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Leaf & Snail


Janel

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My bench has seen me, finally. I've begun carving after all the goings on of this autumn season. It feels good to be back at it. With the wonerful works being posted lately, I'm a little shy about presenting this simple piece. It is not yet completed. The wood is Pink Ivory.

 

 

383pinkivory_w.jpg

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Guest ford hallam

Morning Janel,

 

i don`t think anyone should be shy of presenting an unassuming piece of work like this at all. It appears to me to be quite confidant and has no need to "be" anything more than it is. And that is a very satisfying, apparently tactile, and intelligent carving. That pink ivory is an amazing material, what does it work like?

 

Thanks for that, Ford :D

 

What size is your pink leaf?

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Thank you, Ford, and good morning! It is still dark here, and quiet about the house.

 

The leaf, unmeasured as of yet, is about 2.5 inches in length. The wood is quite hard, with an unpredictable nature. The piece seems to be from a burly area with a branch inclusion and shifting grain. The remainder of the piece of wood has a bit of the growth ring area showing. It is interesting to work a wood with so much personality.

 

I've discovered a thick leather strop which I aquired decades ago with a set of kitchen knives, and am trying that for touching up the tools as the wood dulls the cutting/scraping edges. The leather's more knappy surface was charged with a glinting powder (decades ago), the other, less knappy side I have rubbed the stick of honing compound on it. So far it has been helpful at producing or maintaining a sharp edge. I still wonder though about the thickness and give of the leather causing a rounding of the tool's surface over time. Any tips for use would be appreciated. (I never received hands on instruction about this technique. Perhaps we all learn by osmosis, feel the Force and find the way!)

 

Janel

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Janel,

 

I think sharpening chisels and the like is made a bit over complicated at times. Before you begin, the potential of the tool is established by the actual angles of the cutting faces. This, of course, is dictated by the material to be cut and I would suggest, to a certain extent by the shape of the tool. For instance, a scraping tool will judder ( tech` term ) if the tool is too thin, not a great example perhaps but you probably get the idea.

 

Actual sharpening is simply the process of creating an accurate, and smooth interface of 2 or more planes. While shaping these planes, steel molecules are effectively rubbed up and over the edge, thus creating the burr, once all the planes have been honed through that point the burr ought to be removed as it can interfere with the cutting action. Also, to create a slightly more resiliant cutting edge it is in effect actually minutely blunted by the stropping action.

 

I may be wrong but I get the impression that you periodically strop your chisels while working, perhaps this will dull the edge over the course of the day. From my experience stropping is something that you do after you`ve actually sharpened the tool on a stone. As I mentioned earlier ( on another thread ), in the jewellery trade I was taught to simply stab the side of the bench ( only if wood ) to remove the burr, after sharpening a graver. I rarely, if ever feel the need to strop but will touch the edge to the stone whenever I feel it is not biting as I expect.

 

I don`t know if any of this is of any help but perhaps it might stimulate an exploration of the process for everyone on the forum. I`m pretty certain there are all sorts of variations on the theme. B)

 

as always,

 

Ford B)

 

p.s. looks as though I`ve made it as clear as mud, 2 minutes to demonstrate and half an hour to write about it. :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you all. Yes, Jim, the brown/snail is a branch inclusion that went pretty much in the right direction to be used as it was. I have to get the dimensions and description added to the forthcoming web page, then you all can see other sides of the piece when it is uploaded to my site. I'll put an image on my home page when all the pages are linked and updated...and a link/note here.

 

Shucks, I'll add another here, it will be a little while before the pages are updated.

 

384_2.jpg

 

 

It has himotoshi, and could function as a netsuke, but won't likely, because I've added a delicate element with the stem...

 

 

I chose to simplify the detail of the veins, to allow the wood to prevail when being looked at. There is so much character with a subtle chatoyance and shifting of grain, that any more definition would have complicated the view. IMO.

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Nice one, Janel! Wish I could fondle it in person.

 

About the stropping rounding the edges - it will over time, since the strop is charged with abrasive and is flexible. That's the reason the edge eventually stops working correctly. All stropping really does is abrade away the wire edge produced by sharpening and produces a finer edge, and slightly restores the edge in between the sharpenings. It will only keep the tool going for a while until the edge angles become too steep for good carving, then you have to revisit the sharpening stones and re-establish the proper angles.

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