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More Novice Pix (And More Qtns...)


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HI David,


I find that with really hard, dense and tight grained woods, that I can continue up the grit scale with sanding paper and emery cloth, from 400, 600, 1000, 1500, 2000, then the fabric backed rubber grit (modern emery cloth?) up to 12,000. This brings a polish with shine. (example: http://janeljacobson.com/carvings/409.html) A protective finish might enhance the depth and quality of the shine. Test a separate piece of wood with the sanding regimen and various kinds of finish applications before committing the completed carving to the end treatments.


The example of the centipede piece uses a contrast of dulled wood and shiny. This may also be a technique that might work with your piece. All shiny might be too much shiny. The different effects are your pallet for working with the characteristics of the wood and sculpture.


Let us know how it works out for you, what ever you choose to do.



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This is supposed to be a panther (maybe crossed with a polar bear ... global warming!)


laugh.gif I love it!!! I admit, I thought "Wow, nice pant...bear...blink.gif"


No, really, that a nice carving, and you managed to reveal the feline spirit out of this piece of wood.

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Thank you.




I will try to find those sanding materials - but as you say maybe a high polish is not required.

I looked at your website - some remarkable work there - thanks for your guidance.




You are right - it is sapele - very, very hard wood.




i am tempted to try to slim him down - but I have already started my next piece which is based on an Alfred Durer drawing of a skeleton ridding a horse - maybe a little too ambitious.

Actually, that's another question - for a small, intricate carving (3 inches square max) which wood would you recommend?

I am going to try Lime first. Any ideas?


Again, thank you all for your input.



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Hi Dave,


Excellent carving. Cat anatomy is very subtle and you have captured it.


Type of finish used on a carving depends on what the carver wishes to express. For example, a fish might be highly polished to give a sense of being in water. Personally, the satin or low luster finish that your photos show suits a cat's fur. A high gloss finish might detract from your piece.


As Janel recommends, test some different finishes on some scrap pieces. A light coating of boiled linseed oil before a protective coating will bring out the character of the wood. For that type of wood consider trying some low luster or satin polyurethane. Also look into Tripoli buffing compound. Or just use a good paste wax as a protective coating.


If you can find a copy of John Rood's book Sculpture in Wood, there is a very good chapter on finishing. The book is out of print so look for it in a public library, in a used book store or on the internet.


Have fun carving.

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  • 4 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you Yloh.



I am still carving; still trying to improve.



My latest subject is a little bit twee – a boy reading on a pile of books based, I think, on Rodin’s Thinker masterpiece. I am using a photo of someone else’s work – an American (?) who does life size work.



Whilst it is rather common subject matter, it is my first attempt at the human form. It is proving tricky to get the proportions correct – especially the head, particularly when you need to leave it “over-sized” initially so that you can leave room for the detail.



I am using soft wood which makes for faster work – if it works out successfully, I may try Le Penseur himself in hard wood. Well, you have to set yourself challenges…








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