Notes from the Net Issue#2
by F. Pierce Pratt firstname.lastname@example.org
"Notes from the Net" is a column compiled from
a few of the email messages posted to the WoodCarver listserver.
There are many good messages to choose from. So many, that is
hard to choose which messages to include in this column. Some
editorial changes were necessary, but, for the most part, each
message appears as originally posted and attributed to sender.
If you have a favorite post or subject that you would like to
appear in this column, please email
SELECTING YOUR FIRST CARVING KNIFE AND MAKING CUTS BY HAND
Joshua Namken (email@example.com):
I am just getting started in woodcarving and need to buy a
set of knives. Does anyone have suggestions? Remember, I'm just
getting started so I don't want anything fancy or expensive.
From: "Danny E. Cook" (firstname.lastname@example.org):
May I recommend that you do not buy your first knives by mail
order. You need to hold a knife first to see if it is comfortable
in your hand. Most mail orders are reputable (I use them all
the time) but since you are just starting out and have not had
the opportunity to handle carving tools, you need to try the
knife before you buy it.
The first cut I learned to make with a carving knife was a
cut toward me. It is designed for both safety and control. The
handle of the knife is grasped in the four fingers and pulled
by the fingers toward the thumb that is steadied on the carving.
The position of the knife in the hand is such that the cut of
the knife is stopped by the thumb. That is to say, the handle
of the knife is pulled toward the thumb with the fingers. This
provides many short, controlled cuts to remove the wood.
PROTECTING YOUR CARVING TOOLS
Marty Springer (Springerm@UWSTOUT.EDU):
Tool protection tip: Use 5/8th inch diameter transparent flexible
hose for fitting over the business end of carving knives and
chisels. Since the material is transparent, you can see the tip
of the blade for tool selection. I find it protects tools when
I want to put a few in a case for "field trips." I
purchase the hose at a locale hardware store. It is used here
on milking machines and comes in different sizes. You can buy
it by the foot.
DISCUSSION ABOUT CARVING GLOVES
William Hopton (email@example.com):
Thank you for sharing your experiences with (and without)
gloves. I was about to ask the group if anybody had any experience
with the "new" cut resistant gloves. We have just stated
to get some "Spectra" gloves at the steelworks, they
are worn as inner gloves when handling very thin steel and have
proven to be very successful. I managed to liberate a pair for
a short time to try carving in them and found they were very
good, once you got over the slightly different feel. I ended
up showing them to my local club and most of the carvers in the
group bought a pair. Being new over here they aren't cheap ($A
29 a pair) but I think they are worth it.
Marcia Berkall (firstname.lastname@example.org):
I just had to add my two cents worth on this!! I teach as
well and require that students use gloves. Some have chosen to
buy theirs from WalMart's fishing department as they are far
less expensive than the ones you find in carving catalogs. I
also preach constantly about not using gouges on hand held carvings.
The only exception to this rule is if the gouge is held like
a pencil with the hand resting on the carving. Even then it makes
me awfully nervous!!!
Rick Jensen (email@example.com):
For most of the hand held pieces I carve, I prefer not to
use a glove. On occasion, when I use a 1" chisel, I will
put on a safety glove. Someone made the comment that their glove
is slippery. To remedy this problem, I use hot melt glue on the
glove. When the glue is hot, I put the glove on and put small
dots down the fingers and thumb. Also, I do the palm of the glove.
If you have an open mesh glove such as a fish fillet glove, you
might want to take the glove off your hand before adding the
USING SUPERGLUE AND HOW TO MAKE QUICK REPAIRS
Arthur Morley (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Am I alone in finding cyanoacrylate glues (Superglue) temperamental?
Sometimes "Those little accidents" mend superbly, other
times the darn stuff won't stick, except of course to yours truly.
What's best to repair the little bits that fall off a carving?
Ainslie L. Pyne (email@example.com):
I thought I was the only one with problems with cyanoacrylate
glue. I think part of the problem could be associated with the
type of wood it is used on. If you use too much glue it takes
forever to mend. Try using a little less glue and hold the piece
in place with something like a strip of tape.
Camille Courtright (firstname.lastname@example.org):
I put my vote in for Elmer's! I usually use it to fix a finger,
ear, or nose. If you don't use too much and hold it tight for
about 10 minutes it will stay in place. Then I usually just lay
it down and 24 hours later it is ready to go. The joint is usually
stronger than the surrounding wood.
I learned a cool trick this summer in a Bob Guge seminar.
When preparing to glue a joint, broken or planned, apply wood
glue like Elmer's to the surfaces, then add a drop of super glue
and hold it together. The superglue fastens it quickly while
the wood glue dries and holds it permanently.
Mike Wells (email@example.com):
I have another good idea for filling gaps in the wood. You
take a scrap of the type of wood you are carving and sand it
down with a piece of fine grit sandpaper. Then gather up the
fine dust and mix up a concoction of dust and Elmer's wood glue.
This makes a good gap filler and it takes on the color and basic
texture of the wood that can be almost impossible to locate later.
FINISHES FOR WOODEN UTENSILS
Harry L Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org):
I have a friend who is a federal meat inspector and another
who is a cabinet maker. Both tell me that to finish a cutting
board or other wooden utensil to just use plain mineral oil.
First cleanse the item with a salt solution or a disinfectant
soap. Then let it dry and then apply the mineral oil. I keep
a bottle on hand to go over the cutting boards I use. I usually
recoat them every few months. The mineral oil should be applied
and left to dry over night. I find this works well. No odor or
taste. Just remember to disinfect.
PRICING YOUR CARVINGS
Jo Craemer (Jo_Craemer@prodigy.net):
Duane MacEwen wrote:
TRANSFERRING CHIP CARVING DESIGNS
Dale R Lombardo (email@example.com):
I'd like to survey you chip carvers on the listserver about
LAYOUT. I've been laying out my designs directly on the wood.
I don't like leaving the compass needle marks around my rosettes.
I have not tried transfer paper and tracing over a paper layout.
Will that technique work well for geometric designs?
D. Rowe (firstname.lastname@example.org):
If you prepare the design on blank paper then make a photocopy
of the design, you can then transfer the photocopy onto the wood
with an iron. This works because the photocopy ink has a low
melting point and so will melt from the paper to the wood. Remember
you get a mirror image so this may cause a problem in some cases.
This transfer method also works with laser printer images.
BONNIE GRASER (GRASER@wartburg.edu):
Have you tried the xerox method? Xerox onto a paper and iron
onto your board and carve. Or, spray glue and attach to your
board and carve. I've used both, but sometimes have problems
getting rid of the spray glue on an unpainted board. Another
thing I've done is tape a small piece of posterboard to the center
of my rosette's so my needle doesn't go through in the middle!
Todd Moor (email@example.com):
Use graphite paper to transfer rather than carbon paper. It's
cleaner and more accurate, and best of all comes off very easily
with isopropyl rubbing alcohol! Just dip a q-tip into the stuff
and rub it on your drawing marks. They just lift right off. The
wood gets a little wet but that dries off very quickly. It's
never given me any problems when I've gone to finishing.
Jo Craemer (Jo_Craemer@prodigy.net):
Collection of sawdust is both a health issue and one of keeping
the house clean. The fast rotary handpieces create dust that
consists of much smaller particles than most shop tools. Very
fine dust, when inhaled, goes right down into the deepest part
of the lungs, unlike coarse sawdust which is collected by sticky
mucus in the upper airway.
Thank you, Pierce Pratt