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  • drhandrich
    started a topic what size / type of wood to use.

    what size / type of wood to use.

    im sure you guys can help me out with this one. I would like to do a full size full round carve , mallet and gouge, of a native american indian. maybe also , mountain man. what kind and size of wood to do for a bust carving , neck up... do i try for an 8 x 8 ? or a 6 x 6 block? whats common? i have never tried one before,. i notice others occasionally but seem to think theyre quite small. those guys seldom ever show a pic with a relative item nearby to tell the size of the carve. a close up of a 2 x 2 can look like a 10 x 10
    i dont care to glue up to do it. should it be hard hardwood ? or is the basswood most used for this? i know these seem like simpleton questions , but i have no experience with figureing this one out.
    this one could turn out like some of my other simple questions, that so many do like to offer their thoughts on the matter. so..... ???

  • drhandrich
    replied
    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.

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  • mpounders
    replied
    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.

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  • Dileon
    replied
    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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  • Robson Valley
    replied
    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".

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  • drhandrich
    replied
    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.

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  • Arthur C.
    replied
    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.

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  • mpounders
    replied
    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.

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  • drhandrich
    replied
    Arthur, would brushing on a layer of melted paraffin at the end of each carving session , stop the splitting early on?

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  • drhandrich
    replied
    youre right, that is a good link for roughouts. there are a couple there i would like to try. should go for a simpler one first time out.
    and i should be able to get some red cedar here in NE wisconsin too, plenty around.
    splitting, is there a work around to it? i know chainsaw carvers run a deep plunge cut up the backside to equalize things, wouldnt do for a full round mallet carve.
    thanks.

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  • papasar
    replied
    You mentioned Native Americans and mountainmen - Here is a great source


    http://www.stumartinwoodcarving.com/roughouts.html

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  • Arthur C.
    replied
    A couple of thoughts...if you're thinking of buying a log from a sawmill, are you aware of the potential pitfalls of carving green wood (checking, end splits)? Regarding roughouts, I don't know your budget, and I've never used one, but from what I've seen roughouts are expensive. If you're going to paint the finished carving, I wouldn't reject a glue-up for a full size bust because of the cost, a stain job will show the different pieces making up the block. If you do go with basswood, however, you can order the size block you need from Heinecke.

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  • Sam
    replied
    I would go to the sawmill you mentioned and get a cedar log, red cedar would look the best when finished. 12-14" in diameter as tall as you want it to be - 20" maybe. The cedar will carve very nice with your gouges. Get a longer log and you'll be able to do a couple of them.

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  • Steve Reed
    replied
    Originally posted by drhandrich View Post
    now i have some research to continue with , with the help of some good leads, thankyou. and i forgot to mention , that as a retirement gift to me i have bought some swiss made gouges, sharper than razor, and think these might just handle hard harwood quite nicely. if thats the way it turns out.. , and a big roughout is a pretty good option for me , do you happen to have a link or two? i will be gone for a few days but am eager to dive into this next project.
    Look for Moore roughouts on the web. Also a lot of the well known carvers have roughouts for sale, i.e. Floyd Rhadigan, Steve Brown and others.
    Steve

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  • drhandrich
    replied
    wow, i looked at the one minute video of it, and a following youtube started itself after that, the haida gwaii , interesting stuff for sure.

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