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Notes From the Net

By Loren K. Woodard
Email Loren at woodcarver@socket.net or visit his web site at www.natures naturals.net

Welcome once again to Notes From The Net, a compilation of tips and techniques that were shared on the several wood carving Listserves on the Internet. As is the case every month, the topics are varied and many.


Paint Pens

Have you ever been working in a tight spot or wanted to paint a small spot and just weren't good enough with a brush to do what you wanted to get done.? How about paint pens? I have been using them for some time now and find that they are great. In caricature carving, I like to use a # 5 pen to outline the outer paint area of my iris black. I feel it helps my eyes 100%. Some of the folks on the Fishcarver's List like the pens too.

Sharon M. Hallowell, a member of the Fishcarver's List uses a set of drafting pens made by Faber Castell called the TG 1 System. These pens are made to fill with drafting ink. However, she fills her with super thin Jo Sonja paint. She says they are perfect for vermiculation. I would think that if they were perfect for vermiculation they would be great wherever a small amount of color is needed. The pens came in a set and have stainless steel tips of the following sizes: 0.18, 0.25, 0.35, 0.40, 0.50, 0.70, 0.80, 1.00, and 1.20. She says they sell for about $125.00 per set. They're not cheap, but Sharon says they have come in real handy for her. She used them where she can't get a small paintbrush. They are easy to clean using the same glass cleaner used on her airbrush. .

Along these same lines, Ed Walicki noted that he uses color pens and that they work great. He mentioned using the white tipped pens to tip the scales of Brown Trout. Silver and brown pens may have a tendency to dull slightly when lacquer is applied, which is fine if you are looking for a muted color to tip with. They offer great control for making small uniform spots. The pens that Ed uses are filled with oil paints, at least that is what his pens say on them.

Ed cautions that you need to be careful you don't use the color pens that contain ink instead of paint, as ink tends to bleed out when it comes in contact with lacquer and over time, very short time, they fade to a gray color. Ed noted that when he first started out carving he used a Sharpie marker to spot rainbow trout carvings. Since then, every one has faded to a very light gray spot that looks more like a blemish than a spot.

Another tool that Ed recommends is the new silicone rubber tipped paintbrushes. Ed remarked, "Since the spotting pens don't always come in the colors I am using, I bought a few of the rubber tipped paint brushes and use them to spot with. The paint clings to the rubber tip and allows you to stamp about a dozen spots before it needs to be dipped in paint again. I use the rubber brushes since the hair type brushes don't always leave me with a uniform round spot. Bristle type brushes tend to want to lay down ovals."

Any art store should have both the paint pens and the rubber tipped silicone paintbrushes.

Road Kill Reference?

A prominent member of the Woodcarver's List ask about keeping road-kill birds for reference. It was rather obvious, based on the comments made on the Woodcarver's List, that this is not a good idea.

Jack Royer wrote,

I have had a little experience with this as I carve birds. The law is a federal law and it is illegal to have any migratory bird or part of one in your possession, even a feather. I know many that will pick up a dead bird, put it in the freezer, and use it to study and take measurements and so forth. Please be aware that you may be breaking the law. It isn't worth it to take a chance. I had a fellow leave a red tail hawk on my porch in a plastic bag. It was a magnificent bird in very good condition. I laid it on the basement floor and took several photos in a lot of positions, wrapped it in a towel like you would a specimen you would have taxidermy and put it in my freezer. I then drove over to the DNR office walked in and said I have a red tail Hawk in my freezer. They all put their hands over there heads and said "Don't say that, don't say that". I said, "Someone left it on my porch and I cleaned it up and wrapped it hoping you guys would have it taxidermy for the museum. I will go get it for you." A couple of them jumped up and said "No, we will come pick it up from you. Even though your intentions are good, you would be in big trouble if you had an accident or got stopped for some reason".

I have done some checking and the only way that I can see having one that is legal is to have an educational permit, be a falconer, or if you get in with a DNR agent they may loan you one or a study skin for a time as they know what you are doing with it."


Garage Sale Tool Cleanup

Have you ever ran across a set of carving tools at a garage sale that were rusty and thought, "I would buy them if I knew how to get rid of all of the rust." Well, Richard Carter and Victor Hamburger might just have the answer for you.

Richard came across a method of rust removal in one of his old carving books, tried it and found out that it worked for him. You suspend the tool in a metal bucket filled with water (he made a cradle out of string). You then attach the negative clip from an automotive battery charger to the rusty tool and the positive clip to the metal bucket and turn the charger on.

Richard said that after a few trial & errors, he now leaves it hooked-up overnight. The rust turns into a 'slimy' coating that comes off with soap and water. While this method does work, it doesn't remove the pitting. The battery charger that Richard uses is an automatic charger with a cut-off, in case of overload and/or shorting out, so he is not worried about any electrical problems. Richard noted that occasionally there are bubbles (gas?) coming off the water so he now does this procedure outside or in his shed.

Victor Hamburger remarked:

This is a method of rust removal that will do a good job on your tools but will eat your bucket!! I have the details buried somewhere in the piles around here, but as I recall, you should use a large plastic bucket and a piece of old steel suspended in the water with the one battery clip to it. The tool and metal should NOT touch each other......that way, you eventually destroy the old piece of metal while getting rid of the rust on your tool.

Richard responded to Vic's message with the following information:

Yes Vic, I can see that bucket disappearing, down the road, but I thought I'd try it the way the article said. From my High School Physics experiments, the way you mentioned is the better and preferred method. PS... The battery charger provides Direct Current (DC), don't anyone try it with household AC voltage.


Dremel Tool Flexshaft Overheating?

Have you had problems with the flex shaft of your Dremel - or other power carving tool - getting hot. Victor Hamburger tells us that Dremel makes a lube that you need to use occasionally to lube the flex shaft of your tool. Failure to lube it will result in premature breakage of the shaft itself at some point. The other trick is, don't twist or bend the shaft too much while using it. Try to find a way to hang/hold the motor part so you have the shaft coming in a fairly straight line to the collet, otherwise, heat will build up, weaken the
lubricant, and break the shaft.

Outdoor Carving Finish

Finally, Jan Oegema tells us about finishing an outdoor carving. Jan wrote, "(the) sign has been outside for about 8 years and looks great yet." Jan painted the it with acrylic paint and then coated it with SITOL I, 2, and 3. Sitol is made by Sikkens, Manufactured by AKZO Coatings Inc., Pontiac Michigan.

Well that just about wraps up this issue of "Notes From the Net". May you always strive to reach the next level with your carving efforts.

Loren Woodard

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 - Fishcarver's List