HOW TO PAINT PLAID

HOW TO PAINT PLAID

How To Paint Plaid by Mike Pounders*

I recently completed a Mark Akers rough out and several people were interested in how I painted the flannel shirt the guy was wearing.  It won’t seem so difficult once you go through the steps a time or two!  I used 4 different colors for mine: a light coffee color, dark blue, darker brown, and a darker blue.  The colors can be your choice but a light color and dark one usually work better together.  These are acrylic paints thinned to a wash.

 I bought these little plastic containers in the paint section at the hobby store and  I like to use them to mix slightly larger quantities of paint.  I really like adding the paint and water and being able to shake it to get a really well-mixed shade that I like…plus to keeps longer and is ready to be used immediately when I get the urge to paint.

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I use a round brush that holds a good bit of paint, but has a fine tip that lets me paint details as needed.  I use it for the wide stripes, but a flat brush might work better.  The other brush is a long liner, that I use for the thinner lines and stripes. I have a smaller one but this one holds a bit more paint so I can make a line in one continuous stroke.                                                 

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I practiced first on a sheet of drawing paper, to make sure I have the process down and get some idea how the colors combinations look together.  After doing that, you will also want to practice at least once on a piece of basswood, to make sure your colors look right.  What looks good on a piece of white paper may need to be darker or thinner on a piece of yellow-tan basswood …..it will look different. 

I just roughly draw a pattern of squares that are close to the size that would be appropriate for your carving. These are about a ¼ inch.  Notice that I have labeled them for brown or blue in alternating columns on the top and side. 

                                               

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I start by just painting the vertical brown stripes. Try to not make too many passes in order to keep the color consistent.  I use a hair dryer to blow it dry after I finish them.                                                    

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Now I do the horizontal lines of brown and you can see that the second coat over the intersections makes those squares darker. 

                                               

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Blow dry and then do the vertical blue stripes, then blow dry and do the horizontal blue stripes.  All these are just roughly done with your larger brush.

                                     

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Now, in photo 8, we’re going to use the smaller liner brush to paint a “corral” pattern using a slightly darker brown.  And it will only be painted in the darker blue squares.                                                         

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Start by doing the horizontal ones and paint the line all the way across.  I start at the far left and work to the right, so that my hand is not resting in the lines I just painted. I hold the brush like a pencil and use ring finger or pinkie finger to steady my hand. 

                                               

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Blow dry when finished and then do the vertical lines (brown-on-blue) to form the corrals, as shown in photo 10. Blow dry when finished. 

                                               

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Now we can do the darker blue intersections.  These will be painted blue-on-brown and will consist of two lines fairly close together, right down the middle of the rows and columns.  I do the vertical ones first, dry and then do the horizontal ones. Again, work from left to right. 

                                     

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And there you have it…something that looks like a faded flannel shirt.  I actually used one of my own as a reference for the colors and patterns.  I think the faded colors add to the softness effect, but I also sand the shirt to make sure there isn’t too much sharpness. 

                                               

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If there are a lot of sharp marks or facets from cutting, it can make the shirt look overly-wrinkled or like it was made of paper.  You want something that is soft and flowing…like a real shirt.  The last picture is Mark’s carving, showing the colors and pattern he used.  On his carving, he also burned the larger squares (rather than using just pencil lines) before painting.  This would give your shirt a newer, crisp appearance.  Mark also used colored pens for the thinner stripes.  That gives some nice lines and has a similar transparent effect. 

                                               

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I couldn’t find the colors I wanted or liked, so I ended up using my liner, which again seemed to give a more faded effect that I liked.  When I paint on the wood, I keep the wood damp if I am painting the face and areas where I want to blend colors.  But I paint the shirt with the wood dry, and also dry between the colors and rows I paint, just like I did with the paper.  Now, when I’ve finished all the plaid, I will spray it with water and get it damp and may then add some washes of gray for shadows in the wrinkles around the buttons and other places.  That’s so I can blend them in, rather than just having a big blotch of color.  So that’s how I did mine…..If you try it, you will find it is not as complex as it appears and it can give a nice effect to a carving.

*This tutorial was provided through the gracious courtesy of Mike Pounders from Arkansas, which he had posted in the Woodcarving Illustrated Woodcarving Forum on 1/9/2017.

READERS’ COMMENTS

                  

Our first comment today comes from Jakobo Santiago from the Canary Islands on our earlier topic on wooden spoons.  Jakobo writes:

“I have learned that you have to rub the spoons with something soft and hard (like a deer horn, a pipe, or something similar) to seal the pores. I’ve tried it and it works! A smooth, shiny finish is achieved before applying the oil”

Thank you for that information, Jakob.  The word spoon is derived from an ancient word meaning a chip of wood or horn carved from a larger piece.  The practice of rubbing wood with a hard tool such as a hard piece of wood or metal is called burnishing, and is widely used here in the United States for all types of woodworking projects, including woodcarving.

Burnishing means to polish (a surface) by friction with a tool to make the wood smooth and bright.   It is particularly useful in furniture making although I have personally done it on some of my wood carvings.

Our second comment comes from Bob Nesbit from Pennsylvania who appreciates the information on wood burning from my last post:  Bob said:

Bob,

Thanks for the information on wood burning and the different kinds of wood to burn on. I’m also new to wood burning my carvings so this information is helpful.

Regards,
Bob Nesbit

Thank you for writing in, Bob.  It that kind of feedback which lets me know I’m on the right track with the information I am providing to my readers.  I’m glad you found it helpful.

I’m hoping to get some feedback on today’s post about Painting Plaid.  There are a number of ways this can be done so it would be great if we can open up some discussion of this topic.  Let’s hear your questions and comments.

Our third comment today comes from Ed along with a picture of the stunning fan bird he carved:

“Hi Carvers,  Here is an example of one of my carvings.  I use northern white cedar from Carver’s World.  Anyone have experience with trying other woods?  Thanks,  Ed”

                                     

Ed’s Fan Bird

That’s a magnificent looking fan bird you carved, Ed, and beautifully painted as well.  Although I have never tried carving a fan bird yet I have carved many different types of wood which include: basswood, white pine, sugar pine, red cedar, mahogany, black walnut, butternut, yellow poplar, sassafras and red oak. Do fan birds carve well from basswood?

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’!

                  

Wood Burning A Black Background

The following is a short tutorial for all you wood burners out there, on how to burn a black background.  There’s much more to it than just rubbing your burning pen back and forth all over (as I would have thought).  Read on and learn some tips on proper wood burning technique.  

Wood Burning A Black Background

Burning a black background is quite simple, but produces a lot of smoke and can add a few extra hours of work to a piece. The key is to be patient and take your time. (It’s also a good idea to use a respirator or work in a well-ventilated area.)

I use the Walnut Hollow Creative Versa-Tool wood burner and the shading point. Lay the point flat on the wood move it back and forth, very slowly, in small half inch sections. Working in smaller sections helps to hold the heat in the wood and keeps the point from cooling down too fast.

Go in the same direction as the wood grain if possible. Keep moving the tip back and forth until the wood gets very black then move over to a new section.

Don’t use too hot of a setting or you can scorch the upper layers of wood, causing irreparable damage. (I use the high temp setting on the Versa-Tool but other burners may be too hot on their highest setting. Experiment on a scrap piece of wood first to dial in the temp.) Just be patient and keep the burner moving at all times, keeping a soft touch. If you press really hard then you’ll dent the wood and bend the tip.

The burner will cool down a lot after a few minutes of black burning and you will see some carbon buildup as well. If you set the burner to the side and wait 5 minutes, it will regain optimal temperature and most of the carbon will burn off on its own. I usually use two burners and switch back and forth between them so I always have a hot burner ready to go.

Also, the type of wood plays a large factor in creating a nice black background. In my experience, it is almost impossible to get a good black on Pine. My preference is Basswood for making smooth, dark backgrounds. And as always, sand the wood until super smooth before burning.

Woods Commonly Used For Carving

  • American Mahogany
  • Apple
  • Basswood
  • Black Walnut
  • Butternut
  • Cherry
  • Dark Red Meranti
  • Holly
  • Padauk
  • Pau Marfim
  • Persimmon
  • Purplheart
  • Red Alder
  • Soft Elm
  • Sycamore
  • Yellow Poplar
  • Zebrano

READERS’ COMMENTS

We have only one readers’ comment this time around.

spandexsplinters commented on my last post on Fitting a Baseball Hat on a Head and said: “This is super helpful! Thanks”

I‘m glad you found the information useful.  I hope more people did.

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‘!

Someone told me half of all car accidents happen within a mile of your home.  So I moved.

Fitting a Baseball Hat on a Head

Fitting a Baseball Hat on a Head

The picture tutorial shown below demonstrates how a baseball hat can be fitted onto a head to give the natural look that the head is actually inside the hat rather that the hat sitting on top of the head.  This method is the one used by Lynn Doughty to fit cowboy hats onto his figures and can be used for fitting any kind of hat.

1.  Patterns used.

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2.  First carve, paint and finish the head.  Then cut off the top of the head with a band saw, scroll saw or disk sander.

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3.  Carve the outside of the hat but do not carve anything on the inside yet.

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4.  Place the hat on top of the head exactly the way you want it to look.  Then carefully mark around the head on the underside of the hat with a pencil.

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5.  Carve out a shallow area in the bottom of the hat staying inside your pencil lines.

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6.  Continue carving and adjusting the underside of the hat until it fits over the top of the head the way you want it.

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7.  Once the hat fits, carve the inside of the hat bill with a # 3 gouge to give it a rounded look.

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8.  At about the center of the head drill a 9/64″ hole about 1/2″ deep.

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9.  Insert a 5/8″ long 1/8″ dowel into the hole (the 9/64″ hole and 1/8″ dowel allow for a little play when fitting the hat for the final time).  Blacken the end of the dowel with the pencil.

 

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10.  Refit the hat onto the head and press down firmly.  The graphite on the end of the dowel will leave a black mark on the inside of the hat.

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11.  Replace the 5/8″ long dowel in the head with a longer 1/8″ dowel and glue it in place.

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12.  At the black mark inside the hat drill a 9/64″ hole being careful not to drill through the hat.  Fit the hat into the head  (usually I only set the hat down over the head 3/6” to 1/4”… Just above the top of the ears) just enough to give the impression that the head is up inside the hat and not that the hat is sitting on top of the head.  Glue the dowel into the hat as you make the final adjustments fitting the hat on top of the head.

Tip:  Paint and finish the head and hat BEFORE fitting them together.

READERS’ COMMENTS

          

Our first comment today comes from Phyllis from Pennsylvania with some invaluable advice on taking photographs of your wood carvings.  Phyllis writes:

“Hello CarverBob, my friend,

These 4 photos are a picture of a Grinch carving I did last year. It is carved in cottonwood bark, which I really love to carve.

The subject isn’t about the carving but about taking pictures of your carvings. So many times on FB I see pictures of carvings that have a very busy background and it is sometimes very hard to make out the carving. The 4 pictures I posted give you somewhat of an idea which backgrounds might look better and which ones make the picture too busy.”

                                               

“Think about your picture before you post it, see if the background suits the carving and if people can actually make out the carving and it’s details. Sometimes I actually have to tilt my phone to get a better picture also.

That being said, I am not a professional photographer, but I try my best to make the photo turn out great.

Thanks,

Phyllis”

Excellent advice, Phyllis!  I, too see so many otherwise great carvings displayed in photos having cluttered backgrounds.  I see them taken on tables with lamps and pictures in the background, or on workbenches with paint bottles, brushes and assorted other stuff in the background.  Many carvers don’t think of how the background affects the look of the carving, and your photos illustrate that perfectly.

You can see in the first two photos with the cluttered backgrounds how difficult it is to see the carving.  The clutter detracts from the carving.  On the other hand, in the second two photos with the plain, uncluttered backgrounds the carving shows up clearly.  So you can easily see what a difference the background makes when taking a photo of your carving.  Think about that the next time you are photographing your carvings.

Thank you so much for sending in that fine information!  I’m sure there are a lot of carvers out there who can benefit from it.

Our next note comes from Susan Rindchen who comments on carving extreme pumpkins and the ‘Extreme Pumpkin Carving’ book I reviewed in my last blog.  Susan writes:

“I have carved pumpkins for yrs. I have carved every one in the book. I bought the book when it was first published. I used to carve my pumpkins with my wood carving tools. Now I carve with a knife and clay ribbon tools. I find they work better. Try carving a pumpkin it is fun to carve.”

Thank you for writing in, Susan!  You must be a very accomplished  pumpkin carver by now, and we would love to see photos of some of the pumpkins you have carved.  I have dabbled in carving extreme pumpkins (I’m not very good at it yet) and have also found that the clay ribbon tools work best.  I believe the world renowned pumpkin carver, Ray Villafane, uses ribbon tools when he carves his magnificent pumpkins.  Any carver who wants to have some fun and try something new should pick up a copy of ‘Extreme Pumpkin Carving’ and a set of clay ribbon tools and give pumpkin carving a try.

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’!

Courtesy of Wayne Smith

Extreme Pumpkin Carving

“Extreme Pumpkin Carving”

by Vic hood & Jack A. Williams

A Book Review

It’s already just 2 months until Halloween and you’re all probably thinking about carving your Halloween pumpkins.  Well “Extreme Pumpkin Carving” is just the book to help you turn out one of the most outrageous big orange gourds in the neighborhood.

Front Cover

Back Cover

“Extreme Pumpkin Carving” is a fascinating book written by award-winning carvers Vic Hood and Jack A. Williams that will take your Halloween decorating to a new level!  This revised and expanded second edition of “Extreme Pumpkin Carving”, published by Fox Chapel Publishing in 2013 is a revised version of the book originally published in 2004.

Comprehensively written, this book covers everything you need to know to create the best jack-o-lantern on your block.  Filled from beginning to end with color photos this 103 page book takes you step by step through two projects…one being a little more difficult that the other.  The first four page cover selecting the right pumpkin and preserving your pumpkin.  There are also a list of interesting Pumpkin Facts and a captivating story about Halloween lore.

Sample Page

Included are 20 fabulous patterns which show not only the pattern but a color photo of the finished pumpkin.  Also, there are 23 color photos of examples of amazing finished Extreme Pumpkins, some of which were winners at state fairs and competitions around the country.

Sample Pattern

                                                           

Finished Pumpkin

                                                         

The one drawback I found with this book was that it doesn’t specifically cover the tools needed, although you can get somewhat of an idea of the tools being used from the photos.

For any carver who wants to take his pumpkin carving to the next level this fall “Extreme Pumpkin Carving” is a great book to help you get there.

READERS’ COMMENTS

Our first comment today comes  from Jerry Stennett about the use of walnut oil and other wood conditioners prior to painting.  This seems to be a wide open topic as many carvers have differing methods on what they use.  Jerry’s comment goes like this:

“Enjoying your blog. I have been carving bowls and spoons for past 4-5 years. Started carving figures( mostly santa ornaments) over past year or so including some of your patterns seen in Woodcarving Illustrated. Related to your comments about using walnut oil as the base layer of your carvings I was wondering if you dilute it with mineral spirits or do you use it straight? Do you paint acrylic paint directly over this layer? I have been using minwax wood conditioner with good results as suggested by Doug Linker. Thanks again for your efforts.
Jerry Stennett”

Thanks for your kind words, Jerry.  I’m glad you are enjoying my blog.  First off, we would love to see some photos of these terrific bowls, spoons and Santa ornaments you’ve been carving lately!  To answer your question about walnut oil, I do use it straight (undiluted) out of the bottle, and I let is sit for about 30 minutes before painting.

I didn’t know Doug Linker has been using Minwax Wood Conditioner.  I’ve always seen him (at least in the videos I’ve watched) paint directly over the wood.  I’m sure, though that the Minwax product works well too.

Our next comment comes from my friend Jakobo Santiago from the Canary Islands with a captivating explanation about how wood is cured there.  Jakobo writes:

“Hi there. How are the wood carvings going?
I’ve been doing a bit of research on curing wood in salt water. It is the traditional method of curing the wood where I live and it was used both to build boats and houses, docks or statues.
The process consists of submerging the freshly cut logs in the sea for a period of 6 months to 3 years, depending on the type of tree and its size (normally pine but other woods also).
With this process, it is achieved that all the fluids of the wood (at the cellular level) are replaced by salt water. Then they allowed the wood to dry for 3 months to 1 year in the sun.
In this way, the wood was protected with salt from the attack of fungi and insects, and its resistance and structural stability were increased. transporting freshly felled trees down rivers and storing them in backwaters or lakes serves the same function. Today this traditional technique is still used.
Hope you liked it!”

That is some compellingly interesting information, but if you think about the chemistry behind the process (I have a chemistry background) it all makes very good sense.  After this process I imagine the wood becomes rather hard to carve.  Do you find that it is harder to carve this treated wood rather than carving fresh cut pine or pine that has just been allowed to air dry for about 6 months?

Our next comment comes from Bob Nesbit in response to our recent topic on stropping.  Bob writes:

“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.
Regards
Bob Nesbit”

Thank you for writing in, Bob.  Let us know how the change in your stropping method works out.  I’m interested to know.

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’!

Wood Properties of White Pine

White Pine is one of the wood species requested for a Wood Properties list, so today’s blog begins with the list of the Wood Properties of White Pine.

Wood Properties of White Pine

                                                                                 

READERS’ COMMENTS

                       

Dean Stewart wrote in to comment on the topic of strops from my last blog:

“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.”

BeaverCraft Strop & Green Compound

Thanks for the input on the BeaverCraft strop, Dean!  From your photo it looks like an excellent, well made strop so I can see why you’re pleased with it.  As I had mentioned, I don’t know anything about BeaverCraft but from what I’ve heard everyone who has bought their products has been more than happy with them.  Did you buy the strop directly from BeaverCraft or from a supplier who carries their products?  Has anyone else had any experience with BeaverCraft?

Our next comment comes from my good friend Wayne Smith from Nova Scotia is response to my comments about the use of BLO on our wood carvings.  Wayne writes:

 “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”

It’s true, Danish oil (and walnut oil) are a bit more expensive than commercial grade BLO but for my money they’re well worth it for the benefits you get from them.  I too like the finish results I get and I must say the finish on your carvings always looks great as well.

PRODUCT NOTE

In my last blog Dennis Hess sent in some photos of the beautiful Comfort Birds he’s been carving from a product called ‘Spectraply’.  I never heard of ‘Spectraply’ so I did some research on it.  The response to my query comes from Rockler who sells ‘Spectaply’ as bottle stopper and pen blanks for wood turners.  Here is Rockler’s response:

“Spectraply is made from veneered layers of premium yellow birch that have been brightly dyed,  The veneers are dyed under extreme pressure for full penetration of the dye throughout the wood. After drying to 5% moisture content, they are then laminated in a radio frequency press for an unfailing bond.”

This is an educated guess on my part but I believe ‘Spectraply’ is the same material Helvie uses to make their beautiful multicolored knife handles.



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’!

I’ve got a new job with 500 people under me.  I cut the grass at the cemetery.

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.

QUESTIONS & COMMENTS

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 carverbobk@woodchipchatter.com

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

The Comfort Bird

The Comfort Bird

I‘m sure most of you have heard of Comfort Birds and many of you have probably carved a few of them.  Comfort Birds are often given to those in need such as the ill, blind, homeless, elderly or people in disaster areas such as hurricane flood zones, as a token of support and an act of kindness.  When gently rubbed, the birds can bring comfort to those struggling with both physical and emotional pain.  For many, these small birds serve as tangible reminders that someone loves and cares about them.

From an article by Frank Foust

Comfort Birds are easy to carve and require only a knife to complete.  They can be carved from literally any type of wood you choose.  Popular wood choices are black walnut, butternut, poplar, cherry and maple.

Comfort Birds

Comfort Birds

Comfort Bird Pattern

Start by transferring both patterns onto the block of wood and cutting them both out on a band saw or scroll saw.  At that point a lot of your work is already done.  Round the carving to shape then sand the heck out of it until it’s smooth as you know what.  Give your bird two coats of polyurethane, lacquer or varnish (your choice), and you’re done!

Holding a Comfort Bird

If you don’t have a band saw or scroll saw, I have seen that BeaverCraft sells a Comfort Bird Carving Kit, although I was not able to find it on their website.  BeaverCraft is a Ukrainian company which I know nothing about so I can’t speak for the quality of their products or services.

BeaverCraft Comfort Bird Kit

Discussion Time

I would like to get some discussions going here on Wood Chip Chatter for the purpose of sharing thoughts, ideas, methods, tips and tricks which our readers use in woodcarving.  So to start off the first discussion here are some questions: How do you strop your knife?  What kind of strop do you use?  What kind of honing compound do you use?  How often do you strop your knife?  Explain why.

Certainly we can all learn a few new ideas from a discussion like this.

I‘ll start off the discussion with how I strop my knives:

I actually use two different types of strops.  One is the John Dunkle pig skin strop, and the other is a Pinewood Forge cow hide leather strop.  On the John Dunkle strop I use the John Dunkle ‘Blue Velvet’ (which is actually aluminum oxide) compound which comes in a blue powder form.  You just sprinkle some onto the strop and rub it into the leather.  The ‘Blue Velvet’ has some hard lumps of powder in it which I just mash down with my finger and rub them in.

I use a powder form of aluminum oxide on my (Pinewood Forge) leather strop.  This stop has a very smooth piece of leather on it and the grey aluminum oxide powder (very powdery) easily rubs into the leather.

Typical Leather Strop

My observation has been that the Blue Velvet on the Dunkle pig skin strop cuts more aggressively  than the powder aluminum oxide on the cow hide leather strop.  So I will usually use both…first the Dunkle, then the leather.  The aluminum oxide on the leather strop gives a nice polished shine to the blade.

Generally, I strop about every 15 minutes or whenever I feel my knife is getting dull.

I have tried all of the different waxy stick/cake types of compounds but found that they all go on streaky and unevenly.  Additionally, the wax in the compound tends to cause my blade to ‘drag’ as I draw it over the strop. The way I see it, all of the waxy stick compounds use aluminum oxide as the cutting agent ( with the exception of the green compound which uses chromium oxide ). So why add all that wax to your strop when all you need is the aluminum oxide anyway.

EMAILS

The following is an email exchange I had with Jakob Santiago from the Canary Islands.  The conversation pertains to treating and stabilizing wood before carving.

I thought I had posted Jakob’s earlier comments in a past blog but I can’t find them so I apologize if some of this is a repeat of what you may have already read.  His final email has not been posted before and I find it very interesting.  The conversation goes as follows:

Jacob: Hello everyone.
I hope you are having some long and profitable wood carving sessions

I’ve been reading and watching some videos on how to bake wood in the home oven to dry and harden it.
They also comment that its physical properties stabilize, its fibers compact and it tends less to deform. moreover, wood insects no longer attack it.
I understand it is not suitable for carving characters, but for spoons and the like, it can be interesting. What do you think about Bob?

Bob: Hi Jakob,

I don’t know too much about baking wood in the oven although I’ve heard of it.  The basswood I use here is already kiln dried and stable so I don’t run into any of the problems you describe.  I understand that many spoon carvers carve their spoons from live (wet) wood so I can see where the baking process might come into play there.  I’m sure the process works.

If you don’t mind I will post your email (comments & question) in the next blog and we’ll see if we can get some input from some of our readers on the subject.

Best regards,

Bob

Jakob: Thank you very much, Master Bob.

Please, feel free to use all the stuff I send you. It is truly a pleasure and an honor for me to have your advice and expertise.

And so, you’re right. I’ve been watching again the videos and they talks about wet wood (my english is not as good as it should be, so I lost parts of the speeching) 

As a curiosity, here where I live (Canary Islands) the traditional method of curing wood was to immerse it in the sea for a few months and then dry it under the sun on the beach also for a long time.

Best wishes for you and your family

Jk

Bob: That’s a very interesting way of treating wood and it sounds like a very long process.  About how many months is it immersed in the sea and how long is it left out to dry on the beach?  Are they logs that are immersed or pieces of cut wood, and what type of wood is  it?

We received one email this time from Roar Martinsen responding to my question about the photos he sent in of his carpenter.  I had asked Roar how tall his carpenter carving was.  Roar wrote:

“Hi Bob. Picture of my carpenter is 4.inch tal. Painted with acrylic paint.”

Thank you, Roar for clarifying that.

We’re rather short on emails this time as we have no questions or comments from anyone.  I need your input.  What do you think about the book reviews?  Do you want to see more of them?  What about the Wood Properties of Basswood list in my last blog?  Do you want to see more lists like that for other species of wood such as butternut, walnut, cottonwood, mahogany, etc.?  Send me the name of a species you are interested in. Your feedback helps me keep Wood Chip Chatter informative and fun.

Let the chips fly!  Tell your wood carving friends and spread the word about Wood Chip Chatter, and don’t forget 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 (let me know if you have any trouble attaching your photos).

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Wood Properties of Basswood

While doing some research I discovered an exceptional resource which provides information on everything you ever wanted to know about 80 different species of woods.  The information covers everything from things like carvability and density to stainablity and the size of the knots.

I was so impressed by the mass of information available on these lists that I thought I would share them with you here on Wood Chip Chatter.

                                                                                               

I don’t intend to cover all 80 species but I will try to periodically provide the list of information for certain specific wood species here on the blog.  Since most of us carve basswood I figure that’s the wood most of you would be interested in so here below is the list of Wood Properties of Basswood:

Wood Properties of Basswood

I encourage your feedback on what you thought about this list.  Did you find it interesting or useful?  Would you like to see more lists like this on the properties of other woods?

How To Carve A Curly Mustache

As a follow up to one of my earlier blogs on how to carve curls in hair, here is a short picture tutorial by Tony Harris on how he carves a curly mustache.

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APOLOGY: I want to apologize for the blurry writing on the back cover of ‘Carving The Old Sea Captain’ in my last blog. It looked fine in my draft but for some reason it came out blurry once I published it.                                                           

EMAILS

Our first email comes from Jakobo Santiago with some comments and a question regarding baking wood.  Jakobo writes:

 “Hello everyone.
I hope you are having some long and profitable wood carving sessions

I’ve been reading and watching some videos on how to bake wood in the home oven to dry and harden it.
They also comment that its physical properties stabilize, its fibers compact and it tends less to deform. moreover, wood insects no longer attack it.
I understand it is not suitable for carving characters, but for spoons and the like, it can be interesting. What do you think about Bob?”

The basswood I use here is already kiln dried and stable so I don’t run into any of the problems you describe.  I understand that many spoon carvers carve their spoons from live (wet) wood so I can see where the baking process might come into play there.  I know the process works.  Perhaps some of our spoon carvers or other readers can provide some more input on this topic.

Jakobo wrote back to say:

“And so, you’re right. I’ve been watching again the videos and they talks about wet wood (my english is not as good as it should be, so I lost parts of the speeching) 

As a curiosity, here where I live (Canary Islands) the traditional method of curing wood was to immerse it in the sea for a few months and then dry it under the sun on the beach also for a long time.

Best wishes for you and your family”

That’s a very interesting way of curing wood, Jakob.  It must take a lot of time.  We would like to know more about this process.  Also, what kind of wood do you use for carving in the Canary Islands?

Our next email comes from Roar Martinsen of Norway who shares some photos of a carpenter he carved:

“Hi Bob

I would like to share this carpenter with you.

Roar Martinsen

Norway”

That’s a terrific carving, Roar!  It has a lot of nice details.  How tall is it?

Thank you so much for the photos!  We need more readers to send in their photos.

Let the chips fly!  Tell your wood carving friends and spread the word about Wood Chip Chatter, and don’t forget 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 (let me know if you have any trouble attaching your photos).

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Whittling The Old Sea Captain

“Whittling The Old

Sea Captain and Crew”

by Mike Shipley

A Book Review

“Whittling The Old Sea Captain and Crew” is a delightful wood carving book written by Mike Shipley.  Mike, who is a noted wood carver is also, and perhaps more well known as a knife maker.  His top notch OCCT line of knives and gouges are sold by most any woodcarving supplier.  In addition, Mike Shipley has made dozens of rough outs, many of which are available through Van Kellys Carving.  Published by Fox Chapel Publishing Co., Inc. in 1996 this 30 page paperback book covers 3 main projects; The Old Sea Captain, The First Mate and The Second Mate.  All the necessary nautical accessories such as buoys, lobster traps, crates and boat oars are also included. 

In the front of the book there are 6 pages with 12 color photos of the three projects from different views.  Chapter One covers the actual carving of the Old Sea Captain.  A convenient list of the necessary tools is given on the first page.  Then there are 16 pages with step by step black and white photos which take the carver through the process from start to finish.  Chapter Two covers painting and Chapter Three covers staining the finished project.  Chapter Four provides brief descriptions for how to make and paint the nautical accessories.  Full patterns for everything covered in the book are located at the end.

Beginner’s and experienced carvers alike will have fun carving everything in this book.  The projects are easy to carve.  The characters all have their hands in their pockets so there are no hands to carve and the eyes are fairly simple.  I highly recommend this book, especially to anyone looking to carve something besides cowboys and Santas.

COMMENTS & QUESTIONS

I received a few comments and questions this week in reply to my last blog on Scroll Saws.  Our first comment comes from Dean Stewart who comments:

“Bob,
Two follow up comments on the scroll saw. Mine is a low end model that neither has light or dust blower tube to remove the saw dust. I remove the dust by blowing on the work. I don’t recommend this. I inherited the machine, but if I was to buy one, dust removal would be a must. I have found a way to use the tilting table to cut square blocks into triangular pieces for carving “off the corner” projects. I clamp a piece of wood the length of the base near the blade. When I tilt the base 45 degrees the clamped piece become the rest for the stock allowing a clean cut through the stock. I hope that description makes sense, but it works really well. I’d like to hear if others have devised other ways to use the saw.”

Dean, that’s a very ingenious way to cut your blocks into diagonal pieces for carving “off the corner” projects.  Ironically enough the current Fall 2021 issue if WCI has a neat little article (tip) on page 15 on how to make a jig for cutting wood blocks on the diagonal right on your scroll saw or band saw.  The project is easy as pie and is definitely worth a look!

Our second comment comes from Wade Harvey who writes:

“Bob,

Thanks for the discussion on scroll saws. It seems the apparent new gold standard for a bandsaw and a scroll saw is the Pegasus brand. I’ve seen both in action and they amazing…and come with an amazing price. I’ve long thought about getting a scroll saw, but I generally use wood blocks for my cut outs that are larger than 2”-2.5”. I may have to pick up a used one and play around with it for a bit.

Thanks for helping me along with the research.

wh”

You’re welcome for the research on the scroll saw.  I learned a lot from doing it as well.  It does seem like the Pegas saw is the best thing to come along in wood carving since the invention of the wheel.  I’ve heard a lot of positive comments about it and saw Dwayne Gosnell demonstrating one at a show 2 years ago but never got the opportunity to go up and look at it.  I know Pegas makes a scroll saw (one shown near the top of this blog) but do they also make a band saw?  The machine I saw being demonstrated looked to be like a band saw but I could be wrong because I didn’t get to see it up close.  I also heard through the grapevine they have a combination scroll saw and band saw machine, although I don’t know how that’s possible, and I’ve never seen such a unit.  Can you or anyone else out there answer these questions for me?

Our last comment comes from Dan Bennett.  Dan comments:

“Bob,
I’ve had best success scroll cutting my blanks up to 2” Basswood with SR12 from Flying Dutchman: .067 x .020
7 tpi/6 Rev.
It’s slow and a bit tedious with 2 inches, faster with less’
Dan Bennett”

Thanks so much for that input, Dan.  That’s good information.  It’s sounding like 2″-2 1/2″ is about the maximum size for the average scroll saw.  Two inches, in my opinion is fairly thick wood and I even notice a difference when I’m cutting 2″ blocks on my band saw compared to cutting 1″ blocks.

Let the chips fly!  Tell your wood carving friends and spread the word about Wood Chip Chatter, and don’t forget 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 (let me know if you have any trouble attaching your photos).

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

A man goes to his doctor with a strawberry growing out of his head.  So he gave him some cream to put on it.

The Scroll Saw

WEN 16″ Variable Speed Scroll Saw

Today I thought we would learn a little something about Scroll Saws…not owning one it’s a topic I personally knew very little about until I did some research on them.  We have discussed scroll saws a bit here in past blogs and I’m sure there are many carvers out there who use them.  I’m hoping this information about scroll saws will open up some discussion, questions and comments about the various aspects of scroll saws and their use.  For example, I would like to know more about the dust collection systems used with these saws.  Perhaps someone can expand on that.

The Scroll Saw

Scroll Saw is a small electric operated saw used to cut intricate curves in wood, metal, or other materials.  The fineness of its blade allows it to cut more delicately than a power jigsaw, and more easily than a hand coping saw or fretsaw.  Like those tools, a scroll saw is capable of creating curves with edges, by pivoting its table.

The scroll saw’s name derives from its traditional use in making scrollwork, sculptural ornaments which prominently featured scroll-head designs.

Advantages of using a Scroll Saw

While somewhat similar to a band saw, a scroll saw uses a reciprocating blade rather than a continuous loop type blade.  Like a hand coping saw, the scroll saw’s blade can be removed and placed through a pre-drilled starting hole, allowing interior cutouts to be made without an entry slot.  A band saw can’t do that.  Also, the fineness in both width and tooth count of a scroll saw’s blade permits significantly more intricate curves than even the narrowest gauge band saw blade.

The majority of scroll saws offer a small light on a flexible arm to illuminate the work area and a dust blower nozzle to keep the work space clear while working.  The table tilting capability enables angled cuts to be made precisely and easily.  The variable speed support allows even finer control over cuts when working with delicate materials or when making intricate cuts.

Types of Scroll Saws

Pegas 21″ Scroll Saw

Rockwell 16″ Variable Speed Scroll Saw

Scroll Saws are classified according to the size of their throat, which is the distance from the blade to the rear frame of the saw.  The throat depth determines how large a piece of material can be cut.  Smaller saws have a throat of as little as 12 inches (300 mm), while commercial saws can approach 30 inches (760 mm) deep.  

Not surprisingly, scroll saws vary in price. The more costly saws are more accurate and easier to use, usually because they minimize vibration, though this is dependent in part upon design and frequency, with many models offering no vibrations in some frequencies, and increased vibration in others.

Scroll Saw Uses

Scroll sawing is a popular hobby for many woodworkers and hobbyists.  The saw allows a substantial amount of creativity and requires comparatively little space.  Additionally, many scroll saw projects require little more than the saw itself, thus reducing the investment in tools.  A drill is required for interior cutouts.  A drill press is handy for  finely detailed work.

Scroll saws are often used to cut intricate curves and joints, a task they can complete quickly and with great accuracy. They can also be used to cut dovetail joints and are a common tool for intarsia projects. When a fine blade is used, the kerf or incision of a scroll saw is almost invisible.

Scroll saws are comparatively safe.  In particular, inadvertent contact between the blade and the operator’s fingers or limbs is unlikely to result in serious injury, due to a smaller blade and relatively slower speed compared to tools such as a band saw or table saw.

Types of Scroll Saw Blades

With the exception of blades made for very light duty saws, typical scroll saw blades are 5 inches (130 mm) long. The major types of blades are:

  • Skip tooth (or single skip tooth) which have a tooth, a gap, and then another tooth;
  • Double skip tooth (two teeth, a gap, then two teeth);
  • Crown or two-way, which have teeth facing both up and down so that the blade cuts on both the down-stroke (as with all other blades) and the up-stroke;
  • Spiral blades, which are basically regular flat blades with a twist, so that teeth project on all sides;
  • Metal cutting blades made of hardened steel;
  • Diamond blades (wires coated with diamond fragments), for cutting glass.
  • Pin end blades are generally a bit thicker and are made to use on scroll saws that require pin end blades which are generally older, less expensive or made for entry level scroll saw users.  Most newer higher-end scroll saws do not accept pin end blades.

Blades come in many weights, ranging from #10/0 (for making jewelry—about the size of a coarse hair) to #12, which is similar to a small band saw blade.

Another variation is called a reverse tooth blade.  On reverse tooth blades, the bottom 3/4″ (19 mm) of the teeth are reversed (point up). This arrangement helps to reduce splintering on the bottom edges of the cut.  However, it does not clear sawdust out of the cut as well as a regular blade.  Cutting is slower and produces more heat.  This heat reduces blade life and makes scorching of the project more likely.  Reverse tooth blades are especially useful when cutting softwood and plywood such as Baltic birch where splintering (“fuzzies”) of the wood is common.

The latest variation in scroll saw blades is called “ultra-reverse”.  These blades are configured with 4–5 teeth down and then one up, repeated through the length of the blade.  The blade clears dust very well and leaves a much cleaner back side (very few “fuzzies”).  These blades’ sizes range from #1 through #9.

Reference: Wikipedia

My research didn’t mention this but with the typical scroll saw blade being 5 inches (130 mm) long my guess is that 2″ – 2 1/2″ is the maximum thickness piece of wood you could cut.  Perhaps some of you scroll saw users out there can comment on this.

I hope you all found this article as enlightening as I did.  I sure learned a few thing I never knew!

Our next blog will have another book review on a terrific book by Mike Shipley.

EMAILS

           

We received several emails this week in response to our last blog containing the Woodcarving Suppliers list:

Our first email comes from Wade Harvey who writes:

“Bob,

Thanks for putting this list together I’ve used many of these folks and all were easy to deal with and provided a quality product.

I’m gonna save this list and do my darnedest to remember WHERE I saved it when I need it.

Thanks, wh”

I have also used many of the suppliers on that list, Wade, and agree they have all been easy to deal with and provide quality products and they all stand behind their products as well.  In fact, some of the suppliers on the list are members of the CCA who sell rough outs.

Our second email comes from Phyllis Stone who wrote in a nice comment and a question regarding scroll saw blades:

“Hi Bob,

First of all thanks so much for the list of woodcarving suppliers, there are quite a few on the list that I have never heard of so I just might have to check them out.

Second, thank you also for the sketches of how to do a curly beard. That’s very informative.

The new Fall 2021 issue of Woodcarving Illustrated is out now and on page 16 is your great article about your first carve. I love the camel, he’s adorable.

My final thought is about Dean’s message about scroll saws. I have used mine to cut out 2″ thick wood but it takes so very long to cut out a pattern. I’m not sure what blade I’m using, I think it’s a reverse tooth, but I was wondering if there is a blade that helps the process along and make it faster? I’d appreciate any help with this matter that might save me some frustration.

Thanks, Phyllis”

Thank you for your compliment on my write up in WCI.  That camel was the first carving I ever did over 50 years ago.  Regarding your scroll saw blade, a 2″ block of wood is pretty thick and I believe that’s pushing the limit as far as how thick a scroll saw can cut so it would only be natural that it would cut slower.  Even my band saw cuts slower though a 2″ block than it does through a 1″ block. 

A different blade might make a difference, though, and perhaps a reverse tooth blade is not the right blade for the job.  Hopefully, some of our readers who are scroll saw owners can help you with the an answer to that question.  How about it?  Can anyone help Phyllis out?

My very first carving done in 1965

Our next email comes from Timothy Sisko in response to our Woodcarving Suppliers list:

“Bob, I feel remiss, after reading your latest blog it occurred to me that I hadn’t sent you the information on one of my favorite suppliers.  Cascade Carvers Supply is located in the tri-cities area of Washington State Their web site can be found at cascadecarvers@msn.com .  Check them out, Ron Lunde is the owner and he has always been very helpful.”

Thanks for the addition to our list, Tim!  I’ll be sure and add Cascade Carvers to it, and let’s all check them out.

The next email is from my good friend Andy Loughlin who writes:

“Bob, thanks for posting your woodcarving supply list. Some I was aware of, but you definitely had some hidden gems in there. I love the blog so far. We all appreciate the time and effort that you put into it! Keep up the great work. You have tons of knowledge and experience that I look forward to soaking up !”

Thank you for the kind words, Andy!  I’m glad you found the Woodcarving Suppliers list helpful.

Our next email comes from Paul Endicott of the UK who has some nice things to say and also provides some insight to carving in the UK:

“Hi Bob

Firstly, thanks for the blog, it’s really informative, and although some of the information may not be relevant for me at the moment, it’s great to know it’s there and as a reference for the future.

I’m a novice woodcarver based in the Southwest of the UK (Devon). Whilst there is some interest in wood carving, it is mainly relief style, and not a great deal of interest in caricature carving. This is where YouTube, Instagram and your blog come in so useful.

Bass wood is difficult to find, I can get lime (with effort) which I think is pretty much the same. Tools too are a bit of a challenge, we have many fantastic chisel and gouge manufacturers, not so much for knives though. You may be interested to know that I recently purchased two OCCT knives from Chipping Away in Canada, the cost, including postage, was almost the same as buying two flex cut knives over here. Obviously buying like this means you can’t handle the knives before purchasing them, but I thought it was worth taking the chance as they have such good recommendations, not least from yourself and Doug Linker. I love them! Cindy from Chipping Away was really helpful and made it very easy.

I’ll leave it there Bob, just to say thanks once again for the blog, and to let you know that we are thinking of you and wishing both you and your wife well.

PS on occasion, the likes of you, Kevin Coates and Doug Linker have “liked” some of my carvings on Instagram. This really gives encouragement, and I’d just like to say thanks.

Paul Endicott”

Thank you, Paul, for your gracious thoughts and words for me and my wife, and for the kind comments about my blog and the encouragement I give to others.  I thoroughly enjoy doing both.

The OCCT knives you purchased from Chipping Away were an excellent choice.  One you won’t regret.  Next to Helvies, OCCT knives are my next favorite go to knives.  I agree buying over the internet is always risky, especially when it comes to something as personal as a carving knife.  It’s difficult to say whether you will like the knife unless you’ve actually held it in your hand which is one of the reasons why you should always purchase your carving supplies (especially knives) from a reputable supplier.  Next to a recommendation from a friend or noted wood carver, working with someone like Cindy at Chipping Away is your next best bet.

Let the chips fly!  Tell your wood carving friends and spread the word about Wood Chip Chatter, and don’t forget 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!  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 (let me know if you have any trouble attaching your photos).

                                

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!