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Cottonwood bark treehouse

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  • #16
    Those are just too cool! I started carving bark in the last 6 months, and it is a blast. It is however, a very filthy enterprise, and i have purchased a couple of .50 paring knives I have re-purposed into my bark carving knives. My good tools don't hit the bark until i get down past where there could be bad stuff!

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    • #17
      Hi Jim
      Well you got a real fine look to the ones you have done, And with stocks on hand you will be busy for some time. Be sure to post them all as I will enjoy having a good look at them. Happy carving!!!!! I posted a piece on how to make boring stuff look good to see if that might change your mind about getting the wood lathe you were thinking of getting. Hope it is of some use to you. Looking forward to seeing the gnome multi story project. Can you post some progress photos??

      Cheers
      Glenn

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Glenn Jennings View Post
        Hi Jim
        Well you got a real fine look to the ones you have done, And with stocks on hand you will be busy for some time. Be sure to post them all as I will enjoy having a good look at them. Happy carving!!!!! I posted a piece on how to make boring stuff look good to see if that might change your mind about getting the wood lathe you were thinking of getting. Hope it is of some use to you. Looking forward to seeing the gnome multi story project. Can you post some progress photos??

        Cheers
        Glenn
        Hi, Glenn

        Where did you post the piece about making round stuff look not boring?

        I actually mis-spoke when I said that I don't own a lathe. I forgot that somebody gave me an old Harbor Freight 10-20 lathe a few years ago. I put it up on the bench last week. It needs a belt, and I need to replace the switch. Then I need to figure out if it's worthwhile keeping or if I should spring for a decent midi lathe with electronic speed control and all the other modern conveniences. Not sure I want to mess with trying to recondition a 30 year old lathe that wasn't particularly good even when new.

        I'll post some progress pictures on the multi-story project.

        Jim

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        • #19
          Originally posted by tbox61 View Post
          Those are just too cool! I started carving bark in the last 6 months, and it is a blast. It is however, a very filthy enterprise, and i have purchased a couple of .50 paring knives I have re-purposed into my bark carving knives. My good tools don't hit the bark until i get down past where there could be bad stuff!
          Filthy enterprise is right. You should see the mess you can make with a power carver on bark.

          I have a roughing knife that I use specifically for doing the initial cuts in bark, and another I use for rough shaping. Don't kid yourself: there can be, and is, "bad stuff" all the way down through the bark. I've run into some good sized grains 1/4 inch or so that were buried an inch inside. Even carving the inner sections dulls tools. Lots of bad stuff throughout. I've found it especially hard on my detail knife, and I ruined a micro gouge on a piece a few years back. Of course, those micro tools are really fragile. My solution was to learn how to carve the stuff without needing the micro tools.

          But for all its drawbacks, cottonwood bark is just fun to carve. If it requires a little more work maintaining my tools, so be it.

          Jim
          Last edited by jmischel; 07-09-2020, 11:52 AM.

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          • #20
            Yes, you have to keep strop handier
            . . .JoeB

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            • #21
              Hi Jim

              I put it in "New projects and works in progress." under the heading below on page 2 . Was a dead boring piece of wood except for a tiny bit of burl. haveing dug down to get to the burl I turned it into a small bowl like your knot bowls.

              The artwork I threw at it to make it interesting could be applied to any project.

              Am in the process of doing a 3 piece laminate bowl that I hope to fit a bald eagle carved in contrasting wood to. Will be golden colour top and bottom with dark brown blackwood in the middle with the eagle made of Kahikatea which is a bit like basswood to look at. Should make for an interesting piece. The blackwood has a crack through to the centre of it that had rotted out a little so have had to work a fix on that by cutting and gluing a piece in. Will use the eagle and maybe some other artwork to hide the worst of the fix. Was just too nice a piece of grain wood to throw away.

              My new lathe is just belt drive and it doesn't take long to change speed. As long as the bearings are all good on your old lathe it might turn out to be just fine. Looking forward to your next item post!!!!

              Cheers
              Glenn
              Last edited by Glenn Jennings; 07-15-2020, 01:41 AM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by jmischel View Post

                I actually mis-spoke when I said that I don't own a lathe. I forgot that somebody gave me an old Harbor Freight 10-20 lathe a few years ago. I put it up on the bench last week. It needs a belt, and I need to replace the switch. . . .
                Jim , you may not need to replace the switch. Assuming it's the same as mine, just take out the mounting screws and disassemble. It gets clogged with sawdust, but works fine when cleaned. When remounting, put a flap of clear plastic under the upper screw so that it drapes over the toggle. It will keep out the sawdust.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by pallin View Post

                  Jim , you may not need to replace the switch. Assuming it's the same as mine, just take out the mounting screws and disassemble. It gets clogged with sawdust, but works fine when cleaned. When remounting, put a flap of clear plastic under the upper screw so that it drapes over the toggle. It will keep out the sawdust.
                  Interesting. Yeah, it's pretty sticky. I'll see if I can clean the switch. Good idea on the dust protection.

                  How do you like that lathe? Most people I've talked to online say that I should "get a real lathe," but a few seem to think it's a usable piece of equipment. I really have no need to spend $1,000 on a new midi lathe right now if this one will get me started with simple things.

                  Jim

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                  • #24
                    Nice work Jim!
                    https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodforddellDesigns

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                    • #25
                      Jim - The Harbor Freight lathe is okay for what I do. First, I bolted it securely to a strong bench. Then I fitted it with a Nova chuck. I have used it to turn plate blanks for chip carving and a few bowls.

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                      • #26
                        Glenn: The Australian forum has some posts about cottonwood bark in AU.
                        https://www.woodworkforums.com/f10/c...ottonwood+bark I can't find the p-ost at the moment, but someone on the AU forum found some cottonwood along a small stream and got some great bark off of a downed tree.
                        My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/

                        My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

                        My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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                        • #27
                          Hi Claude thanks for that mate. If I was able to find some I probably wouldn't be allowed to import it as our customs are paranoid on diseases getting in and ruining our farming and horticulture industries. The bark being thick and porous would probably be seen as a microbe time bomb by our customs people. It would have to be chemically nuked to even have a hope of getting into the country.

                          Cheers
                          Glenn

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