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Woolly Celtic Knot


Carl R.

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I am an utterly novice whittler recently bitten by a carving bug. I have been practicing by carving a celtic knot into a block of basswood, one panel to a side. I have been unable to get rid of the woolly appearance of the interstices and some of the junctions of the cord, even though I've used knives (carving knife, palm cutters, micro tools), dremel with various bits (carbide, diamond, small grinders, sanders), and needle files.

 

I have not used a denture brush, which I've seen mentioned for basswood by a figure carver. I wonder about spraying on a coat of sanding sealer or polyurethane to get some hardness to cut down the fibers. I have also wondered about a set of dental picks that I've misplaced that I'd like to sharpen and get down into the holes and crannies. I'm wondering if I shouldn't have used pear wood to start with.

 

With the marvelous and amazing productions in here I'm sure someone can give me advice.

 

Thanks,

 

Carl R.

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Hi Carl,

 

You might want to check out the who's who subforum for your first post...

Anyway, welcome around. As Janel said, sharp tools are the answer to your question especially with a soft wood like basswood, but you can also use scrapers to get a smooth finish. But then you will have to make them yourself or check out the palm scrapers made by flexcut, I don't use or own them but they are the smaller one I ever saw on the market.

 

Hope this help

 

Christophe

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Thanks Janel and Christophe. I strop as I'm carving but now I recognize that the mushing of the fibers is definitely an indication of not-sharp-enough. I have plane irons that I've gotten to shaving-sharp, I just need to do that with my little tools.

 

I'll look into the little scrapers, Christophe (and check who's who). I imagine the beautiful surfaces that you achieve, Janel, are done with blade and not sanding. I am looking forward to working through this project again. I'll post the photos here after re-working.

 

Carl R.

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Is the face of the cutting tool curved/rounded from the strop, or a flat plane? I think that a flat face or side(s) that come to a point might be more controllable. There are so many variables and nuances between tools and their uses. One becomes familiar with the attributes of each, with experience.

 

Janel

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i know what the problems is your not cuting basswood your cuting woollymamoth bone...............i kid

 

here is my thinking since all wood is fibrous because it is just a collection of hollow straw like fibers it can splinter. im not a carver(yet) but when i need to use my chisles i first seperate the fibers at the line that i want to square off by using my chisle to cut the wood at my line. i then can use my chisle to remove the bulk of the wood up to where i cut the fibers. this prevents the wood from splintering fromt he force of cuting. dont know if this idea will help you or not but you problem might me how your cuting the wood and the woolly ness is from the fact that the wood fibers are seperating and not geting cut clean.

 

http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/Main/Articles/Skill_Builder_Hand_Cut_Mortise_and_Tenons_6648.aspx

 

this might give you a idea of what im talking about

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Thanks for suggestions. Ran into serious carver at hardware store, through mutual friend, just dumb luck. He said basswood is too soft. He suggested small files but cleaning them often, especially with basswood. I tried a scraper--wood's too soft for this particular tool.

 

The key is definitely cutting stop cuts. Great site on mortise and tenons, something I want to learn. Problem with my design is the holes between the twists of cord. Difficult to clean out the ground. I tried a version of chip carving which would work much better. Or some other adjustment of design.

 

I think the exact design with pear would go much better (I cut down and cured an ornamental pear in front yard). But wood is darkr, might not contrast as much.

 

Janel, for the ground inside the holes I use a micro gouge (5mm?)? It can get into small spaces and actually produce a nice fluting on the ground, but the interior angles in the holes get chewed up with lots of work. I plan to work it with fine files and sharp sharp blades as I have time (not a lot for near future) -- just as you suggest. I think very keen edge might let me gt cleaner angles.

 

With the amazing work you do, Janel, it's a wonder you can devote so much to your craft in this site. Thanks for your attention to newbies like me.

 

Carl

 

Carl

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