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StixnCanes

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Thank you members of TCP for sharing your work, experience and knowledge through photos, posts and tutorials.

 

I have spent hours going through the posts, since I recently joined, and have a deep appreciation for all the talent behind the beautiful works of art. They provide me with inspiration even though I know my physical limitations keep me from achieving the levels of perfection shown. The tutorials will be a great help to me by providing a new perspective for me to approach my carving challenges.

 

During the last couple of years it was necessary for me to make some of my own tools to accomodate my special needs. It is encouraging to see the way many of you have designed and made your own, and the innovative ways you've utilized different materials. I've always believed that "necessity is the Mother of invention." Some of my knives, scrapers and chisels were made out of concrete nails, some out of O-1 tool steel and others from old tools. I will post some photos at a later date.

 

Also, thank you (Janel) for encouraging newbies to participate in the Forum. Other groups seem to be dominated by a few "regulars" and new members, while not exactly ignored, are not encouraged to join in. After reading so many topics and posts, I almost feel I know some of you. And finally, thank you for allowing me to post my pictures, which at best can only be described as an amateurish attempt at carving.

 

I am looking forward to visiting the many member sites and reveling in the beauty of your creations.

 

Ron

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Thanks Ron, for your thoughtful comments. I view TCP as primarily a resource, a little quieter lately and less of a social phenomena than it was perhaps at the start, although a friendly, respectful place it remains. As time goes on, it's value will only increase, as new members add to the knowledge base.

 

Thanks again.

 

Jim

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Thank you Ron,

 

Your thoughtful observations mean a lot to me. The intent from the beginning of this forum was to provide a friendly, informative and accessible place for communication and learning. We learn, at any level of experience and ability, from one another.

 

Long ago, I needed answers and found few, and when my web site went on line, I began to receive questions from others who hoped to learn more. When the opportunity arose for this forum to be formed, Jim Kelso, Don Fogg, and I made it happen. Now, when I get an email from someone who is hoping to learn where to find materials or tools, or simply how to begin... what ever the reason, now there is a great resource to direct people to. Instead of my one sided answers, the inquirer will benefit from many people who have varied experiences to share. It has been a great learning experience for me, and I am so pleased that you have found The Carving Path.

 

I share the same tool-material seeking beginnings as you, though I used high speed drill bit butt ends for my first home made tools. (I can see some of you shuddering!)

 

Please do ask if you have questions. I have one: I am wondering if there would be anything to gain by devising a way to secure the tool to your hand so less pressure is needed from your grip. I am not sure if this makes sense, but it is a question I have had. Do you hold the carving in your other hand while you are carving? (Oh, I could be asking these in Tools and Technical, sorry.)

 

Thank you again, Ron,

 

Janel

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Thank you all for your comments. I spent all day yesterday reading the various topics and at the end realized I have chosen to pursue a hobby I am ill equipped (physically) to handle. I feel like a dwarf in the land of giants. However, I believe we can all achieve our goals, if we take it once step at a time. And, all of your words of encouragement and support are greatly appreciated.

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I have this quote from a fortune cookie taped to the frame of my computer/moniter:

 

"You can undertake and complete anything."

 

I also highly regard the Gothe quote in my signature line. We each discover our own genius and magic when we give ourselves the chance to. This particular quote has been with me since I struck out on my own in the early 70's.

 

No giants here, we are just people after all.

 

Janel

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Janel, I concur.

 

Ron, just a heads-up. Your signature link to your website is not complete. It lacks the ".com" so doesn't work, but you can easily fix it in your controls.

I enjoyed your site once I got there.

 

Cheers,

 

jim

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Hi Jim,

 

Thank you for helping me with my site. It doesn't make sense to have it if you can't get there.

 

I've been meaning to write you regarding your signature since you're absolutely orrect about the three tools. The one I'm missing is the opposable thumbs. Oh, they're there alright, they just don't work well.

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Thank you Ron,

 

Your thoughtful observations mean a lot to me. The intent from the beginning of this forum was to provide a friendly, informative and accessible place for communication and learning. We learn, at any level of experience and ability, from one another.

 

Long ago, I needed answers and found few, and when my web site went on line, I began to receive questions from others who hoped to learn more. When the opportunity arose for this forum to be formed, Jim Kelso, Don Fogg, and I made it happen. Now, when I get an email from someone who is hoping to learn where to find materials or tools, or simply how to begin... what ever the reason, now there is a great resource to direct people to. Instead of my one sided answers, the inquirer will benefit from many people who have varied experiences to share. It has been a great learning experience for me, and I am so pleased that you have found The Carving Path.

 

I share the same tool-material seeking beginnings as you, though I used high speed drill bit butt ends for my first home made tools. (I can see some of you shuddering!)

 

Please do ask if you have questions. I have one: I am wondering if there would be anything to gain by devising a way to secure the tool to your hand so less pressure is needed from your grip. I am not sure if this makes sense, but it is a question I have had. Do you hold the carving in your other hand while you are carving? (Oh, I could be asking these in Tools and Technical, sorry.)

 

Thank you again, Ron,

 

Janel

 

 

Janel, thank you for your questions. My condition is neuro-muscular, resulting in weak muscles. Although my fingers are curling shut, I can still wrap them around my tools and have enough strength to manipulate them. As I mentioned to Jim Kelso, my thumbs have no strength at all. I have not reached the point where I need to use a device to hold the tools, though I have begun to give thought to that eventuality. I do hold my carvings with my left hand but I glue the smaller ones to the middle of a thin, flat stick and am able to hold either end of the stick to carve. However, after seeing your post on the Elmer's tacky putty, I will try that on my next small carving. I also use a thick cushion on my lap or a carving vise with a rotating ball head. Sometimes the vise is more hindrance than help.

I love to carve with knives and, regretfully, it is getting progressively more difficult. More of my carving is done with the Dremel flexshaft and a reciprocating chisel but it's not as enjoyable a feeling as a sharp edge moving through the wood or scraping off small slivers. Recently, I've even taken up woodburning to embellish my carvings but the reality is, carving requires good hand control. So, I'll continue to enjoy carving for as long as I can. Who knows, my eyesight my fail me before my hands do, something another member is experiencing.

 

I am open to, and welcome, any advice or suggestions on carving aids. That's why I enjoy the forum so much. Imagine the years of accumulated knowledge and trial and error experience held by the members of TCP.

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Hi Ron,

 

I can't imagine how challenging your condition must be. Another member Brian Marshall has physical difficulties(I think more in his shoulders). He runs an engraving school in Stockton and I'm sure has given a lot of thought to working with physical challenges. It might be worth getting in touch with him.

 

Stockton Jewelry Arts School

 

All the best,

 

Jim

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Thank you for the above description. I know what you mean about the sharp edge moving through a piece of wood. When I receive a new piece of wood, or am "shopping" through my stored wood, I will put a knife or tool to the wood just to get a first feel for it.

 

I have enjoyed looking through your web site. Are some of your tools inspired by Japanese netsuke carving tools?

 

What are some of your goals? You mentioned in your initial introduction, with your first small-carving photos, that you had difficulty sanding the tiny nooks. One suggestion come to mind: A very handy supply of sanding tools can be found in the fingernail treatment areas in drug stores or big box stores such as WalMart or Target. I have found a selection of sanding and polishing tools, two-sided and slightly yeilding. These are not normally used for the finest details, but if they are cut to a point, will more closely serve for reaching some of the hard to sand areas.

 

Do you have an assortment of small files? Jewelers files, for instance? Sometimes the half round is my choice for starting the undercut in certain instances. Then I use a different tool to "scrape" or plane further to establish a difference between the subject and background. Files are useful.

 

My all time favorite file is a Swiss made tool which is available from WOODCRAFT. It is half round, tapered with medium and coarse ends. It helps a great deal. I wish there were smaller sizes of just this sort of tool! It is so versatile.

 

The need for sanding can reduced sometimes by using the sharpest tools as planes, on a very small scale. Scraping the surface smooth reduces the need to sand as much.

 

Janel

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Thank you, Jim and Janel, for your interest and suggestions. Most people will eventually experience what I am going through, in my case it just happened earlier than most. I will definitely contact Brian to see what he is doing to meet his challenges.

 

To answer your questions, Janel, my tool designs just evolve out of my own individual need. Since it is difficult for me to control larger knives and gouges, I just made them smaller and easier for me to handle. I began to think carving smaller things because the larger carvings, while easier on one hand, requires more waste wood removal, which is more physically demanding to me.

 

I have used some manicure sanding items and also use dental burrs which I mount in a pin vise handle. Stiill, it requires a certain amount of strength and hand control. What I am interested in are the small scrapers that I saw in the work area photos and your own tool display.

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Which ones? Sorry, without the photos that would be difficult to point out. Can you point me to the photos you were looking at?

 

Janel

 

 

Hi Janel,

 

I was referring to the scrapers you made and demonstrated in the video (Stephen Myrhe, I think). Anyway, I see that the thicker shaft and blade design is more effective than my thinner blades. Sometimes my blades "chatter". Someone in one of the other topics had a term for this but I don't remember what it is.

 

What really excited me was your use of the toothpick for sanding, in the video. I'm going to use that technique first chance I get but with a bamboo skewer. What kind of glue do you use? I had some sandpaper with adhesive backing and I cut out small pieces and stuck them on a small spatula, but never thought of sticking it on a toothpick.

 

In answer to your question regarding my goals, I just want to keep carving till I can't. I set up my website with the intentions of listing some of my canes and walking sticks for sale but that is not a high priority. So far I given most away to people I know who needed them.

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The bamboo skewers will be stiffer. I'll be interested how they work for you. I use a white glue used for common household and school tasks. We call it Elmer's Glue, its popular trade name here, or simply white glue.

 

By goals, I meant shorter term goals with your carving, like devising ways to sand the small spaces, or to undercut or create further definition. Recognizing the potential of the tools in the video and thinking about how to use them with your work will be an interesting step for you. The three sided tools can be tiny or larger.

 

The thin blades you might be referring to, with chatter, might be occurring if the whole tool length is thin, with a bit of flexibility to it. If the shaft is a bit thicker, and the back side of the blade is a wee bit thicker, there may be less flex and the energy of the planing action would maybe be smoother for you.

 

The gift made from your hands and heart would be a very special gift to receive.

 

Janel

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The bamboo skewers will be stiffer. I'll be interested how they work for you. I use a white glue used for common household and school tasks. We call it Elmer's Glue, its popular trade name here, or simply white glue.

 

By goals, I meant shorter term goals with your carving, like devising ways to sand the small spaces, or to undercut or create further definition. Recognizing the potential of the tools in the video and thinking about how to use them with your work will be an interesting step for you. The three sided tools can be tiny or larger.

 

The thin blades you might be referring to, with chatter, might be occurring if the whole tool length is thin, with a bit of flexibility to it. If the shaft is a bit thicker, and the back side of the blade is a wee bit thicker, there may be less flex and the energy of the planing action would maybe be smoother for you.

 

The gift made from your hands and heart would be a very special gift to receive.

 

Janel

 

Thank you for your comments and observations.

 

I will try both the skewer and the toothpicks.

 

As I mentioned earlier, I am a very slow carver. Actually, I'm slow at everything, but I digress. When I began six years ago, most of my efforts went into canes and walking sticks, plain and some with carvings. As I learned more about carving, I began to veer away from cane making aned focused more on carving in the round. I have been finishing two or three easy carvings each year. My problem is I tend to put the piece down when I get stuck. I've made up my mind to finish these before starting something new. Also, I need to plan my projects carefully. I tend to jump on ideas that excite me without thinking them through completely, roughing out before considering the details. One of your projects that is featured in "Beginning a project" helped me to see the steps in planning and executing.

 

Since I am a novice, my pieces have been very static, no movement. Just yesterday, I was reviewing my unfinished work and determined my new designs need to include more life, movement, a turn of the head, a snarl or yawn, etc.

 

TCP is giving me lots of insight and answering lots of questions.

 

I haven't worked on making any tools for over a year but I will definitely make the "Myhre" style scrapers.

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