Woodcarver Ezine
Back Issues
Carvers' Companion Gateway



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


No theme this month, just an eclectic collection of good stuff.  The first is from Loren via Doug.

Now What do I do?

I finished carving and painting (basswood with acrylic paint) a piece that I was getting ready to send out and when I applied the Briwax to antique it some of the paint rubbed off and now I have blue splotches all over the face.  The last of the painting was done on Monday night and it had set
for three days to dry.

Any suggestions on what I can do to salvage this now?


I learned on the fish carver's list that you can remove acrylic paint with Goof Off, a product available at many of the hardware stores.  I haven't tried this yet but the gentleman telling me about the product is a great carver.  You may want to try to remove the paint and start over. 

Loren Woodard

Thanks for taking time to check out my web pages at

 Just my two cents worth here... The success or failure of removing any finish is going to depend heavily on how the surface was prepared before it was applied.  If the wood was not sealed before the first coat, then the finish probably soaked into the wood when it was applied. This would be especially true for the end grain areas.   This makes it difficult to impossible for paint removers to reach it.  Take the time to prepare a scrap piece of the same wood in the same way as your project was prepared, and try the product on that first.
Mike B.

Club Liability Insurance

Although not a technique tip, the issue below has come up repeatedly at the two clubs I belong to, and I've heard several other stories second hand.  Besides, we had a couple very wise responses. 
Mike B.

At the most recent meeting of the Mystic Carving Club
(CT), last weekend, the club officers remarked about the increasing cost of liability insurance.  It's hard to do a comparison, since there aren't a lot of companies that advertise a product like this.

Does anyone have tips, first of all, on the importance of carrying this type of insurance, and secondly, on how to shop around for it?

Ed Ertel

Hi Ed,
At one of our club meetings, a little over a year ago, one elderly member of our carving club tripped over a toolbox someone set on the floor. This person broke their wrist in 3 places and broke their noise. After 3 surgeries on his wrist and metal pins still in he is beginning to carve again. It will never be the same movement but he said the pain is gone. He would have never sued the club or the individual who left his toolbox on the floor. Medicare left him with over $2,000 out of pocket expenses. We have been doing raffles at our meetings to help him cover his costs. Many individuals would not be able to pay this $2000 deductible and they would be left with no alternative but to try and collect from the responsible parties. Fortunately for us this individual recognized that he perhaps was the most responsible for his own accident.

If it was anyone else lawsuits could have destroyed our club. I can only imagine that the elected officers, I being one, would have been held liable. The individual who's toolbox he tripped over would have been sued.

We had thought about the owners of the building, who allow us to use it for $10 a meeting, having insurance to cover this but we would surely have lost our nice meeting place as a result of a claim.

Since than we purchased insurance with Country Companies, I believe about $200 per year, which covers us for this type of liability. We got the insurance through one of our club member who is an agent with Country Companies.

Joe Dillett
The Carving Shop
645 E. LaSalle St. Suite 3
Somonauk, IL. 60552

You can take all the precautions, never do anything wrong, and still need liability insurance.  You need insurance to protect you from not only the legitimate claims but from the frivolous ones--someone who claims they fell because the "smell of the finish on your carving made them dizzy."   The whole thing may be thrown out, but up to then you need representation provided by the insurance company.

In certain situations a victim SHOULD sue--to get medical bills paid, etc. if a bit of carelessness--having a tool box in a walkway--helped cause an accident that is financially costly to him.

With liability insurance the other members, then, won't be resentful when a friend brings a legitimate suit against the club's insurance company.
Clarifying my last post:  often the insurance company will pay a claim without a lawsuit, of course, and a victim's medical bills would be paid by the insurance company very legitimately. So, there are times when we have liability insurance, not only to protect against the devils among us, but to help support the angels among us, too.

Ivan Whillock Studio
122 NE 1st Avenue
Faribault, MN 55021
Visit my website at
Visit my Picturetrail album at

Color Left Behind by Sanding Pads

I recently used an abrasive wheel on the dremmel. After I finished I noticed the color deposits from the color of the wheel. I tried GoofOff to remove the color, but not much improvement. Can anyone help?
Thank you
Bob Jump

Sometimes it helps to run the pads at slower speeds.
The best pad to use with least color residue is 3M 7440, very coarse. It is much harder than the others.

Old Joe
<>Plattsmouth NE 
WebShots: http://community.webshots.com/user/woodcarver25

Flesh Tones

It has been a while sense I have had a need for flesh tone color.  Can any one give me the mix using oil paint and Minwax natural stain?  Much appreciated!
Jim D.

Hi Jim,
For light peach colored skin try a mixture of:
Titanium White
Cadmium Yellow
Madder Brown (this is a deep off tone red)
Use Raw Umber for the shadow tones.
For a light brown or coffee colored skin use:
Titanium White
Yellow Ochre
Burnt Sienna
Use a mix of Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber for the shadow tones.
For a chocolate colored skin tone try:
Titanium White
Burnt Sienna
Burnt Umber
Use Burnt Umber for the shadow tones.
All three skin color mixes use an orange hue for the blushing.  If I am working in acrylics I do the painting first, then add the oil stain.  Once the oil stain is dry mix some cadmium yellow and cadmium red oil paint to create a nice bright orange.   Pick up a little on a clean cloth then blot that cloth very very well on a towel so there is very little color left in the cloth.  Now pat that cloth where  you want the blush ... cheeks, tip of nose, and top of the chin.  The patting means you will have no brush strokes and since it's done in oil colors the acrylic and staining work shows through the blush.
Hope this helps.
Susan Irish

Carving Patterns Online
Designs Online Since 1997!
Classic Carving Patterns By L.S.Irish

For oil paints i use parchment or unbleached titanium with a small bit of red and yellow mixed in till I get the tone I want.   Don't know much about the stains sorry
Maura carvin' in nyc

Hi Susan!
   Jim asked for flesh tone using oil paint - do the suggestion you gave him convert to acrylic any?  And what are the advantages to using oil?  Its harder to clean up so I have stayed away from it pretty much.  Thanks for the additional information!

Hi Merrilee,

The color listings apply whether you are using watercolors, oils, or acrylics and even colored pencils and pastels.  Paint manufacturers work very hard to adhere to a color chip standard for each color tone no matter what media the color is created in.  So if burnt umber acrylic and burnt umber oil paint are placed side by side on a palette you should not see any difference in color between the two.

Jim asked for an oil listing.  I use oils when I need absolute control over blending color tones and when I want colors that are semi-transparent to transparent. 

Control: Since oils do take several days to dry you have plenty of time to mix a new color on your palette and then blend that color into one that you have already applied.  So for Jim's skin tone colors this means I can apply a base coat of the skin tone in oils to the entire face.  I can now add some white to the mix to make a highlighting color that I would use over the bridge of the nose, forehead, and along the tops of the cheekbones.  Since they are oils this new color does not go on as a brush stroke but blends into the base skin color.  I could next add some burnt umber to the base coat to darken it slightly and brush along the sides of the nose, in the eyelid areas, and along the jaw line ... Again it will instantly blend to create shadows.  So lots of color but very few brush strokes.  When I add the cheek blush of orange I have added my fourth color to the face.

Semi-Transparent or Transparent: Oils can also be used over a carving that has already been stained.  You can stain the piece with burnt umber first, allow it to dry then add a coat of polyurethane spray.  Over the spray you can brush oil paints that have been thinned with a mixture of turpentine and stand oil (linseed oil).  This thinned oil color lets all of the stain work show through but gives a coloring over top.  When oils are used directly over the wood you will be able to still see some of the grain lines of the wood through the color.

For oil paint clean up I prefer to use freezer paper as my palette. It's cheap and it's disposable!  Plus if I don't finish the painting in one day I can pull off another piece and lays that right on top of the palette piece.  This keeps the oils fresh until the next day when I peel the two papers apart.  Use a palette knife to pick up any from the top paper, put it back on the palette paper and start into painting.  So the only thing left is that I wash my brush in turp instead of water as I would with acrylics.

I also use a lot of acrylics.  They are great for how fast they dry and are ready for your sealer.  Plus if you use a wet on wet technique ... Which just means that you work fast when blending so that the base coat is still wet when you add the highlights or shadow colors ... You can get a very similar blending effect as oils.  You can get a semi-transparent effect with acrylics by thinning them with water dramatically, however it is never as clear as oils.  The biggest advantage that acrylics have in painting is when you want an opaque effect ... Solid, strong color.  Santa Clauses are perfect examples of a carving that I would go directly to acrylics!  I want Santa's suit red, no streaks, no thin areas, just good strong red!

Ok ... While I am on my teaching soapbox :)

Opaque = solid color, you can not see through to the wood below. A painted wall is opaque in that you cannot see beyond the wall.

Transparent = color that you can see through clearly as a piece of colored cellophane that they put over Easter Baskets where you can see the pink cellophane but also see the chocolate bunny in the basket.  A colored wine glass where you can see the liquid.

Semi-Transparent = a piece of frosted or textured glass in a stain glass window where you can see the sunshine coming through the glass or the shadows of moving people outside but can not actual see the shape of the people.

Hope this helped!
Susan Irish

Hi Susan.

Lots of great information...thank you!

I have just one thing to add.  I have been painting my carvings with oil paints with Minwax natural stain as the medium.  My personal preference in most cases is to be able to see the wood through the paint, so I do like the transparency.  One nice little advantage to using the  natural stain is that is speeds the drying time considerably.  I can paint several "neighboring" colors in a day with just an hour or two drying time in between.  Normally it takes 3-4 days for me to paint a bunch of  carvings, depending on the number of colors.  Day one I get the largest color masses done.....then go back and do highlighting and shading.  Day two.....smaller areas and shading those areas.  Day 3 I can usually antique (which is burnt umber oil paint thinned with the minwax stain)  on the 4th day I usually spray with Krylon matte and do any additional finishing.  I paint directly on the unsealed wood, so this is more of a stain, sinking into the wood, than a paint, which sits on top of it.

Marcia (aka Mush)
South China, Maine

OK, when either of those two last responders write their next book, make sure you buy a copy because they gave it to you here, this time, for free.  It's just the right thing to do.

OK, Gang, until next issue, be good and...

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