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Carvers' Companion
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Notes From The 'Net

By Doug Evans, With Loren Woodard and Matt Kelley

Howdy all !

Awhile back a very astute carver from Michigan asked:

When carving outside of your shop, in the family room, the doctor’s office, the trendy expensive restaurant, church -  how do you clean up your chips?

It seemed this carver continually caught h-e-double hockey sticks from his beloved for leaving wood chips all over and was seeking advice to avoid additional bumps and bruises from “the un-understanding one“.
Here is the help he received:

Faye Burden suggested using an extra-large apron, drape it untied over the arms of your favorite chair and that should do it. If an extra messy project is being tackled spread a folded sheet on the floor & shake, shake when you are done!

Karen Henderson, then said she also uses a special made apron with long wings over a recliner with a lap board covered in carpet (where can folks find these aprons?) Karen, tells me “she is the wife” so she cleans up ALL the mess!

Pat Sherman tells us she “cheats” and carves on a hardwood floor and just grabs a broom! (Often not so simple!)

Debi, says her dust collector in the shop takes care of business but when out fishing she cleans up and tosses chips into the bushes. Good ‘ol clean and non-toxic wood!

Buddy Bill Jaquays swears by using a terry cloth towel and to hide all chips in the bushes outside your motel room. One more thing to hide outside your motel room-thanks Bill!

Ms Sally Nye is a fan of a pillow case (hopefully not from a motel) to catch her chips, hold her tools and carving piece. She also misses carving at airports and on planes! ( me too Sally – I carved a good chunk of the time on the way to Hawaii!)

Uncle Joe Dillett agrees cleanup is a pain. His biggest challenges are the chips that find their way into the threads of the carpet. For most home carpet Joe admits the “on your knees” method pulling the “buggers” free is the only way. If the carpet is a tight weave or the indoor/outdoor type, Joe says a stiff broom will loosen up the chips so a shop vac can do 95% of the clean up.

Hans Schwalm uses an old laptop case. The small work area with a rim all the way around seems to do the trick and doubles as a place the carving, tools & sharpening supplies can be transported and stored.

Sir Richard is a fan of the big apron too but suggests “chip’ colored furniture & carpeting may be the long term solution. He also tells us he would like to say he carved while on a unicycle — but can’t!

Maura Macaluso tells me she had a problem once at the Parks Department site where she taught her class but taught the complainers an interesting lesson and then bought a matinee broom, which on the hardwood floors worked well. At home her secret is to close the door of her studio at the end of the day and just leave the chips until tomorrow!

Craig Watson knew of the wrath of which I spoke of and caught “heck” one night, cleaned up and then to make a statement. He took out his Arbortech and left ankle deep chips instead. I checked, and Craig said he never knew what hit him!

Andre J says he uses a picnic blanket. This is a blanket with material on one side and thick vinyl on the other. It catches chips and protects the floor from dropped tools.

Our almost last contributor was Bill Hastings, who called chips “clean dirt” just like his Mom used to. He hopes Mom’s and Dad’s still call it clean dirt and an old towel or shop apron should take care of clean up.

John Simpson offered a few thoughts involving carving from the back of his Harley with ex-Hell Angels references that we better save for another time.

So there ya go  -- a bunch of good ideas to avoid catching “H-E-double hockey sticks!”

Until next time---keep your stick on the ice and your tools sharp !!

Doug Evans (aka the Woodologist)

StaffPlease 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 - Woodcarving Fun -- Knotholes List - Fishcarving List2 -- House of Woodcarving

Editor's Note: Disclaimers and Cautions

  • Endorsements of products mentioned by contributors to this article should not be construed as endorsements by either the editor of this article or Woodcarver Online Magazine, unless specifically so noted.
  • Advice and opinions expressed in this article are those of the original poster named therein; when in doubt seek additional professional advice.
  • Woodcarving and shop work are potentially hazardous activities and should be undertaken only with safety a constant and primary consideration. Electrical, mechanical and other modifications in your work area should always comply with local and state codes and requirements.

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