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My Latest Spoon Carvings


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Hello everyone at TCP,


It has been quite a while since I have made a post to the forum. I am attaching some images of recently "completed" work I submitted to a weekend artshow at my workplace (a natural history museum). This artshow is an annual fundraiser that is coordinated by a group of volunteers which then, in turn, use the funds to support museum operations and programs.


I rushed to finish these pieces in time for the art submittal, thus the level of "completeness". I would have loved to spend more time on finishing, but patience seems one quality I need to develop, perhaps in retirement.


The light colored piece is from lemonwood, about 13 cm length. It started out as a spoon with a simple twist, but when I encountered the little black knot that looked like an eye, it became a stylized squid.


The larger piece about 25 cm long is made of toyon wood, a favorite carving wood of mine that scrapes well. Here is where I wished I had spent more time and had more patience. I found the interior spaces difficult to access and sand. I used strips of sandpaper about 1/8 inch wide by 3 inches threaded between tentacles and moved back an forth. If anyone wishes to share techniques for getting at these deeper interior spaces I would be grateful.


The eye of the squid is made from tagua nut with the interior pupil made of epoxy impregnated with a metal flake that I mixed up.


Thanks for letting me share.post-2813-0-88525900-1319814499.jpgpost-2813-0-89502600-1319814519.jpgpost-2813-0-20868200-1319814547.jpgpost-2813-0-80199000-1319814570.jpgpost-2813-0-44433000-1319814587.jpg

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Hi Gary,


The octopus is an ambitious subject! It is a real treat to see what you are doing.


Cornel Schneider shared a trick with me. Somewhere on this forum I may have mentioned using toothpicks with bits of sandpaper glued to the ends... I cut a diagonal face towards both ends of round toothpicks, many of them. I color code the toothpicks with colored markers, to match the markings on the small rectangles (about 1 x 1.25 inches) of various grits of sandpapers (wet/dry) that I have on hand for sanding needs while carving. For the toothpick tools, I cut really tiny rectangles or squares and then glue these onto the ends of the toothpicks. I use old film containers to stand the groups of picks up. Nowadays those containers might be hard to find. The little bits of sandpaper wear out fairly quickly, but they do get into the spaces that are hard to reach, well more places than the larger pieces of paper.


I also use a slender bamboo strip (various widths from 1.5 mm to 1/4 inch) to roll or fold the ~1" rectangles around to support the paper in some hard to reach places.


You can reuse the toothpicks by popping off the old paper, maybe even cutting off the glue. It is a kind of tool preparation meditation. The same for when all of the cutting tools get sharpened. It is just something that needs to be done, and it makes the creative process flow better when it is all done.



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Gary, in THIS thread you can see a tool I use on both wood and metal. It is very short with a palm handle. It's inflexible, unlike thin scrapers, so there is less chatter. It can be used as a knife, graver and scraper and with the palm handle is one of those tools that feels as though it grew from your hand. If the face size was reduced it would be easier to reach into deeper areas.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you Janel and Jim for those suggestions. We have a forecast for rain here, which to me sounds like a good day to meditatively prepare toothpick sanders that Janel mentions. A palm operated tool as Jim describes sounds much easier on my hands. It is getting more difficult for me to use a tool in a pencil grip and it seems more steady to use the palm to be the driver and fingers do the guiding of the tool, whether that be a scraper or chisel.

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