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Notes From the Net

By Loren K. Woodard
Email Loren at woodcarver@midmo.com or visit his web site at http://www.woodcarvers-gallery.com/

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.

It is once again time to put together another series of interesting and informative notes obtained from the internet and then take credit for writing the article. Now this is a cool deal! :o)



Dust Collectors

Our first tip is from Pat Lamusga of PJL Enterprises. Pat has a great web site at http://www.carvertools.com and his email address is pjlent@rea-alp.com. Check out Pat's web site. There is some great information available.

Pat was in the business of manufacturing dust collectors until recently and constructed one of the best in the business. I had the pleasure of visiting at length with Pat about dust collectors when I was putting information together for an article I wrote for Carving Magazine. Pat's informative manner impressed me and I hope that this information will be of help to you.

If making your own desktop dust collector box, consider one like that for which Joe Brott provided a web address at http://www.decoysbyfrank.com/Tips%20&%20Techniques%20Dust%20Box.htm, which Pat recommends over a bag type collector. The following tips will be of help to you.

1. Make sure your fan intake isn't too close to the back of the filter (pleated filter in front of fan design/desktop), or it'll tend to suck air through the filter in just that one spot making your filter very ineffective (reason: see #2 below). Experiment if necessary, but don't get it to close, or it'll make your filter ineffective.

2. Make sure you are using a filter rated AT or ABOVE the rated CFM's of the fan you are using, and at least a 5-micron type pleated filter. You'll get most of the finer dust going through your filter otherwise, which doesn't protect your lungs much (it's the finer stuff your trying to get). BTW, putting two layers of the same under-rated filter doesn't help much (finer dust still goes through second filter, like sand particles would go though two identical screens). All said, get a decent filter designed for the job!!! I prefer using industrial filters myself.

3. Put an air-focusing shield on the front of the box. Most people think this is mainly for safety, but it is more for focusing your airflow. Plexiglas works fine, polycarbonate is more expensive, but use it if you would rather have it double as a safety shield.

Side view (use fixed width font if it does not look like a wedge).
| \
| \<----Top shield
| \
| | <--Air flow direction
^Side shield

By focusing your airflow, your CFM doesn't change, but the air speed going into that focused area in front of the shields goes up dramatically (venturi action baby! ;-). With this setup, you can have the shields coming to the edge of your table, you sit parallel to the table, and carve in your chest or lap (I like to "kick back" in my desk chair and carve like this). You can make the shields to be of an arable geometry design by using Velcro (two side square shields, and one top shield). Use Velcro for the hinges too, as it forms a somewhat tighter seal (compared to regular hinges). BTW, self-stick Velcro sticks best to a lacquered wood finished edge that has no voids (use staples too), but you'll need to glue the edges of Velcro on the Plexiglas with super glue to keep it from coming off of it (use water vapor to cure it without crazing the Plexiglas). If you design it right, you should be able to fold up the shields and carry your unit with a handle.

4. One trick is to make the inside your box a bit bigger than your filter, by about 1/8" in each direction (or 1/8" bigger than both filter dimensions). Then use door jam "V" shaped weather strip (about 3/4" wide, with serration in center to fold on, with self-stick edge on one side) around the inside of the box where your filter will sit. It holds the filter in securely, but allows for slight variations in filter size (cardboard filters tend to vary in size, even same type/model/brand from filter to filter). Cut to inside length of each inside, snip corners to a 45-degree angle.

5. Another trick, more weather stripping, but of a different sort. Get that 3/8" by 1/4" thick self stick foam vinyl stuff meant for the bottoms of window jams, and stick it to the front side of your filter soffit (that strip of wood around the inside of your box that keeps the filter from being sucked into the fan(s)). Run it all the way around (don't cut), and mate it up to where you started it. This little trick keeps the dust from trying to go around your filter, which it WILL want to do on the bottom of the unit the most. BTW, remember to work that 1/4" foam thickness into your design BEFORE you build your box.

6. Find a piece of rubber (stiff open pore works the best), and glue it to the bottom of your box (measure box for Plexiglas size needed after this step). This will greatly reduce the low frequency vibrations transmitted to your table or desk that it is sitting on, killing a lot of the noise.

7. Shouldn't have to mention it, but buy a "fan speed control" (not a light dimmer) for it, as you'll want to be able to turn it down if your just working with a micro motor tool or small air tool. BTW, slowing it down for small stuff is a good idea, because it also tends to be finer dust (sanding, etc...). A 600 CFM 5-micron filter will do 5 microns at 600 CFM, but will do somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 to 2 microns when run at only 300 CFM.

8. (relates back to #2). Don't use a so-called "induced static" filter, they are worthless after the first few grams of dust get on them. You could use the "induced static" filter for a secondary filter, but it is usually not worth the extra money. A traditional "mechanical" type filter actually improves its ability to filter with usage (you just get less & less CFM going though it after a while).

Thanks to Joe Brott for the web address and thanks to Pat Lamusga for the information. With this data, I'm sure we will see some great collectors showing up.


Quick Glue Repair

Gen Jansen of St Cloud, MN, a prolific author of woodcarving books, a member of Women with Knives, Central Minnesota Woodcarvers, Minnesota Woodcarvers Assoc., Red River Valley Woodcarvers of Fargo-Moorehead, Flickertail Woodcarvers of Bismarck, Viking Woodcarvers in Bloomington, West Central Woodcarvers of Willmar MN, and a member of the National Woodcarvers Association shared the following information with me. I thought it was a great hint and have included it in "Notes From the Net". Thanks Gen!

Gen tells how to make a quickset glue job that holds well! She wrote that she broke off the end of Santa's bag by accident the other day and wanted to get that piece finished then. So she put a bit of Aileen's Tacky Glue on the break. Gen made sure that both parts were smeared lightly with this glue. Then put a drop of Super Glue GEL in the middle of the white glue. She then pressed both parts together and held them tight for a few seconds. "I worked another part of the carving and came back to the broken part about 6 minutes later. It held and I could finish the work."

Gen stated that she retested her method shortly after first using it. One of her students broke part of a leaf off during one of Gen's carving classes the next day. The leaf was glued together with the above method. About 15 minutes later, Gen asked her student how the glue job was holding and he said, "I've carved it already".

Gen noted that the method may work with yellow wood glue, but she had not tested it.

Note: You must use the gel form of super glue, not the thin runny stuff.

I appreciate the tip from Gen and just so happen to have an ear on a caricature Brahma Bull that I broke that will be a great test on the hint. :o)


On Inspiration . . .

Bill Judt, owner of the Woodcarver's List, posted a note to the list concerning inspiration. If you haven't taken time to visit Bill's web site, I urge you to do so. Bill's web site is located at http://www.wwwoodcarver.com. Bill writes:

About inspiration...

Inspiration comes from outside of us, not within. Therefore, you need to find a source of inspiration. Take an inventory of those things that matter to you... That makes life meaningful... That gives hope, comfort, joy, peace. It may be in family, or vocation, or faith or nature.

Inspiration comes to me, personally, from life experience and from the Bible. The reason I carve what people call "religious carvings" (I call them "inspirational carvings" is that my relationship with God and my longing to experience my Lord personally are the most important things in my life. They motivate everything I do. Therefore, it is natural to desire to carve what is most important to me. Once I discovered this, inspiration ceased to be a problem.

There is something else you need to do, and that is to separate the need to find a source for inspiration from the need to acquire the skills for design and pattern making. Many can carve well, but fewer can design well. The ability to create a fresh and creative pattern by drawing from your well source of inspiration is an acquired skill, which builds on previous experience and grows as the years pass. Nurture this skill and you will find that eventually you will be able to carve anything and design anything that "inspiration" has put in your heart.


Small Fish Eyes

Ted Richmond, a well-known fish carver from the Kansas City area, responds for to a request for information concerning small fish eyes.

Ted wrote:

I saw a request for information concerning small glass eyes on the fish carver's discussion group and it came to mind that many times the smaller glass eyes look very dark after inserting them. Flexeyes brand eyes are good and can be viewed at http://www.flexeyes.com. Flexeyes are made by Wayne Cooper. They are painted on flexible plastic and look good when finished and they come in sizes 6 mm and 8 mm. You can even trim around the edges for an even better fit. They are pre-painted according to species.

If you insist on glass eyes, then try the Hide and Beak supply company and our friend Larry can advise you as to whether he still has any smaller series 140 by Tohickon left. One of the best ideas is to carve your own right on the fish and smooth it out. (Now here comes the tip.) After getting the carving done, seal it right around the eye. Then use Magic Sculp or a similar product to smooth out the wood on the iris and around the sclerotic capsule. USE a WETTED ARTIST BRUSH to make it very smooth. Once dried Super Sculp can be painted. Remember to use detailed photographs and other 3-D reference if you have it. Paint the carved eye with an artist brush. The painted eye can really be more attractive when they are that small.


As always, I hope that you have found something in this information that will be useful to you in your carving endeavors. One of the best places to find additional information concerning woodcarving is the archives found on The Carvers' Companion. Take some time and browse these web pages. I'm certain that you will find them more that just worthwhile. (WOM back issue HERE: Woodcarver Resource Files HERE)

Until the next issue, keep carving and strive to make each carving your best one yet!

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 - Fishcarving List