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In praise of tool marks


D.W.

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I was just reading another topic, and the poster touched upon something that has been on my mind for some time: tool marks. Do you eradicate them totally? Polish them perfectly? What are the pros and cons of tool marks?

I'll briefly relate to you a little story. Recently I've been carving various motifs and initials on discs of MOP about 2" across. I did two of them for a friend of mine to choose one from. She picked the crappier of the two and in surprise I asked why she had chosen the one she did. She told me that she could tell, "by the roughness" that the one she had picked was handmade, and thought the other looked "store bought"(a mighty compliment to me I thought :D )

I'm really interested in what others might have to say on this topic. Do you polish in the nooks and( hard to get at) crannies where no-one can see? Or do you take a different stand?

I've heard that an artist( I don't consider myself an artist. I'll allow 'craftsman'. sounds like another topic for discussion) never finishes a piece, they just abandon it.

Cheers to all, and I hope it's warmer than -20 degrees Celsius where you are.

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d.w.if you look at my gemstone carvings on here and on my website you will see plenty of tool marks.that lets my customers know that they are hand done and not like a lot of carvings that are pressed plastic.i try to put a fair polish on the flowers and jewelry type carvings but they still have some marks on them.the figurines are only taken through 600 grit sanding with rubber bonded cratex wheels and points.i have never had a customer say anything against the tool marks,and my carvings are certainly not cheap.i live in the mountains of north carolina where there are a lot of craft shops that handle a lot of wood carvings.i don't know how they are now but when i did some wood carvings in the early 6o's the shops wanted some knife marks on the carvings.best regards,kenneth neaves

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Cheers to all, and I hope it's warmer than -20 degrees Celsius where you are.

 

Hi DW, It was your last line that caused this reply. We here in the Southern Hemispher are at an opposite temp rating to you folks. Many is the day lately that I have pulled out my portable workbench, and parked it under the plum tree in the cool. Generally we are having about 25-30 degree celsius. That and extreem hmidity makes my small work shed a tad on the warm side.

 

As to wether or not I leave tool marks. I do tend to make my bits a smooth as possible as people remark on the tactillity of the stones. I basically work with Argillite, and a final polish of around 800-1200 seems adequate. Of course, people can tell that my pieces are hand/home made by their quality and design. I've had a couple of weekend courses with Sam Wilkinson from Hastings over the last 2 years, mainly to see how "REAL" carvers do things. Cheers Colin

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  • 3 months later...

The Great Cabinet Maker, James Krenov discussed this more than once in his Writings.

 

I would heartily recommend that anyone with any interest in Wood; or Craft; or Art; or Philosophy to check out his Writings.

 

But he considered himself a Master of the Planes.....

 

And he said that expertly Planed wood will look smooth, but to the Connoisseur's Discriminating touch, they will feel like a Gem with innumerable tiny Facets.

 

He said that too much Sanding would spoil this feature, and leave something only marginally better than the crude Ham-Handed fellow who vigorously Machine Sanded everything.

 

.....RVM45 B):blink:B)

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I'll allow 'craftsman'. sounds like another topic for discussion) never finishes a piece' date=' they just abandon it. [/quote']

I like it.... it is exactly how I feel when I say "Done" before stopping working on a carving (or whatever handcraft). It often sounds like a "I'm done" more than a "It's done".

As I am (I guess) at the origin of the remark you are talking about, I am indeed quite interested in your answers. I am not a professional, even barely a beginner in carving but I think it depends on which piece you are working on. It maybe is a matter of "soul" you want to put (not the right word sorry) in you work.

Most of the customers will like, for sure, these little scratches and impacts, they reveal the time and sweat the craftsman spent on it. It gives a kind of handmade and unique identity to the carving. but it will not be the same for jewelers (for example)... things they will create will have to be perfectly finished most of the time. I can't imagine myself buying a ring because it still has tool marks from when the guy removed the extra soldering metal.

It is a matter of soul and feeling. It really depends on the piece I am working on. Sometimes I think "I could have done a better job", but would really the piece be better looking and still keep her soul... I don't know. It just can make her "tasteless"... To finish this, tool marks should be left by intention and not laziness, they are part of the identity of your piece.

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