, has absolutely no combustibility hazard, doesn’t polymerize (dry hard) like most of the other products and won’t yellow over time like linseed oil.

Mineral Oil. My second choice would be Mineral Oil, which has no odor, dries slowly and has a very low combustibility hazard.  It also will not yellow like linseed oil.  Mineral Oil is thicker than Walnut Oil so it will take longer to dry, which may slow down your painting process.  I can honestly say, though, I have never used Mineral Oil but based on my research I believe it would be a good option to BLO.

I don’t recommend the use of the four other products for treating basswood before painting, but if you must use one of them I would choose them in the following order:

Tried & True. It is non-toxic, food grade safe, and the label does not indicate that it’s at all combustible.  My concern here is with its relation to Danish oil as a polymerized linseed oil.  Because it is a polymer it will likely dry hard on your carving.  Plastics are made from polymers.  Not what you want as a base coat for painting but as a good final coating at the end.

Tung Oil. I don’t like Tung Oil mainly because it polymerizes (gets hard) when dry, and that’s not what you are looking for when you are painting on basswood.  On the other hand, it might be a good choice as a final finish after painting, instead of polyurethane (which sometimes yellows over time), and lacquer or varnish.

Linseed Oil. I would not recommend Linseed Oil due to its odor and combustibility  hazard.  Linseed Oil also polymerizes when exposed to air as it dries.

Danish Oil.  I would never recommend Danish Oil because of its toxic vapor, combustibility and polymerization issues.

That’s it in a nut shell, however, I feel there is so much more to know about these products that I’ve decided to go into greater detail with a more in depth explanation of each one in the next issue of Wood Chip Chatter.  Once you read the details in next week’s blog post you will have a better understanding of these finishing oils and why I rank them the way I do.  From that point you can make your own decision.

Our next question comes from Dean Stewart who is asking for some constructive criticism on a Santa ornament he just carved:

“Bob

Here’s a pic of my latest Santa carving.  Done on the corner based on a series of videos from Gary McDaniel. I want to suggest something to you.  I made this same suggestion to Thom and Blake but I haven’t heard back from them.  I’d like to request feedback on this piece from you and/or your readers.  I think it might be interesting to see what the community might say to help me improve.  Perhaps others would try it to if I break the ice.  But it’s up to you.  If you want to try it then feel free to use this pic.   If not I won’t be offended.  I appreciate all you’re doing.”

Thanks for writing and for the photo, Dean!  I always appreciate getting photos of my readers’ carvings.  It’s an excellent Santa ornament…one you should be proud of!  First major criticism though, and I’ve done this before, myself.  You forgot to do the eyebrows.  I think that’s an easy fix, though.  Also, next time, make the fur hat trim wider.  We all tend to make it too narrow.

Carving Tip: Take photos of your work as you go, even if it’s just before and after painting.  A photo will point out mistakes you don’t normally see with the naked eye.  This way you can go back and correct your mistakes before finishing the carving.

Carving faces off the corner of the block is not new.  I carve all of my ornaments that way and have been doing so for years.  If you’re just carving a face, it’s the easiest and perhaps the best way to do it because it helps the carver to get the nose out, which is so important when carving any facc.                                     What about some of our readers out there…does anyone else have any other suggestions to help Dean out?

Our final comment comes from Leonard along with some photos of some of the really nice Santas he’s been carving lately:

“Hello Bob, hope you and your family are having a great Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Just wondering about you simple Santa/gnome pattern. I go by your measurements and would like to try a larger one. Could I just double the measurements someway or is there a formula to go about this to keep everything in symmetry? Thanks, maybe you could comment on this in your blog next week. Have attached a couple of photos, one of a Santa head on a basswood plaque, I think I got this pattern from Wood Carving Illustrated magazine, and ones of your simple Santa pattern.

Cheers, Leonard”

Two Simple Santas
Simple Santas

Santa Plaque

Those are some really terrific looking carvings, Leonard!  They’re going to make great Christmas gifts this year! You’re doing a great job on the Simple Santas from my pattern and I especially like the way your Santa plaque turned out.

If you want to carve larger Santas just multiply the measurements you have.  For example, the original pattern is made on a 1″ square block.  So if you want to make a Santa on a 1 1/2″ square block, multiply your measurements by 1.5.  Therefore, a 1/2″ measurement becomes 0.5″ x 1.5 = .75″ or 3/4″, and so on.  If you go to a 2″ square block, just double all your measurements.  So a 1/2″ measurement becomes 0.5″ x 2 = 1.0″ or 1″, and so on.  I hope that helps.

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 carverbobk@woodchipchatter.com

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Special Announcement

Because of the short week due to the Thanksgiving holiday there will be no Wood Chip Chatter blog post on Friday, Nov. 26.  Wood Chip Chatter will return on Friday, Dec. 3 with more handy woodcarving information to help improve your knowledge and skills in the craft we all love.

At this time I want to wish all my loyal readers a very Blessed, Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!

See you in December!

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

I just had to do it!!!

Carving Eyes with Tony Harris – Part 2

An Eye Tutorial by Tony Harris

Part 2

Last week I posted Part 1 of a photo eye tutorial done by my good friend, Tony Harris from Tennessee.  Tony is an excellent carver who creates his own Santa ornaments and was gracious enough to share his expertise with us on how he carves the eyes.  Because of the number of photos in this tutorial I have broken it into two parts of 12 photos each.  Part 2 consists of Photos 13-24.

Part 2

Sharp tools are important.  Before you begin, make sure your tools are sharp.  Keep them sharp as you go with periodic stropping.

#13  With the detail knife make three “soft cuts” straight in on these lines. Then carve from the middle of the eye down to the lines.  This will give it the round effect.

#14  Draw lines into the upper eyelid into the deep cuts.  This will give it a bit of a hooded eyelid.  Use 1.5mm Dockyard gouge on those lines.

#15  Use the detail knife to carve straight in to the last U-gouge cuts in the corners of the upper eyelids. Then do an angle cut up into the corner to take a wedge out.

#16  Wedges out. Progress.

#17  Draw the rest of the top eyelid and take out that line with the 1.5mm Dockyard gouge.

#18  With the detail knife make a soft straight line in the 1.5mm cut above the top edge of the eyelid. Then draw lines in for the bags under the eyes. 

#19  Use the 1.5mm Dockyard gouge to carve the the bag lines out, then use the detail knife to deepen those cuts.  After that, add 2-3 wedge cuts in the outer corners of each eye for crow’s feet.

#20  I use a Flexcut #6 1/4“ gouge inverted on the top ridge of the nose to the center of the eyes. 

#21  Use the same gouge right side up from the brim of the hat down to the center cut.  This creates the bridge of the nose.

#22  Carve the eye brows with the 2mm Dockyard gouge cutting out the shape.  Then use the 1.5mm Dockyard gouge for the hair lines.  To finish up the process, study the carving, and clean up any cuts that are needed.

#23  Side profile.

#24  Finished Ornament

#25  Tools:

          Dockyard  2mm gouge

          Dockyard  1.5mm gouge

          Helvie Detail knife

          Allen Goodman drop point detail knife

          Flexcut  #11  1/4” U-gouge for eye sockets

          Flexcut  #11  3/16” U-gouge for the edge of the nose in the sockets

          Flexcut  #6  1/4” gouge for making the bridge of the nose

NOTE: Substitute alternate tool sizes and shapes as necessary according to the size of your project.

NOTE: Keep your eyes open for an article by Tony Harris and Bob Kozakiewicz with a full tutorial on how to carve this entire ornament in a future issue of Woodcarving Illustrated!

Readers’ Comments

Our first comment this week comes from Mr. T who is giving credit where credit is due on a photo he submitted last week:

“Bob…. Meant to share that I do the carving and my wife MaryJo is the painter…. Here is a pic of her work in progress.

Mr T”

Mr. T, it’s always the right thing to do to give credit where it is due, and I’m glad you did.  Those carvers who have wives who can paint are lucky guys.  MaryJo appears to be quite a talented artist.  She really puts the finishing touches on your already terrific carvings.  Thanks for sharing the picture!

Our second comment comes in the form of a question from Leonard from Newfoundland who is a new reader and is having difficulty with carving eyes and getting the expressions on his Santa faces to look happy.  Leonard writes:

“Hello, just joined today and I also have problems with eyes to the point where I just paint them in and also trying to get my Santa carving to have a happy look to them. Gonna send along some pics to show what I mean. Thanks love the blog and can’t wait for the next eye segment.”

“Hello, my name is Leonard and I just commented on the blog about trying to get my Santas to look a bit jolly and happy. Any tips of what I could change? Bit of blood on the single one, seem to get a few cuts when distracted, lol.Thanks”

Thanks for writing in, Leonard!  You’ve come to the right place.  I’m sure I can help get you started in the right direction.  First of all, carving good eyes is not just about carving eyes.  The entire expression of the face affects what the eye looks like and vice versa.  In the case of a happy face the corners of the mouth are pulled way up.  The farther they are pulled up the happier the face will look.  If the face has a mustache, its corners must be turned up.  But that’s not all.  The happy eyes must now also be arched up.  Your eyes appear to be cut straight across which gives the face a very stern look.  Compare your faces with the faces on my carvings below and I think you will see what I mean.

“Skeeter”

“Santa”

Look at the tutorial and you will see how the beginning of the eyes are cut into ovals.  These ovals set up the whole shape of the eyes.

Oh, as far as the blood on your carving?  No problem.  Just carve it off.  It happens to me too sometimes!

You sent me several questions this past week, Leonard.  Did I answer them all?  If not, let me know.

Our next comment comes from Dianne who is enjoying the eye tutorial:

“Can’t wait for part 2 of eye carving.  Part 1 was already extremely helpful.  THANKS!”

Thank you for your nice comment, Dianne!  I hope you found today’s Part 2 as helpful as Part 1.

Our next comment comes from Robyn Gardner who is also enjoying the eye tutorial:

“I have been carving for a number of years but have always avoided faces because of the eyes.  I have read many books and articles explaining how to do it but somehow none of what I saw helped me understand how to do it.  Well, the simple explanation with clear pictures have made it all seem possible to me and I can’t wait to try it out.  Thanks!”

Thank you for writing in, Robyn!  Tony and I tried to make this tutorial as simple and easy to understand as we possibly could.  We are both delighted to hear that it is being well received and my readers are finding it helpful.

“This is a great help. Thank you very much. The eyes are everything and something I yet need to master. My results are either too small in proportion to the face overall or too deep, or … . At any rate this helps a lot. I’ve already tried it and getting a good feel. I’m looking forward to Part II.

Thanks again!

Richard Dreja” 

’The way I see it, If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain.’

Thanks for writing in, Richard!  Your saying about the rainbow is so true.  With every success comes many failures…practice, practice, practice.

We have a question from my good friend, Bob Nesbit from Pennsylvania about where to buy mineral oil:

“Bob,

I did read with much interest you Blog on Carving & painting Christmas Ornaments, but was late to the party for my comments. I just started doing some ornaments and this information will be very helpful.
This is one of the topics that is discussed within our club, but I don’t remember anyone ever saying anything about mineral oil. I’m going to give it a try this week and see how it goes. Is this something you can purchase at Lowe’s or Home Depot, and does it only come as mineral oil? I assume you brush it on and wipe off the access?
Really enjoy your Blogs and hope you can keep it going.
RJ Nes Carver”

Mineral oil is available at Lowe’s, Home Depot and your local hardware store.  It comes in a bottle/can as Mineral Oil just the way BLO does.  The best way to use it is to brush it on and wipe off the excess.  You might also want to consider using walnut oil.  I’ve been using it for awhile now and am getting great results with it.       I’m glad you’re enjoying Wood Chip Chatter, Bob, and hope you are finding it helpful.

Announcements

The International Association of Woodcarvers has upcoming Zoom meetings on the following Saturdays at 3PM with special guests.  Check them out…

Zoom: 3104603575

SCHEDULE:

11/20 – Dwayne Gosnell

11/27 – Thanksgiving

12/4 – Dave Dion

12/11 – Dale Green

12/18 – Eric Owens

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOODCARVERS

COME JOIN US!!!

I’m really pleased to see all the comments and questions that came in this week.  It’s your input that creates the dialog which drives Wood Chip Chatter and makes it informative.  Keep up the good work!

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 carverbobk@woodchipchatter.com

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Our family has a genetic predisposition to diarrhea.

It runs in our jeans.

Carving Eyes with Tony Harris – Part 1

An Eye Tutorial by Tony Harris

Part 1

This week I am introducing Part 1 of a photo eye tutorial done by my good friend, Tony Harris from Tennessee.  Tony is an excellent carver who creates his own Santa ornaments and was gracious enough to share his expertise with us on how he carves the eyes.  Because of the number of photos in this tutorial I have broken it into two parts of 12 photos each.  Part 2 will follow next week.

Part 1

Sharp tools are important.  Before you begin, make sure your tools are sharp.  Keep them sharp as you go with periodic stropping.

Santa Ornament Pattern

#1  Face foundation set up.

#2  Draw two dots for the point of the inner corners of the eyes.

#3  Draw two “C” shaped lines for the main wrinkle.

#4  Use a 2mm Dockyard gouge on those two lines.

#5  Use a detail knife straight in the center of the 2mm cuts.

#6  Use the detail knife in at an angle to make a wedge cut out of the 2mm cuts. Take that wedge out. This will create a good shadow for the setup of the top eyelid.

#7  Progress.  Both sides completed to this point.

#8  Draw the top eyelids, trying to match both sides.

#9  Use the detail knife straight in on the lines. Stab deep into the corner but “soft cut” the rest of the line.  I usually make 3 passes. This way it doesn’t tear the wood on the eyelid and makes a good clean cut.

#10  Cut up to the eyelid line to start forming the eyeball.

#11  Clean up the eye, and carve away the pencil lines.  Carve deep in the corners.

#12  Draw the bottom eyelids corner to corner.  Most times it will be almost straight across.

This ends Part 1 of the Eye Tutorial. Part 2 will follow next week.

Readers’ Comments

Our first comment this week comes from Jim Morasco along with a photo of the terrific relief carving he did from a painting:

“Hi

Just thought i would share a picture of my first attempt at carving a ” painting “. I call it “weathering the storms of life”.

Jim”

That’s quite an impressive carving, Jim!  It reminds me of a big sailing ship. Very unique.

Our second comment comes from John (Mr. T) also along with a photo of some fantastic carvings he did for his wife:

“Bob…. This is some misc. Carvings in my wife’s collection.

John”

Those are spectacular carvings, John!  Very clean work.  Excellent carving and painting, and brilliant use of antique shading on all of them!  Great job!

Announcements

I’m disappointed to have gotten only two comments this week.  I thought for sure last week’s discussion on the use of BLO would have drawn some comments and questions on the topic.  Surely many of you have carving questions or suggestions, tips and photos in general that you can share with the rest of us.  It doesn’t have to be about a current or past post.  Start a new topic of discussion. Wood Chip Chatter is the type of blog that thrives on reader participation.  Without it the blog becomes dull and uninteresting.

The International Association of Woodcarvers has upcoming Zoom meetings on the following Saturdays at 3PM with special guests.  Check them out…

Zoom: 3104603575

SCHEDULE:

11/13 – Ryan Olsen

11/20 – Dwayne Gosnell

11/27 – Thanksgiving

12/4 – Dave Dion

12/11 – Dale Green

12/18 – Eric Owens

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOODCARVERS

COME JOIN US!!!

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 carverbobk@woodchipchatter.com

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Carving & Painting Christmas Ornaments

Carving & Painting Christmas Ornaments

By Betty Padden

A Book Review

You’re all probably busy right in the middle of your Christmas carving just about now so I thought this would be an appropriate time to introduce you to this great must-have book!  If you can’t get it now put it on your list to Santa!

“Carving & Painting Christmas Ornaments” by Betty Padden is probably one of the best books I have in my library.  Published in 2014 by Fox Chapel Publishing Company, Inc. this 98 page full-color book contains techniques and patterns for 23 enjoyable ornaments to keep the carver busy all year long.

Front Cover
Back Cover

There are 6 step-by-step projects all arranged by skill level from beginner through intermediate to advanced.  The projects include Angels, elves, stars, snowmen, penguins, poinsettias, and more.  One of my favorites is the Christmas candle.

Candle Ornament
Stocking Ornament

The front of the book includes a full list of the tools required to complete all of the projects, but the most helpful part is the section on painting the ornaments.  Betty Padden is perhaps one of the best painters I know, and in her book she covers brushes, highlighting, shading, blending and mixing of colors.  She also shows you the colors used to paint each ornament.

Penguin Ornament

“Carving & Painting Christmas Ornaments” is available for $16.99 US | $21.99 CAN | 11.99 RRP UK from Fox Chapel Publishing Company, Inc.  I highly recommend this book to any carver who enjoys carving Christmas ornaments or is looking for new Christmas ideas.

Questions & Comments

Our first comment this week comes from Dean who tells us about one of his favorite carvers:

“We all have favorite carvers on YouTube. But I want to add one of my favorites. He hasn’t posted from many years so lots of folks won’t know him. His name is Gary McDaniel. His face tutorials are my favorite. His Indian, greenman and Santa are excellent for beginners or intermediate. Check him out.”

Thanks for sharing that information, Dean.  I have heard of Gary McDaniel but have never seen any of his videos.  I will definitely have to look into them.

Our next question comes from Cory Rower who needs some advice on gouges:

“Hello! I just had a question and maybe someone else has already asked this but I am trying to decide between palm Chisels/Gouges or the Schaff 12 piece carving set with a full length handle. Are there benefits to having a certain one? Or is it more of a personal preference? I have been kind of tossing around the Flexcut palm set or the Schaff 12 piece set.
Thank you for any help you are able to give. It is very much appreciated.
-Cory”

I will offer my opinion here and maybe some of our readers can write in with more advice on what you should do.  First of all, I’m not familiar with Schaff tools so I can’t speak to their quality.  As far as long handle vs. palm gouges goes it’s a matter of preference.  I know carvers who use both but personally I prefer palm gouges.  And finally, this may not be what you want to hear but I am not a fan of tool sets because I can assure you that if you buy a 12 piece tool set there will surely be 3 or 4 gouges in that set you will never use.  So in the end you paid for tools you really don’t want.  My advice there is to buy your gouges individually as you need them.  This way you are always getting a tool you will use.  Buy 2 or 3 now, then add more as you need them.

I received another message from Cory R. this week who sent in some photos of his latest work:

“Hi, I had messaged you on Instagram about the tutorial you did on your Patriotic Santa. So I still have to add in his mustache and beard hairs but  he looks so much better. Definitely not perfect but I was pretty happy how he turned out. Thank you for taking the time to explain it to me. 

I also have some pictures for the WoodChip Chatter Blog if you want to use them. The first is a star ornament with JOY wood burnt onto it. The second is one of the many penguin ornaments I’m making this year and then we have a before and after your help on my Santa ornament! 

Also in reply to your October 16th post my name is Cory R. from Ohio and I am definitely still in the beginning stages of carving but I really enjoy it.”

Thanks for your message, Cory, and thank you especially for the photos.  I always appreciate receiving photos from my readers.  We’ve all been in the beginning stages of carving at one time.  I think you’re off to a good start.  The nose on your Santa is much improved but if you want to make it rounder cut more off the bottom.  I really like your star ornament!  Your wood burning is excellent, and your penguins are looking good too.  Keep up the good work and keep those photos coming!

My good friend Tony Harris sent in an all too kind accolade after reading my stories about Halloween and the Jack-O-Lantern:

“WOW! so much information. Your writing talents are awesome, plus a very talented woodcarver as well.  =]”

Thank you so much, Tony!  I greatly appreciate your all too generous compliment!

Our next message comes from Dean Stewart with some meaningful information on the comparison of BLO versus mineral oil:

“Bob,
I was the one who first mentioned the Doug Linker video (Live Stream).  I mistakenly believed that live streams were archived like videos are.  My mistake.  To make up for it, I am sending the attached picture of my three women.  I hope this can be the start of a mineral oil versus BLO discussion.  Lizzy on the left is sealed with mineral oil.  Natalie in the middle is natural basswood and Rita on the right is BLO.  These have been sitting for about 9 or 10 months.  You can see some yellowing on Rita that is not visible on Lizzy.  The grain on Lizzy really pops, but that might be just this wood.  I didn’t do any painting comparisons.  Maybe someone else has done that.  I’m personally sold on mineral oil.  Very inexpensive, you can paint on it wet or dry, the colors stay sharp and the rags don’t require the same care as BLO.”

They say a picture tells a thousand words and your picture, Dean, helps to demonstrate what I’ve been saying all along, and that is that BLO will yellow your carvings after a period of time.  After using BLO your “Rita” carving shows major signs of yellowing after just 9 months!  Your “Lizzy” carving treated with mineral oil shows no changes at all.  This is exactly why I encourage all my fellow carvers to break away from using BLO and switch over to either mineral oil or walnut oil.  Thank you very much, Dean, for sharing your research results with us!

As further proof, the first photo below is an award-winning carving I did in 2015.  The second carving below that is what the same carving looks like today in 2021.

Santa carved in 2015
Same Santa in 2021 (after 6 yrs.)

You can easily see a major difference in color after only 6 years.  The flesh tones have darkened significantly and the whites of the hair, mustache and beard have also all darkened.  For this reason, I do not advocate the use of BLO on wood carvings.

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 carverbobk@woodchipchatter.com

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Did you hear the joke about the two skunks?

Never mind, it stinks.

Joke courtesy of my 7 year old granddaughter!