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About kwinn

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    Advanced Member

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  • Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  1. kwinn

    Magnifying glasses

    I use a pair of 2x non-prescription reading glasses along with a 4x Optivsor, giving me 8x total magnification. The focal distance is about right for carving, but as Janel hinted at, tools on the bench are a bit blurry... Kelly
  2. kwinn

    new heraldic sculpture

    Wow, that's nice work. Thanks for sharing with us.
  3. kwinn

    Masatoshi Book on ebay...be quick

    I just picked up a copy of this book, also from ebay, for US$45.00. It is new and in pristine condition. There is another copy for sale right now at the same price.
  4. kwinn

    Puppy and kitten

    Very nice work, thank you for posting. I am amazed by the sheer number of pieces you have on your web site - they are all such marvelous work. How long does it take you to create a work like this? Kelly
  5. kwinn

    A Small Koi

    Thanks for the suggestions. Here are the final pictures. The eyes are made from Baltic Amber backed by acrylic paint. This was my first attempt at making Amber eyes. To make them, I prepared a rod of Amber with a flattened and smoothed end, onto which I painted a gold ring. When that was dry I painted the entire end of the rod black. The rod was then glued into a prepared socket with cyanoacrylate (super) glue and shaped and polished. There is a little bit of clouding in the black area and I'm not sure of the cause (perhaps the acrylic is not adhering well to the Amber?). Next time I may try something else like Sumi ink for the dark spot. I find that Amber is very easy to work with both hand and power tools. It is brittle, but I only had a few small unintended flakes pop off while working it. I shaped the eyes with a diamond burr and hand-files. I sanded to 1500-grit wet/dry sandpaper, then polished with brown buffing compound on a buffing wheel mounted in my Foredom. For the finish, I coated the entire carving with Watco Danish Oil (eyes included, after testing to make sure my finishing agent wouldn't dissolve the Amber). This wood is surprisingly dense though, as it didn't soak up much of the oil even after sitting for 30 minutes. I think I wiped most of the oil off again, and let it dry for 24 hours. Finally, I took Janel's suggestion and applied a wash of thinned Sumi ink on everything except the head. Kelly
  6. kwinn

    A Small Koi

    I've been working on this for a few months as time permitted, and I am now getting near the finish line. Freda (fkvesic) inspired me to post some pictures of this work-in-progress. It has taken quite a bit of work to get to this point (I think I worked on the scales alone for a month!) The wood is Mountain Mahogany heartwood that I collected a few years ago in the mountains above Salt Lake City. This wood is hard yet easy to carve, relatively forgiving as to grain direction (but not as forgiving as Boxwood), and has a nice color and grain pattern. I am now working to make eyes from Amber. I'll follow up with more pictures when that is complete. LOOKING FOR SUGGESTIONS: Even though this wood is already a nice brown color, I would like to apply a coloring agent to enhance the contrasts. However, I'm still puzzling over what kind of coloring agent to use. I could use the old trick that caricature carvers use and apply a wash of dark brown paint over the entire surface and rub it off the high areas, but that seems a little out of place here. What would people here suggest? Kelly
  7. kwinn

    Power carving tool ?

    Thanks for asking that question - it's one I've been wondering about recently. I have and use a Foredom, and yes, I notice quite a bit of vibration in the handpiece. I use a Number 8 handpiece. I can't use it for long periods (> 1 hour) because my hand starts to tingle from the vibration. I'm interested to know if I just have a bad handpiece, or if this is to be expected.
  8. Joseph, Welcome, and thank you for sharing your work with us. Your works are fantastic -- you are truly gifted. I am constantly amazed and humbled by the skills I see on this site. Kelly
  9. kwinn


    Hi Daniel, When I'm carving with hand tools, I use a leather (fore) finger and thumb guard on the hand that holds the tool. Do a search for "carving thumb guard" and you'll find plenty of pictures and places to buy. Of course, you could just wear a whole glove. I know some who simply cut the finger and thumb out of a cheap glove. This doesn't give you the same snug fit as the fancy ones, but it works. I should also mention that I wear a carver's safety glove on the hand holding the material being carved. This is a glove made from Kevlar and stainless steel that originated in the meat-cutting industry but is now made special for carvers. You can also use a fish filet glove which is much cheaper but probably just as good. Kelly
  10. kwinn

    Hi from Moldova!

    Welcome to the forums Natasha, I too am a fan of your wonderful carvings, and I am pleased that you have joined us. Thanks, Kelly
  11. I was surfing around some netsuke-related links, and found myself at the web site of Alexander Derkachenko (users.iptelecom.net.ua/~netsuke/) Mr. Derkachenko has a wonderful home page with many fantastic works that I would highly recommend visiting. Anyway, he refers to a material called "jet" that he uses for eye inlays. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Jet is an artificial (i.e. plastic) material, but that's about all I can recall. I can't find any discussions of this in the history of this forum, so I thought I'd pose the question (well, actually I'll pose a few...) What is Jet? How do you work it? What is it good (or not good) for? What have you used it for? Where can we obtain some? Thanks in advance, Kelly
  12. kwinn

    Summer Singer

    Janel, Looks good so far. I'll be eager to follow this one. I'm glad to see someone else making a maquette (a clay model) before carving. I've just adopted this technique, and found that it really helps set the proportions, alignments, and reference points for a carving. The last small carving I did, I made a maquette and carved directly from it -- I never did sketch a pattern. Kelly
  13. kwinn

    Small Carving Tools

    Janel - the scraper that I listed as #1 is from a set of four. I bought them at Woodcraft, but can't find them on Woodcraft's web site. I found the same set (I think) on Lee Valley Tools' web site here They call them "Miniature Chisels & Scalers", whatever that is supposed to mean. The one that I listed #1 above is the third from the end on the right, which they describe as a "claw-shaped trapezoid". Kelly
  14. kwinn

    Small Carving Tools

    I recently posted a carving (see "Mouse on Cheese" in the new work forum). Several people (including Janel) asked what kind of tools I used, especially for the undercutting. So, I'm posting a picture of my favorite small-scale tools. Some of these are primitive, but they work. I'm always looking for more tools and finding ways to re-use or reshape tools that gone by the wayside. These are not all the tools I use -- I use a Foredom rotary power tool and a number of more traditional-sized hand carving tools for rough shaping. Another simple but useful idea demonstrated in this picture is the tool rest made from a long piece of wood cut with evenly-spaced round notches. This really helps keep control over a cluttered workbench, and keeps the blades from banging into each other (which can mean another trip to the sharpening stone). Numbered from left to right, they are: 1. SCRAPER. Purchased from Woodcraft in their "small scrapers" set. Very nice for cleaning out those deep or undercut areas. 2. SCRAPER made from a standard Exacto knife blade. The edge is ground and polished perpendicular to the face of the blade and is about 0.5mm wide. There is a slight curvature lengthwise along what used to be the cutting edge, so I can scrape with just the tip without worrying about the heel doing any damage elsewhere. This tool is very useful for smoothing in tight corners where sandpaper just won't reach. This isn't useful for scraping larger areas, however, because the blade is so thin it tends to chatter if pushed too hard. 3. Small chisel, made by Dockyard. I have and use a couple of sets of Dockyard tools, but only pictured a couple here. 4. Small dockyard gouge. 5. Small palm-gouge. It has a slight curvature (probably a #3). 6. Small knife made from an Exacto stencil knife blade set in a maple handle. It's not pretty, but the steel seems to hold up well, and is easy to reshape as needed. 7. SCRAPER made from a nail punch. The face is an oval shape. Used by holding at a high angle (maybe 70 degrees or more) and then dragging away from the face. Nice for smoothing very small concave areas that are difficult to reach with sandpaper. I have a couple of others of different sizes. (Thanks to Janel for teaching us how to make these scrapers). 8. Small knife made from a flat dental pick. This end shown is sharpened only on the end, which makes a small blade (abt 1mm wide) that can reach into tight areas. The other end of this tool is sharpened along the inside edge, which helps make undercuts in hard-to-reach areas. 9. Standard run-of-the-mill exacto blade. The end of the blade extremely thin, so it can go into undercuts that other blades can't. You have to be very careful using exacto blades in hard wood, however, as the tip breaks easily if any sideways pressure is applied. 10. Another re-commissioned dental pick. The sharpened edge is aligned 90% with respect to the handle, so it can reach in and undercut where other blades won't reach. 11. Detail knife made by Gil Drake of Drake Knives (www.drakeknives.com). The blade is about 23mm in length, but is made from thin high-speed tool steel, so it's pretty tough blade. I use this knife quite a lot for detailing. 12. Miniature scalpel purchased through a woodcarving catalog. The cutting edge extends down along the side of the blade, so sometimes this blade can reach where others can't. 13. Bent gouge made by Drake Knives. Although I think this is technically a gouge, the edge has no curve to it (which makes it a #1 gouge). This shape is nice for making deep undercuts. As always, ideas or suggestions are welcome. Now that I've shared mine, how about sharing your own favorite carving tools? Kelly
  15. kwinn


    I too have found myself gluing sandpaper to various objects to help in sanding small places. I recently found that gluing cloth-backed sandpaper to 2mm foam (purchased from an art & craft store) using a flexible glue makes a very cheap alternative to the store-bought sanding pads. Kelly