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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

 

OK, this first item is more opinion than a carving tip, but it deals with a re-occuring "issue" that woodcarvers sometimes debate... power carving versus hand carving.  In most cases I've witnessed (and participated in), it was just good natured banter amongst fellow carvers, but not always I guess.  Anyhow, I liked the way The List addressed this one, and think it should be shared.


Hand Tools vs "Argh, Argh, Argh... More Power!!"


Paul asks....

I have a question. I have less than two years experience carving. Its a passion for me. In the two years I have seen many carvers say that power carving is not real carving. I think that there are many ways to end at the same goal. I love power and hand carving. What is your opinion on this?

Ivan Leads off...

Carving with power. As I tell my students, when Moses came down the mountain with the tablets, there was nothing written on them about carving; they were concerned with much more important matters. In carving you can do what you want. However, there are certain traditions that have developed, a system that some people prefer to follow. Liken it to guitar playing. There is no moral reason that a classical guitarist cannot use a Fender Telecaster (he would certainly be heard over the coughs in the audience), it's just that he chooses not to--preferring to follow the developed tradition of the music. In a classical concert, too, the audience EXPECTS to hear acoustic music. That same player might, one could imagine, grab an electric guitar and jam with some blues players later that night at a club. (Imagine Segovia jamming with Eddie Van Halen!).

There are satisfactions, as well as certain effects possible, with carving by hand--using traditional tools and techniques--just as there are satisfactions and certain effects possible with an acoustic guitar over an electric one.

And, of course there are also satisfactions and effects possible with power as well.

I teach and practice traditional carving because it's a beautiful, calming process and I'd like it not to get lost.

In art you choose your pleasure.

Ivan Whillock Studio
122 NE 1st Avenue
Faribault, MN 55021
Visit my website at
http://www.whillock.com

Then typical Tom Pierce... brief, to the point, and makes you think "Yeah! What he said!"

They are both carving and don't let anyone talk you out of either method. The main thing is to enjoy what you are carving.

Tom "Old Age Is Not For Sissies" Pierce
Bellevue, Nebraska
mailto:tompierce at cox.net
My Web Page http://www.carvertools.com/tpierce


Mush does both... and very, very well...

Hi, Paul,

Welcome to the List!! I definitely prefer hand tools to power tools, but have been known to use the Foredom, Arbortech or reciprocating carver from time to time. The most important thing is that you are enjoying what you are doing. Beyond that it's whatever you need to get the job done!

Marcia (aka Mush)
South China, Maine

See Marcia's wood carvings
at:

http://www.pivot.net/~whitwood


Mike, "The Kid",  is relatively new to woodcarving, but obviously fits right in here...

I prefer hand carving since I find the feel & sound of a sharp tool going through the wood. But whether you prefer power, hand or chainsaw, its still carving. Next time someone tells you its not real carving, ask them why its called power 'carving' if its not carving.

Mike 'TheKid'



And Chris takes power to a whole new level...

Paul,

Quality can be attained by many different means, to me its the end result that matters most. For many it is the process which is good also, so its really up to the individual. Control of your medium is most important. For me personally I would drag mine behind my 78 Caddi if I could get the look I wanted,

Chris Howard
chrishowardstudio.com


(The thread went off on a tangent at this point, with one rude comment about assuming that dragging it behind the Caddy
WAS Chris' preferred method. -Mike B.->)



Loren adds...

Paul:
In my opinion, it is the end and not the means to get there that counts. Unless you are a purest, use whatever tool works well for you. I have used chain saws, angle grinders, different power carvers and air grinders to get the job done. Am I a purest? Heck no but I have fun and that is what counts to me.

Loren Woodard
Sunrise Beach, MO



Byron weighs in from the left coast... ummm North left coast?...

Carving is simply subtractive sculpture, removing material to create a piece of art. The method in which the wood is removed matters not, it's still carving. The method used to remove wood can make a difference in texture of the final product, but since we are dealing with art the texture is up to the artist.

Bottom line... Don't let the nay sayers disturb you. Most of us that have carved for any length of time have used them all, except for maybe a chain saw (no chain saws for me yet) and sometimes all the same carving.

Byron Kinnaman
abkinnaman at earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~abkinnaman



Mike Gratton says...

I prefer hand tools, with the exception of my scroll and band saws. But the next time they say using power tools isn't "real" carving, offer them the use of your tool and let them see how "easy" it is!

mikeg



And Gene wraps it up with a short history of carving techniques...

Well I think the Native Americans used rocks to carve wood, then carvers started using power tools (sharp metal and a mallet).   Some even used a 78 Caddi......

Gene

...obviously the '78 Caddi method is replacing the chainsaw and won't be improved on any time soon <G>.







Polychrome

Ivan wowed us with his latest carving...

Carvers,

My latest St. Joseph statue is now complete and in place. I've put some pictures of it in my Picture Trail album. Bill has also put a photo of it on the List photo site.

The Picture Trail link is:
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?username=ivancarve

I included a few in-progress shots to show the technique of "carving in from the front" that is commonly used on statuary.

Ivan Whillock Studio
122 NE 1st Avenue
Faribault, MN 55021
Visit my website at
http://www.whillock.com



...And it raised a question with Merillee (and Maura) about the term 'polychrome" .

Good evening Ivan
I looked at your St. Joesph statue and I would like to know what "polychromed" is and how do you do it? I do like the painting and colors of him.
Merrilee


Ivan answers Merrilee...

Hi Merrilee,

"Polychromed" is just a term generally used in sculpture-and in other arts-meaning "multi-colored" Monochroming is applying one color, (as in staining the wood with burnt umber, for example), and polychroming is applying many colors. That's generally a bit more descriptive than saying, as is common in wood carving shows, that it's "painted." A painted statue need not be polychromed: it could be painted with only one color. Also, the term is a bit more flexible for art description purposes: polychroming (or monochroming, for that matter) can be done any number of ways, not just with paint.

For the St. Joseph I used artist's oil paints thinned to the consistency of a wood stain. I brushed it on, then immediately wiped it off to let the wood grain show through.. In addition to white, I used umbers and raw sienna, colors that tend to be fairly transparent and reflect the tones already in the wood. Since white makes other colors opaque, I do not add it to any of the other colors, and, because it is opaque, white must be applied in thin coats to keep it from obscuring the grain. I used no color at all on the flesh areas.

I like the technique because there are areas where there is no paint at all, and, where there is, the wood "shows through."

Ivan Whillock Studio


Then Paul Herbeck answers Maura.

Hi, Maura,

It's just a term generally used in sculpture-and in other arts-meaning "multi-colored" Monochroming is applying one color, (as in staining the wood with burnt umber, for example), and polychroming is applying many colors. That's generally a bit more descriptive than saying, as is common in wood carving shows, that it's "painted." A painted statue need not be polychromed: it could be painted with only one color. Also, the term is a bit more flexible for art description purposes: polychroming (or monochroming, for that matter) can be done any number of ways, not just with paint.


... and Ivan adds....

Hi Paul,

I used artist's oil paints thinned to the consistency of a wood stain. I brushed it on, then immediately wiped it off to let the wood grain show through.. In addition to white, I used umbers and raw sienna, colors that tend to be fairly transparent and reflect the tones already in the wood. Since white is an opacifier, I do not add it to any of the other colors, and, because it is opaque, white must be applied in thin coats to keep it from obscuring the grain. I used no color at all on the flesh areas.


...and if THAT doesn't cover the subject, we're in trouble.




OK, Gang, until next issue, keep them edges keen, the chips piled high... and that goes for whatever method you use... just have fun and carve safe. 

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