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what size / type of wood to use.

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  • #16
    You might try a class with someone like Vic Hood or Jeff Phares. I took a 5 day class with Vic in September and paid $60 for a 16"tall x 13" wide blank of green Butternut. I carved a sailor, but most were carving Native Americans in the class. With green wood, you can expect some cracking to occur, but his finishing process helps somewhat. He does several coats of BLO thinned with mineral spirits that soak in to the wood. Then several coats of lacquer and finally paste wax to give it a matte finish. Here is a picture of the blank I started with. We kept them in garbage bags cinched up around the bottom to keep them from drying out too quickly and cracking more as we carved. You can see my finished carving posted here.
    Last edited by mpounders; 11-09-2018, 08:41 AM.
    'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"

    http://mikepounders.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-...61450667252958
    http://centralarkansaswoodcarvers.blogspot.com/

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    • #17
      Originally posted by drhandrich View Post
      Arthur, would brushing on a layer of melted paraffin at the end of each carving session , stop the splitting early on?
      Denny, I think Mike Pounders addressed this, and Robson Valley may also, as he has in the past. This is not an area of expertise for me, so I'll defer to those more experienced in dealing with the problem.
      Arthur

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      • #18
        mike, that is some excellant suggestions/ tips , glad you told me about them.
        i think i have had enough dumb luck lately that several of my carvings have turned out as i hoped. that is why i am eager to try my hand at a bust. but i wanna do the realistic style, not caricature.
        Denny

        photos at........ http://wiscoden.jimdo.com/

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        • #19
          For reasons which I do not yet understand, many if not most First Nations masks in the Pacific Northwest are carved from Alder.
          It holds good detail but goes from cheese to bone as it dries. I have heard and seen explosive 3/4" cracking in my own carving starts.

          Some carvers hold their alder work in a water tank.
          Some carvers keep their alder carvings in plastic bags with wet chips or wet kitchen sponges.

          I have never gone back to try any of these preservative processes.
          It appears that the water loss is so slow that the mask can be carved, thinly, and dried without cracking.
          All my stash of alder cracked really badly from end to end (24") so I gave up on that stuff.

          The cracks in western red cedar are never very big (1/16" or less) so I just carve right through them like everybody else does.

          Find a cedar "shake" mill and see if you can buy a cedar block.
          I expect it to be 24" tall and maybe 12" x 8".
          Brian T

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          • #20
            Jeff Phares carves American Indians and cowboy bust...almost of his work is 8inch by 8 inches approximately 14 to 16 inches long. I agree that this is a great size to carve with. As you do not want something to small. He also carves half relief ....4 inches thick 8inch long and 14 to 16 inches long. This size is for the headdress, head and neck and partial bust with some kind of cloth or jewelry necklace. Alot of his work is basswood, butternut and cottonwood bark. Jeff not only teaches classes ....his book Carving the Human Face is pretty good for details.
            Last edited by Dileon; 11-09-2018, 01:21 PM.

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            • #21
              In Vic's class, I used one of his work holders. But the guy next to me was using a Jaw Horse, with a carving arm and a carving screw. He said that was what Jeff Phares had recommended in a class he went to. Since I had previous purchased a Jaw Horse clone at Tractor Supply for about $12 and I already had an old carving screw, I built me an arm and that was what I used to finish this off after the class. It worked well, was sturdy and I was able to adjust for carving while sitting and standing.
              'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"

              http://mikepounders.weebly.com/
              https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-...61450667252958
              http://centralarkansaswoodcarvers.blogspot.com/

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              • #22
                looks like a good plan there mike, i need to get something like that.. thanks Dileon for the tips ! i checked locally for the shingle mill, but it went out of business long ago, none nearby to replace it, but i left notes at the sawmill and they will find me some good stuff.
                Denny

                photos at........ http://wiscoden.jimdo.com/

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