Archive for February 2015

Susan Alexander’s “Let’s Talk Carving” Issue 4

Susan bio shot Technology — Can’t Live With It — Can’t Live Without It! 

 

 

Please refer and fol­low all man­u­fac­tur­ers’ direc­tions.

The last week in Jan­u­ary, my inter­net access, per­son­al com­put­er, iPad, scan­ner, inkjet and laser print­ers got into an argu­ment and decid­ed not to com­mu­ni­cate with each oth­er. It was like a mas­sive divorce; they were all going their sep­a­rate ways. I spent over five hours cajol­ing, and then beg­ging them to acknowl­edge each oth­ers pres­ence.

Hop­ing for a dis­trac­tion, I turned on the radio and began reen­ter­ing the Blue­tooth 16 dig­it Key Code (num­bers and cap­i­tal let­ters) for the fourth time, when the radio announc­er advised, “Although it is true Mer­cury has gone ret­ro­grade, only the “unin­formed” believe that this plan­et has the abil­i­ty to dis­rupt com­mu­ni­ca­tions.”

Yeah – right – you betcha.

It was then that I men­tal­ly list­ed all the rea­sons I love carv­ing wood so much more than deal­ing with tech­nol­o­gy. You can carve any piece of wood, any­where in the world, with­out pass­words, inter­net access, pro­grams, inkjet or laser car­tridges, key codes, pro­gram upgrades, virus­es, virus pro­tec­tion pro­grams, scan­ners, down­loads, files, fold­ers, USB ports, dri­ver updates, clouds, back­ups, blue­tooth, and emails I should have, but I swear, nev­er received. It’s just you, the wood and a sharp tool. Heav­en!

You wouldn’t believe it, to read the above, but I like tech­nol­o­gy, except when it doesn’t work NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, and if I had won the MEGA-MILLION LOTTO I promise you, in a heart­beat, I would have drop kicked every last piece of tech­nol­o­gy I own out my sec­ond-sto­ry win­dow as soon as I checked that no one was in the back yard and would get hurt.

And then … as usu­al … life proves how very wrong I am. Here it is – almost two weeks lat­er – and I am singing technology’s prais­es. Let me explain.

I was speak­ing with Carv­ing Illustrated’s 2014 Wood­carv­er of the Year, (applause, applause) Rick Jensen, about bark pow­er carv­ing when Rick men­tioned that air fil­ters (because of dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers) don’t always fit secure­ly into air clean­ers. While teach­ing one of his class­es, Rick noticed dust cling­ing to the wall behind the air clean­ers and decid­ed to inves­ti­gate. Rick then told me some­thing that I thought would be a ter­rif­ic TIP for this col­umn.

It was Feb­ru­ary 11 when I called Rick to request his per­mis­sions to share his TIP (remem­ber the date – it’s impor­tant lat­er on). Not only did he allow me to share his TIP with you, he offered to pro­duce a short video for us!

That evening, Rick asked his wife, Jody, (who just came home from a long day at work), to record his TIP, edit it, and send it to me via their Drop­box. I received the video, down­loaded the file to my Drop­box, and emailed the shared link to Matt Kel­ley, who will do his mag­ic so all of you can see Rick’s air fil­ter TIP, when you click the link below.

Did I men­tion that I LOVE tech­nol­o­gy?

I always say that wood­carvers are the best peo­ple and it’s true. Now, I want to add that wood­carvers’ wives (and hus­bands) are just as great. Thank you, Jody, for tap­ing Rick’s TIP for all of us!

You can see Rick’s TIP by click­ing: HERE

On a side note … just for the heck of it … I checked the Inter­net and (I would nev­er lie to you) Mer­cury stopped going ret­ro­grade on Feb­ru­ary 11. I told you to remem­ber that date.

Life is cer­tain­ly full of mys­ter­ies.

Oh … one more thing … while I chat­ted with Rick, he men­tioned that he and Jody had just shot two videos for Sabu­ur­tooth Tools. You can see them at: https://www.facebook.com/saburrtoothtools/videos. Enjoy!

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E-MAIL:  Sub­ject — Human Hands

I received an email from carv­er, Gary Cum­mins, ask­ing:

Can you rec­om­mend any instruc­tion­al books, arti­cles, DVDs, etc. on the sub­ject of carv­ing car­i­ca­ture and real­is­tic human hands out there?  Tips, advice, etc. would be appre­ci­at­ed. My carved hands either look like a knot of sausages or claws.

The first thing I did when I received Gary’s email is trot down to my work­shop and dig through my study sticks. One of my favorites is from Dave Stet­son. Dave’s is the only hand study stick I have ever come across. I’ve owned it for years, and can’t recall where/when I pur­chased it.

Closed Hand Study by Dave Stetson

Closed Hand Study by Dave Stet­son

Because I think it is rather use­less to sug­gest an item to a carv­er with­out advis­ing where it can be pur­chased, I went online and searched and searched and searched and came up with nada. I made a few phone calls to ven­dors – still nada.

Dave’s web­site, www.stetsoncarving.com didn’t offer the hand study stick either, so I called him – twice. But, there was no answer and no voice mail avail­able.

Not to be deterred (work­ing hard for you, Gary), I emailed Dave.

Dave called me right back and we had a great con­ver­sa­tion. Ends up that he had just pur­chased a new phone and hadn’t had time to set up his voice mail yet. Bot­tom line, we are in luck! Dave no longer pro­duces these hand study sticks, but has about a dozen left. [Edi­tor note — make that eleven left.]  If you would like to pur­chase one, email Dave at www.stetsoncarving.com. They cost $24.95 plus ship­ping. When he sells the last of them — they’re gone.

Before our con­ver­sa­tion end­ed, Dave asked if I had ever seen the Carvi­nOn­line web­site. I hadn’t, but after­wards I checked it out. It looks ter­rif­ic. There must be close to 20 accom­plished carv­ing instruc­tors offer­ing carv­ing videos. Their web­site is: http://www.carvinonline.com/index.shtml#What%20can%20I%20Learn.

There is a cost per month, or for three months, or for the year to access the videos. What I liked was that there were a num­ber of free lessons offered by dif­fer­ent instruc­tors, so you can actu­al­ly take a test-dri­ve before you buy. I did notice that there is one les­son offered on how to carve an opened hand.

If you pre­fer to pur­chase a book on hand-carv­ing, then Ivan Whillock’s Hand Pro­por­tion Made Easy con­tains infor­ma­tion on carv­ing opened and closed hands as well as on the hand’s anato­my. This book is offered from our fine spon­sors.

Hand Proportion Made Simple by Ivan Whillock

Hand Pro­por­tion Made Sim­ple by Ivan Whillock

 

Thanks for your email, Gary. One of the rea­sons I enjoy writ­ing this col­umn is because I learn so very much when research­ing ques­tions like yours, as well as the oppor­tu­ni­ty to make new carv­ing friends like Dave Stet­son.

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E-MAIL: Sub­ject — Eagle Head Walk­ing Sticks

I received an email from carv­er, Mike Her­mann, ask­ing:

Hi Susan, I was won­der­ing where to find walk­ing stick how-to project of an eagle’s head.

Ini­tial­ly, I respond­ed to Mike’s email with two book sug­ges­tions. The first book, should he want to carve a whim­si­cal eagle, is one I owned that uses bass­wood eggs, Carv­ing Wood­en Fin­ger Pup­pets and Cane Top­pers 20 Whim­si­cal Projects from Bass­wood Eggs by Ross Oar. The premise is that you carve a hole in the back of your eagle head carv­ing which then allows you to either mount it on a cane, as a top­per, or place (not mount) it on a child’s fin­ger as a fin­ger pup­pet.

Finger Puppets & Cane Toppers by Ross Oar

Fin­ger Pup­pets & Cane Top­pers by Ross Oar

I wasn’t cer­tain if Mike want­ed to carve a real­is­tic eagle, so I found a sec­ond book, online, Carv­ing Wild Fowl Canes and Walk­ing Sticks with Pow­er by Rus­sell, $14.95. I don’t have a pho­to of that, but there was an eagle on its cov­er.

Since that time, I’ve been think­ing about Mike’s request. Per­haps, Mike want­ed to carve a walk­ing stick with an eagle’s head for a vet­er­an. If so, Hey Mike – here are two great links.

If you go to: http://www.wcsh6.com/videos/life/2014/06/06/10069967/ you’ll see a news video about George and Don­na Gun­ning, along with Bert Tru­man, who have cre­at­ed over 1800 Eagle Canes. They’ll make an eagle’s head cane for any vet­er­an that requests one, free of charge. I had to share this with all of you. It makes me feel proud to be in the com­pa­ny of wood­carvers. Bless George, Don­na and Bert!

Then, I found a sec­ond web­site, the Eagle Cane Project. This group’s goal is to pro­vide PRESENTATION CANES to a select group of Post 9–11 Vet­er­ans who have received some man­ner of leg dis­abil­i­ty from com­bat relat­ed actions.

Their home page is: http://www.eaglecane.com/ftp.eaglecane/Welcome.html. Their site is very com­plete and well orga­nized. It offers Eagle Cane Project guide­lines, request form, poster, tuto­ri­als, and a list of par­tic­i­pants and orga­ni­za­tions, by state, with their emails, recip­i­ents, con­tacts, links and Eagle Cane News.

It any read­er would like to offer addi­tion­al sug­ges­tions for Mike, please email me at SusanAlexanderCarvesOnWOM@comcast.net (or use the form at the bot­tom of this arti­cle) and I’ll list your sug­ges­tion and name in the next issue of WOM.

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E-MAIL: Sub­ject — Styl­ized Carv­ing

I receive at least one email every six months ask­ing for books on styl­ized carv­ings. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I could nev­er pro­vide an answer, so this time I went to my bud­dy, Lar­ry Yud­is, of The Wood­craft Shop, for a sug­ges­tion. He searched and found, The Art of Styl­ized Wood Carv­ing by Solomon & Hamil­ton, $19.95. You can pur­chase this book from your favorite carv­ing store, or one of our ter­rif­ic spon­sors. If you order from The Wood­craft Shop, this book is Item 912436. Thanks for your help, Lar­ry.  (Link to The Wood­craft Shop in the Spon­sor side­bar to the right.)

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E-MAIL: Sub­ject — Pre­serv­ing Wood Carv­ing Stat­ues

Last month, I received an email from Jim Sul­li­van regard­ing pre­serv­ing wood carv­ing stat­ues. I haven’t received any respons­es from read­ers, so I’ll run this by you a sec­ond time, hop­ing some­one can offer a sug­ges­tion for Jim. Here’s the orig­i­nal email.

I own a nativ­i­ty scene crèche of sev­er­al carved wood­en fig­ures and a carved wood sta­ble. The crèche was pur­chased in Ober­amegau, Ger­many, in 1958. I think the carved wood sta­ble may be of arol­la (Swiss) pine, a type of white pine. It is stained a medi­um brown and the carved fig­ures (prob­a­bly from a dif­fer­ent, close-grained wood) are unstained. What should be done to pre­serve the wood from dry­ing out or oth­er­wise improp­er­ly aging? Thank you.

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E-MAIL: Sub­ject — Pow­er Carv­ing Ref­er­ence

Last month, I also received an email from a carv­er who received a flex-shaft grinder/carver for Christ­mas. He asked for any Ref­er­ence Books or YouTube Videos that oth­er carvers can rec­om­mend for pow­er carv­ing.

We can rec­om­mend, Pow­er Carv­ing House Spir­its by Tom Wolfe. It is avail­able from WOM’s carv­ing sup­ply spon­sors.

Power Carving House Spirits by Tom Wolfe

Pow­er Carv­ing House Spir­its by Tom Wolfe

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Until next time, gen­tle read­er, may your wood be plen­ti­ful and your tools stay sharp. Take care, carve lots, and always remem­ber to smile.
Peace,
Susan.

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If you have ques­tions for Susan, please sub­mit them using the form below.