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carnelian carving

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I'm a newcomer to the forum and have really enjoyed everything I've read & seen so far of all the gorgeous work that many of you are doing.


Just posted an intro in Who's Who today so this is a continuation of that to show & tell my second carnelian carving referred to there. Looks like most of you are working with wood and the detail you can achieve is AMAZING. I'm looking forward to learning a lot from the members of this forum and returning the favor wherever I can.


Happy carving! Carol


post-1677-1198990199.jpg before

post-1677-1198990160.jpg after!

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Would you be willing to describe the techniques and tools you use to accomplish these lovely carvings?


I know that the members like to see the work spaces also with tools. I'll fire up the workbench topic and call attention to it, so that the newer members can post and also see where some of us work.



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Hi & thanks for your comments. I'll try to explain the basic process without making it into a novel :-)


The outline of the carving is carefully shaped up against the saw blade on my Genie cabbing machine, then cleaned up to the pencil line later with diamond burs. The rest of the carving is done with a Foredom lathe and attached handpiece. A series of diamond plated burs of varied shapes and in grits 150, 240, then 600 are used to carve all of the contours. Both the carving and burs are frequently dipped into a bowl of water to wash away the swarf and before moving on to the next finer grit, water is changed and the carving is scrubbed clean with a toothbrush and dish soap.


The second phase of the process and where the majority of the time is spent, is sanding & smoothing. The carnelian carvings were sanded with mini wooden wheels and points made of holly & loaded with diamond grit pastes in a series of 220, 360, 600, 1200, 3000. Wheels are carved into shapes that can conform to the contours of the carving so 5 (in this case) wheels of each shape must be made, one for each different grit paste. Since these aren't commercially available anywhere, you have to make your own. I make them from dowel pieces sawn off to whatever length needed, drill a hole in the center of the little wheel, mount it onto a 1/8" mandrel, then shape the wheel against a file. The diamond paste is rubbed onto the wheel and then at a fairly slow speed (rpm depends on the stone material and wood or whatever else is used to hold the paste), the wheel is moved around on the surface of the carving until all of the scratches left behind by the previous grit are removed. Again, in between each grit step, carving & hands are scrubbed clean with dish soap, and all the wheels of each grit size are stored separately to avoid contaminating the next finer grit used. Invariably, you miss a scratch somewhere and have to go back a step to remove it. I guess carving is a sort of dance you do with the stone, steps forward and back and smoothing it with a fluid motion.


That's very basically how these carvings were done. Clear as mud eh!? B) Next time I'll take pix to tell a better story.


Have a great day & Happy carving, Carol

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