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  2. Thank you Janel for your reply! I have been an avid follower of Jim Kelso on the web but did not realize he had more of his work on Instagram, thank you for this! I think you are right that scrapers are at least a part of the answer here, and I'm right now looking at different geometries for this specific job. When it comes to polishing to a finish though, I think there is (at least for me) a bit of a gap between that and being able to move on to powdered abrasives. I've been somewhat able to bridge the two with shaped stones and toothpicks wrapped in sandpaper, and I am still experi
  3. Hello Francis, I am pleased to see your pursuit for solutions to the problems that moving forward presents. Occasionally Jim Kelso does post quick videos of technique on his Instagram page. Forgive me if you already follow him there, but here is the link to his account: https://www.instagram.com/jim_kelso/ I face such tight corners with wood and with clay. Each material provides its own challenges to such situations. Wood has a grain that must be respected and understood when cutting or shaving so using left and right edged versions of certain tools can be very helpful. C
  4. Hello Francis and welcome! Janel
  5. Hi Janel, yes avocado pits is very soft compared to tagua, even when it has dried. I use it as a training material.
  6. Wow! I was impressed then I saw the size and scale next to the penny, and I was blown away! Fantastic.
  7. This was the first carving book I purchased for Netsuke. It is a very simple introduction to materials, tools, safety, techniques, and a few start to finish examples. Again very surface level and pretty short, but a helpful first read for a new carver. 👍 I have been hoping and waiting for Tom Sterling to print a copy of his carving book. It's a bit more advanced and a lot longer than Jubb's. It's available for free online for PDF readers.
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  9. Well, I managed to shape a couple stones to a tight point, and I made myself a needle shaped burnisher. Combined with the careful hand use of gravers as scrapers, and more patience, I got to a better finish in the inside corner. There are still issues here obviously (background flatness, and the rounding of the foreground due to my indiscriminate use of sandpaper without hard backing), but I was focusing on the tight corner and that's a lot closer to what I want (this is just a practice piece). Additional tips are still welcome
  10. Hi! As the topic says, I live in California. What the topic does not say is I'm actually French I am a hobby knifemaker and more recently swordmaker, and I have developed an interest in Japanese metal carving through the need to make koshirae for my blades. I am in awe when I see the work showcased in this forum, and I see that there is a long road ahead and much practice needed to eventually do some of the things I want to do. I have been lurking around for some time now, and I thought it was time to finally sign up. I hope you will forgive my beginner's questions! Cheers!
  11. Hello everyone, I am fairly new to tosogu and currently working on a tsuba. Part of the design calls for carving out some of the background, and I am practicing polishing a smooth slope and its transition with the foreground features. As you can tell, the closer I get to a border or to a tight corner, the more I am struggling, and I am looking for advice on how to effectively cleanup and polish close to details that need to be preserved. The tight inside corners are particularly challenging. I do have small stones, but nothing that small. A small piece of sandpaper wrapped aroun
  12. Hello Kiyoshi Yoshi, Your inventions are so very clever and fun to watch! Thank you for the link to the beautiful Sakura blossoms. Janel
  13. Pierre, I am amazed at what you were able to accomplish with a simple knife. Perhaps avocado is not as hard as tagua ... especially if it is fresh. Janel
  14. Hi Pierre, Welcome! There are some discussions about tagua nuts on the forum that might be helpful. I think that knives that are more like pocket knives might be too challenging and dangerous for tagua. Smaller, more controllable shaving shapes might be more rewarding after first roughing out with files. (A tip: if you have a carving peg, you might find the tacky putty stuff used for sticking posters and paper to walls an asset to holding the hard and rounded nut while working. It reduces the clamp-like grip for the holding hand by sticking to the backside.) Janel
  15. Hi, please find some pictures of a small frog I carved from an avocado spit, using a japanese Higonomaki knife. Happy to receive your comments. I will try to share my works on the go. Best regards, Pierre
  16. Hi everybody, Few words to introduce myself. Pierre, 41, from Paris, France. Interested in crafting small objects with my pocket knife since my youth. I revived this interest due to COVID related containment, leaving time for indoor activities... plus the discovery of the art of netsuke. I am a beginner, carving mainly avocado spits at this time, trying to turn them into small figures, mainly animal shaped. I am also a pocket knife enthusiast, and I use my Higonokami knives to carve (currently looking for more specific tools). Interested in sharing my experiences and gaining knowl
  17. Hey Janel So I spoke to my mother a few days ago and she told me that she grew up in Apple Valley, so I was wrong hah, it was other family who lived near Brainerd. I'm in the south west of Western Australia myself, it's uncomfortably hot here right now even though it's supposed to be autumn. We've got frogs all around the area, they're mostly motorbike frogs, you can really hear them at night. 9 year old frogs? Well you must have taken really good care of the little guys, I bet they don't often get that old in the wild. I love Hape's work, he's really easy to get on with to
  18. Spring greeting from Tokyo Even under the COVID-19, in Tokyo, Sakura blossoms are in full bloom also this year. The life of Sakura is very short, full bloom period is few days. We are enjoying just looking them without alcoholic drinks this year, to avoid infection. You can enjoy a lot of photos below. https://travel.rakuten.co.jp/mytrip/trend/hanami-tokyo?fbclid=IwAR1LscRIFob95HNHF8trqG-3MkXPBfus_7hDGYCYNYZh9b0pGvXSlm8okgM Please also enjoy my new works below. https://youtu.be/LquDyjwqkbE https://youtu.be/AuKUWMZqLMM
  19. Hi Brokk, Northern Minnesota, yes that helps a bit. I am in east central near the Wisconsin border. Minnesota has three definite zones between prairie, woodland and the lakes region. A cabin of any sort on a lake is common for many folks. We are next to the Sunrise River about a mile from the St. Croix River confluence, so I do have water nearby. Thank you for the link and reminder of Hape Kiddle's work. I had heard of him, and to see his work now is refreshing. It is so easy to want to touch and caress it. I look forward to seeing your carvings as they progress. Uki
  20. Hi Janel, thank you. I'm not 100% sure what parts they come from but I believe Duluth and Brainerd have been mentioned in the past. I know they had a cabin by a lake but I doubt that narrows it down any. Yes I was super lucky to have had that experience with Sue Wraight, more recently, I believe 2018-19, Hape Kiddle has come and done some workshops with the guild, not sure if you know of his work but he's really great, he usually plays with flowing forms in sort of abstract natural looking shapes. His website is here: https://www.hapekiddle.com/ I recommend checking it out, they're l
  21. Hi Daz, Thank you for the explanation for the symbolism in the piece. Knowing these things make it quite meaningful. I am sorry that I was so late to reply ... even in isolation, life is busy. (and I have not much sense of calendar time, though that is changing) Be well and stay happily busy, Janel
  22. Pavel, you made me smile when you described who the model for the spider was! Well done! Have you mastered the skills for moving the limbs of the spider? What a great and pleasing challenge that project must have been. Janel
  23. Pavel, that is so very sweet! Thank you for showing it to us. Janel
  24. Welcome Brokk, Where in MN did your parents come from? I live in MN. How fortunate you were to have a little time with Susan Wraight! What an inspiration that must have been to have her give a workshop to your carving group. And, good experiences all around for teaching carving with your Pop! Ed: I am glad to see you have recovered! Welcome back to you! Janel
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