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Hi folks,


I've been relatively quiet for a while... I have been deeply immersed in a complex piece for nearly a month, and the anxiety level is rising every day. This is a commissioned piece, of my design. The wood is getting thinner, and the delicate parts are becoming vulnerable. No photos, since this is commissioned. I will share them later.


When I am so connected to a challenging piece, I am not a good conversationalist. My mind continues to be involved with the carving, even when away from the bench. Same goes for when I am trying to think of topic starters for The Carving Path forum. My apologies to you. I read the forum every day and look forward to catching up with you here.


I hope that you all are absorbed with compelling work, and are happily learning and growing. Care to share what you are doing?


Happy autumn for you northern hemisphere folks, and happy sunshine and return to warm days to you in the southern hemisphere as you head into spring !



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My bench is not busy. I must wait for the rains to solidify before I get back to scratching at the fibers of mother nature.


The swallows have left Sunny Manitoba and are heading southward once again. And once again, they have not invited me.

The Robins are returning from the north where they go to teach their young which are hatched in our yards in early spring. They will spend much of October with us, but when they disapear it will be time for gloves and warmer garb.

The Harris Sparrows, Fox Sparrows and the like will also arrive soon. Gracing us with their cheerful whistles and calls.

They too will leave in time, and the hardy little Pine Siskins, Junkos, juvinile Goldfinches, Purple Finches and such will keep us company and entertain us through our blanket of winter.

The Hummingbirds have already caught their ride on the backs of the Canada Geese that have left early.(I think it is the senior citizens of the Goose family that leave early.)


Sad to see summer go ? -- no not really, for the cold Manitoba winters are as much of me , as I am of them.

And not to have three feet of snow at Christmas, well that would just not be right -- now would it. (LOL).


Quote -- Janel.

Happy autumn for you northern hemisphere folks, and happy sunshine and return to warm days to you in the southern hemisphere as you head into spring !



Thank you Janel. And the same to all.



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  • 4 weeks later...


I hope this is not too inapropriate for this forum. There is certainly carving in this completed project. ;) :

Done in the Steampunk art genré, it is my latest effort.


The whole piece took 203 hours of work.


It contains 354 individually made components.


This one is with the doors open.


There are three clocks in the Time Tower.

The front one is blued titanium and brass.

The two side ones are brass and copper

For more pictures and info, check out my blog

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This is what I have been up to since September. The learning curve is steep as I test various color/finish approaches on test wood. Commissioned, with my own choice about a dragonfly setting, so I will not show all until the piece has been viewed and accepted by the client.


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Water: Philippine Ebony

Water lily pads and dragon fly sculpture: Boxwood (from Laos)


Base: 6 7/8 x 5 5/8 x 3/4 inches (L x W x H)

Dragonfly sculpture: Approximately 2 1/2 x 1 3/4 x 2 3/16 inches (L x W x H)


Thank you Natasha and Jim.


I will not show the whole composition until the client has the piece. The concept has the dragonfly sculpture resting on a water lily bud which has pushed up a lily pad. The sculptural part and other smaller lily pads are movable on the "water", which is a beautiful piece of Phillippine Ebony, having dark and lighter,warmer areas with rippled chatoyance. The small lily pads will create clusters or may be spread out, as an interactive and calming activity.


The scariest part is yet to occur. This is the staining process and then the finish application. I am not yet satisfied with anything, but will need to make choices sometime soon. I have some final carving and surface preparation to attend to, while testing the methods of staining and finishes. There will be one or more small elements to inlay/onlay to the sculptural part.


So much carving time, and the last steps could make or cause failure to the piece. Why do I feel so much like a beginner? I never seem to know what I am getting myself into when I begin a new piece, it seems! The whole project has been challenging and enjoyable at the same time.



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Janel, I know that scary finishing bit so well. It's such a different change-up whether it's wood or metal. I'm sure you'll pull it off as you always have. As my neighbor Cal said last winter after he sunk a wheel plowing my drive, "We've seen it before and we're not afraid".


Here's a little teaser for my current busy bench:



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Yeah.. kinda small.. :unsure: Carved boars tusk bracket fungus inlays.. carved.. stained, recarved, stained, recarved, stained, recarved and stained again to produce ring effect.


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Beautiful looking Tsuba from what I could see. What tools do you use to do this. Hand tools? Motorized? I have been considering doing a Tsuba . What kind of metal do you use. I made and carved one in brass for a Tanto I made. It was just a relief carving with nothing inset.


Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks Don. I'm still working on some details on it and will post the finished piece when it's done, along with lots of details about process.


It's wrought iron from a dismantled mill in Maine, forged for me by Dereck Glaser a friend of Don Fogg.


Once I received the forged billet, my tools used include: belt grinder, sand-blaster, jeweler's saw, files, drill press, riffler files, needle files, scrapers, die makers' polishing stones, sand-paper, rotary polishing wheels & burrs, palm gravers, Lindsay AirGraver, hammer & chisel, chasing punches, texture punches.......hmm, think that's it. Clay based rust patina (more to follow)



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I have an old tire iron made for a wagon wheel. Would that metal work for a Tsuba? Don't know much about different metals. I know I could make one from steel, but not sure about the content of the tire iron..

Thanks for the info on tools. On the one I made from brass I used a graver I bought years ago from Brownells.


I use a Dremel tool with carbide burrs to rough out my Antler carvings and then go to hand tools for the detail work. Seems to work well for me.


Again, thanks for sharing both the picture and the how to info.


Here's my latest project. It is the cover of a fish box in the "sneak boat" I built for my son in law's christmas present.


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Don, I believe that wagon tires are wrought iron, which varies a lot apparently in fibrous slag distribution. I would file or grind a surface on the piece to see if it looks fairly homogenous, without a lot of gaps or porosity. You can check if it's wrought by a spark test: SPARK TEST


Mild steel will be more predictable, but not as interesting.


That's a cool present for your son-in-law!



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Jim & Don


Iron wagon tyres from the early 20th century and earlier were usually made of wrought iron. The grain should be visible, much like wood grain, if the tyre has been exposed to the elements for any length of time. However, the iron that was used for tyres was usually an inferior quality, with many slag inclusions. If you have access to a coal forge, and a bit of time, it is possible to refine poor quality iron be heating it to a yellow-white heat and drawing it out. This forces out much of the slag, and tends to weld together any flaws, or at least make them less visible. I have some very nice wrought iron that I prepared this way from an old tyre, as well as a small axe, made with a piece of a file forge-welded into the edge.


There is a company in the UK that is producing new wrought iron from recycled material: here


It is a beautiful material to work with, much more friendly than mild steel, but can be tempermental.


BTW, beautiful work, Jim. I look forward to seeing the rest.



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Lovely box Ed. Thanks for sharing.

Also, please note the pinned topic on photo sizing in Photography. Thanks


Thanks for the comment and info on wrought Phil. Also thanks very much for the link to Real Wrought Iron. I had seen Chris Topp's site a few years back but had lost track. The piece that Dereck sent me was indeed a pleasure to work, and had just the right amount of grain for my taste. A little hard on saw blades and saw tracking, but a joy to file, chase and engrave.





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My Dino War Machine. This is going to be a carved, cast, and fabricated project that will develop into the ultimate fighting machine the world has ever seen


The templates were made and attached while the scream of incoming shells filled our ears.

The noise was painful.


The loco legs were filled out and the evil motion feet were filed and fabricated and fitted.

All the while the blundering cannons were roaring, spewing out death and destruction against our enemy.


Do not be misled by the simplicity of the picture. The aquisition head and the tail are under secret construction.

The chest plate has been fitted, and is ready to accept the laser cannons and the plasma shield generators


The spine armour plate is also in place and is ready to accept the phased array of syncro conducing replicators.

These are the power generators of this machine, once it is finished being crafted by my hands I will declare it fully born and released to save this world from the forces of evil and destruction.

Watch this space on a computer near you.

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Finally, carved out ( :P ) a small bench space in one of the storerooms. Got most of the basics in place.



Still looking for space for the second scope (on the floor) and the new guillotine shear. That's the black coral hanging off the Foredom (yes Clive, it's the red kind).




Working on a deco inspired malolo (flying fish).





Aloha Hans,


Just caught your post. Man, that's crazzzy! I'm getting mental images of blast marks on the walls of your shop. :unsure: So, when do you go kinetic?




p.s. Talk to you soon.

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