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Notes From the 'Net

By Mike Bloomquist, with Doug Evans and Loren Woodard
Email Mike at m.bloomquistATverizonDOTnet or visit his web, Wooden Dreams Woodcarving


And I thought it was slow on the Woodcarver's Lists during the months of the last issue.  This month  was real lean, but there were some good generic topics out there.  Read on!

Casting Your Carvings in Resin...

Tom Buggey caught a reference to Sculpture House on another thread and wondered about casting products and techniques.

The link to the SculptureHouse site was very useful. I ve long wanted to do a casting of some of my coin carvings = big counterfeits. I purchased some of the casting material and I was wondering if anyone has made molds before?  I know I will have to seal the carving very well. Here is my second question: Is there a sealant/varnish that will not yellow or darken the wood?

Thanks for any assistance,


Joe Dillet replied to Tom's second question with...

Hi Tom,

Water-based varnish is about the only sealer I know that will have almost no color change. However I don't know how its color will change over time and exposure to UV.

I had one unhappy experience with a large mold I was making when something went wrong (operator error I think) and I covered the inside of our cooking oven with black soot. It was very hard to clean.

Joe Dillett
The Carving Shop

Maura added...

Water-based poly acrylic seems to do the best sealing with the least yellowing/darkening, just my opinion.
Maura carvin' in nyc

Vic Hamburger came in with another great reference. 


There are casting discussion groups on Yahoo groups. I am not a member of them, but I am told they are very helpful to newbies trying to cast stuff.

I assume our coin carvings do not have any undercuts.  Given that, I am sure just following instructions will give you good results.  Are your carvings two sided? If so, you will need to make a 2 part mold, and that will be a challenge at first.  Basically, you make one side of the mold, with alignment pins, then once set, coat the new mold and carving with release spray and pour the second
side of the mold.  You need to include a sprue to pour the final material into the mold.  Once the mold is done, it should release both the carving and from each other if you were careful.  Then clamp the two parts together and pour your new casting.   It is a bit more complex than that, but it is not rocket science from what people tell me.

Sealing the carving with a clear finish.  Several have already mentioned the water based polys.  Use multiple coats, with a careful light sanding/cleaning between coats.  The final coat should go on smoothly and seal the wood completely for you.

Good luck with it!    Vic H
 Yahoo groups has a lot of very helpful special interest groups.  Check them out!

And then I reached waaaay back in the files (2002) and found this thread...
Does anyone have any know  where I can get some info on making a mold and casting some small carvings. Something that I can paint.

I have some Santa ornaments I would like to try it on.


Vic Hamburger replied with...

Hi Bill,

Look at http://www.micromark.com for a line of 1:1 ratio casting resins and mold making supplies.  also try http://www.polytek.com for supplies and materials. I have not dealt with polytek personally but Micromark sells good stuff and is easy to deal with. Lastly, the folks who brought casting to the home studio is Alumilite, here: http://www.alumilite.com  Also good material that has been around a while.

Hope this helps,

    Vic H

...And John had a good description of one process.

Hi Bill
Have a good look at the Santa you want to mould check it over for under cuts, they will not mould, put the model on the bench face up level out with plastacine and determine the joint line, you can do this by putting a square up against the model and work your way all the way around marking with a felt tip the high spots, you will find when all the marks are joined up that it is not level, this is your true moulding line, you then construct a flange all the way around keeping the top of the flange level  with the centre of the high spot, putt a box around it deep enough for the resin to cover the model, wax the hole thing really well you only have one go at it, remember the resin is harder than the model it will not bend when you come to take the model out. when the resin has set turn the model over take off the box and flange being careful not to dislodge the model, that's the hardest part done, you are now left with half of the model sticking out of the block of resin, put a box around it,determine ware you are going to pore the resin in to the mould when complete, normally the lowest point, make a cone out of plastacine and place it in the position you have chosen (pointed bit to the top) on the highest point do the same again this will let the air pressure out when you pore the resin in the other end, when complete wax thoroughly. If you don't think the model will mould due to under cuts, use a rubber type resin for your mould, this will allow your model and your hard resin casting to pull out. If you want me carry on let me know. Hope this helps.

woodnut john

NOTE:  Some undercutting may not be a problem with flexible, silicon type molds.  Also, there were many references to www.lumicast.com , but
from what I could see at there present web site, they no longer sell supplies only casting services and classes.

Next, Hickory and Pecan, or "You must be nuts to carve that!"... not really.

Hickory and Pecan Wood


Way back (2001) Mike Parker posted a great knowlege-base on wood...http://www.woodweb.com/KnowledgeBase/KBLMBPLY.html , which launched the following.  It's still up.  I checked.

Thanks Mike for sharing that site with me/us.  You are right, it does have a lot of interesting info.  For example, I didn't know that
Hickory and Pecan are the same wood.  I do now.  Thanks again.

Bob Morley

Which prompted responses from our local knowlege-base...

Hi Bob,
Like you said "  I didn't know that Hickory and Pecan are the same wood". Well here in Kansas there is a big difference in Hickory and Pecan. They may be related in the Nut tree family. But they are not the same wood. Pecan is good to do woodworking with, and Hickory is use in handles for tools, and switches. Pecan wood is a Lt to dark brownish wood and finish well. Hickory is a Lt cream color wood, you can finish it but hard to work with furniture, or carving, and pecan no fun carving but looks good if you have the time to work it. I seen it more used in making furniture. Here is Kansas we have two types of Hickory smooth Bark and ruff bark.  The Pecan that I have here on the ranch is a smooth type bark. About the only thing I can think of that they have in common is the produce a nut crop each year. Just my thoughts, I may be all wet. Ivan KansasRancher.

Happy Trails
From the KansasRanchers
Ivan & Pamela

...And a little clarification.

That's a misquote.  Hickory and pecan are not the same wood.
They have a similar hardness and workability, but they are not the same species.  If you're still not sure, try a slice of hickory nut pie instead of pecan...

Here's the actual quote:

Pecan lumber is almost always sold as hickory -- this is legal and is traditional practice. There are four pecans and four true hickories that are sold as hickory lumber.

At your service,                  A votre service,
               Robin Edward Trudel

Jeff Ertle step in with....

Just for the record.  Hickory and Pecan are both in the Walnut family (Juglandaceae).

Butternut and Walnut are in the Juglans genus as are four lesser walnuts in North America with a total of 16-20 species worldwide, mostly tropical. The wood is excellent for cabintry and , of course, for carving.  Not as hard as most of the Hickories.

Pecan and Hickory are in the genus Carya.  There are 15 species of Carya in the world, 11 of those in North America and the other 4 in Asia.

The pecan, in the early days of the U.S. was called the Mississippi nut or the Illinois nut because they were brought back east from those territories (its native range is primarily the Mississippi River Valley) by trappers. Thomas Jeferson gave some young 'Illinois nut' trees to George Washington in about 1786 and they are the largest trees at Mount Vernon today.

A large mature Pecan can produce over 1000 pounds of nuts and the early harvesting method was to cut down the tree and then send in a pack of boys to gather the nuts.

They weren't really cultivated until around 1900.

Hickories are one of the major culprits of spring allergies as they produce extremely abundant quantities of pollen.  The cord of thewood of some of the species  produces almost as much heat as a ton of anthracite coal.  Because of the resilient qualities of the wood has always been in demand for handles of striking tools and was used to make wagon wheels.

Probably more than anyone cared to know so I'll stop here

Bill commented on Ivan's carving either one, and plugged his precious white birch... again <G>.


You gotta' be NUTS to carve Hickory, but even MORE NUTS to carve in Pecan. I have carved reliefs in both, and Pecan is VERY hard on the edges of relief tools. I'll stick with hard maple... much nicer, but not as nice as WHITE BIRCH. Did you all see the article in the latest WCI magazine on "White Birch"???? The truth be told, we Canadians will ship our American friends our natural gas, our electric power, and maybe even some water... but the White Birch STAYS HERE!!!!!! <big grin>

List Owner

Robin returned with...

I've heard tell that there's a fella in Vermont that ONLY carves little figures from Hickory.  Legend has it that his forearms look like Popeye's!

At your service,                  A votre service,
               Robin Edward Trudel

More recently Glenda asked about pecan.

We cut down a pecan tree and was wanting to know if it hardens as hard as an oak .
thank you.

Glenda Allen
Your Welcome to visit some of my art at:

Bill Smith replied...

Hi pecan is a really great wood to carve it does get hard thought and make some of the nices carvings u can


...And Joe Dillet offered this.

Pecan is a wonderful carving wood. Tight grain, beautiful color, takes finishes well and not as hard as oak. It is harder than butternut and about the same hardness as black walnut.

Joe Dillett
The Carving Shop
645 E. LaSalle St. Suite 3
Somonauk, IL. 60552



OK, Gang, until next issue, keep them edges keen, the chips piled high, and I hope you all are remembering to carve this summer.  See ya next issue.

Keep on Carvin'
-Mike Bloomquist->

Please take some time and check out the wood carving lists on the Internet. There is a lot of knowledge free for the asking on all of the list serves.

For information regarding the various email lists for woodcarvers, visit The Carvers' Companion Resource Files, or click the links below.


Woodcarver's List - Woodcarvers' Porch - American Stickmaker's - Knotholes List - Fishcarving List2


Editor's Note: Disclaimers and Cautions