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Greetings


rales

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I've been lurking around like a voyeur for a few weeks and I'm getting tired of not being able to communicate with you. First off, let me say that I am humbled and amazed at the talent and expertise that abounds here! I have long had an interest in Netsuke and small scale sculpture and I think I've found the place and the people to help me learn more about it...

 

My name is Rick and my work and craft are at the other end of the spectrum, size wise, from ya'll - sign & architectural carving & design mainly in the restaurant & pub industry (lots of pubs!). I work mainly with breweries and designers in the beverage end of things... Guinness and Molson are two of the biggies. Most of my carving has a definate antique bend to it - all hand carved and made to look like it's been around for ages - not CNC mass produced. The Irish Pub business has been booming for years and I have many pieces (lots of Coffin/Tap Boxes) in pubs around the country and world.

 

My background as an artist however is what has led me here. I was a printmaking and drawing major in college and worked as an illustrator while playing the starving artist/printmaker on the side (a little woodcut and engraving in there too)... Marriage/family forced me more and more into the commercial end of printmaking silkscreening, signage and gradually more carving.

 

I have always loved looking at the world through an artists eyes and I see that same vision in you guys - while at the same time the incredible technical knowledge to make it happen! I can't wait to try some of this stuff... (my wife is shaking her head at how many new toys I'll need) My tools for the most part are just a touch out of scale and I have avoided getting too much into the power end of things... I might need to re-think that.

 

So get ready for lots of stupid questions and please don't mind me if I open up old threads when something newer has been posted...at the same time I'll be happy to share any knowledge I have picked up over the years that might apply.

 

That is the major strength of this forum - so many different diciplines coming together to create beauty! Very cool!

 

I don't have a website as such since all my stuff is done for the trades - but you can see some pics at http://www.picturetrail.com/rales

 

Rick

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Welcome! Ask away, and yes, do bring up old threads with new questions. That shows that you are doing your homework, by reading the past year's worth of contributions. (TCP just turned one year old this month.)

 

Now, just get some Dockyard tools and hard fine-grained wood and carve one of those geese in 3D and you will be off and away!

 

Thanks for the link to the albums. It is good to see the work of the members. We don't all have day jobs that already have trained us in the techniques of carving. You are ahead of the game, and with your desire, you will have a good time with the smaller scale carving.

 

Again, welcome, and thanks for your introduction.

 

Janel

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Hi Rick,

It's amazing what beautiful you do in foam. The process photos are really informative. I use foam to make the basic form for bronzes. I carve the foam with "Foam Factory" tools Then cover the foam with clay. Keeps the weight down. Thanks for sharing your work. This is a great spot to learn.

Dick

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Thanks All!

 

Doug - Lots & lots of research goes into those things... it's a lousy job but someone has to do it...

 

Janel - I had a bunch of Dockyards I ended up selling... wasn't using them much.. *sigh* Most of the carving I do is mahogany, oak, basswood and maple... none of which seems very suited to small stuff other than the bass - which takes great detail but can get fuzzy at times... what else besides boxwood and yew would you recommend? It almost seems you need power to get the detail...

 

Dick - HDU or High Density Urethane has pretty much taken the place of redwood in the sign industry (thank God!) It won't warp, rot, check, waterproof and chemically resistant comes in 5'x10'x(?) sheets (no glue ups) and can be finished to look like anything you want. That cross - 6' x 2.5' x 6" weighs about 20 lbs... check out http://www.signfoam.com

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Rick, take a look through past threads in the Materials section- I think there are quite a few about wood choice... I wouldn't say that you need power for detail. On the contrary, I use power for the coarse carving and hand tools for the detail. Choice is up to you. :o

 

Besides boxwood and yew (as far as netsuke go, yew is mostly reserved for a certain 'school' of carving called ichii-ittobori, google it for some examples) if you want to stick to North American woods, any of the Prunus (stone fruit) woods will do such as plum and cherry. In my experience, the density of cherry can vary greatly. Don't get discouraged if you just find wide-growth ringed, soft stuff.

 

Have a look at the websites of people on the list. I think most mention the wood used in particular projects.

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Hi Rick,

 

I was half serious about Dockyard, they happened to be the first of the tiny tools that I purchased. I've got many other sorts of tools that are used much more now, the kind, size and number grows as time passes and experience is gained.

 

As with Doug, I use power to get the big part of the waste wood away, but with the good machine, (NSK Electer E-max) the steady, centered rotation is more reliable and I can get in a little closer than before. That is the first day, the rest of the weeks are with hand tools.

 

Doug is right, have a look at web sites to see what sorts of wood we use. I list what I use on each carving's page.

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Thanks all for your recomendations...

 

I did dig out some old straight mahogany I've had in a scrap box... I'll try that first...

 

In pouring over the threads - these are my needs/wants?

 

Here's what I have:

Tool wise, I have a very good selection of large and small chisels and gouges - but not quite down to the dockyard sizes... A pretty extensive set of dental carving tools - that I use as scrapers - these probably need to be sharpened up a bit. Also - I dug out my old wood engraving gravers... wow - these seem really long to me - like 4+ inches on the blade - maybe 5" overall... to long? Seems like the business end should be just off your thumb and forefinger... guess my fingers are just getting shorter.

 

My father-in-law was a dentist... and I have an old bench drill (the belt driven articulating arm kind) that I would love to convert to to a flexible shaft (any recommendations here would be apprecitated)... it's a good motor - 45K rpm and reversible. I also have all his old burrs, sanding discs etc. I might be in the market for something else... NSK is out of my league at the moment but if I needed one micro power tool what would you recommend? Foredom, Mastercarver,Turbocarver? I do have a compressor and air capability.

 

Real Needs (not the top of the line at this point):

1) a small, flexible, holding device/vise - recommendations?

2) dust removal - I currently use a good shopvac system - but something less noisy would be great...

3) Magnification - I have the standard 2x Luxor magnifiying lamp - or my reading/carving glasses - recommedations?

 

I'm sure I'll have more questions - thanks for your patience!

 

Rick

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You may try using the SEARCH function with keywords from your wish list. Dig into the older threads and ask questions from them when you don't find a full answer. Others are welcome to answer your wish list question, but perhaps in the Tools & Technical area, in case the thread gets long on the Tool or Technical part.

 

Remember to keep your tools sharp! There was a discussion not so long ago about sharpening tools. You should be able to find that one too.

 

I use dental tools for some specific tasks, but the dental end was replaced with mini chisel ends of one sort or another, or blade ends.

 

Enjoy your search!

 

Janel

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