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Finish for Kolrosing + Chip Carving

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  • Finish for Kolrosing + Chip Carving

    I've been chip carving for a while now, and I've always finished with a stain, either oil or gel. As I start to learn kolrosing, I'm looking to incorporate that technique into my chip carvings rather than on its own. However, this raises the question of how to finish. Kolrosing is typically (as far as I can tell) done on its own - do the incising, add the colorant, then oil...done. With chip carving, I use sanding sealer after carving, then whatever stain I'm going to use. So if I have a piece with both kolrosing and chip carving, how should I finish it?

    Thoughts I have:
    1. Oil the whole thing with the oil I'd use for kolrosing and hope it's fine.
    2. Use the oil stain in lieu of the other oil I'd use for kolrosing.
    3. Use the sanding sealer instead of the oil, basically treating it like a normal chip carving project.
    4. Somehow finish the two components differently and hope I can blend the finishes.

    One thing I like about using sanding sealer is that it seems to make the wood harder. Basswood is obviously quite soft and easily dented/dinged, so the sanding sealer helps make it tougher and (I assume) last longer in good condition, especially for delicate areas of chip carving.

  • #2
    I was under the impression you just brush the powder/medium--walnut powder, coffee grounds, etc. onto the sealed/carved wood and work into the crevices and wipe/brush off. And the sealer/polyurethane was applied after.

    Bob L


    • #3
      So then what you're suggesting, Bob, would be to do the chip carving, basically do my normal finish there (sans top coat), then do the kolrosing and coordinating finish that way. Is that right? I don't think it would quite work, at least as I've laid out. I know that there needs to be some kind of oil involved after applying the colorant, otherwise it doesn't really show up very well.


      • #4
        The addition of color to chip carving or kolrosing is to bring out the pattern from the rather plain background. I like the control that gel stain or fine ground coffee gives to the process, especially preceded with a sanding sealer. Chip carving produces a lot of cut edges that can wick the color into raw grain. It is a good idea to experiment with various techniques.


        • #5
          I think Pallin has the right idea. Try a piece of scrap with some practice chip carving. Doesn't have to be elaborate. Just something to try out your ideas.

          My post was more or less confirming what I thought.

          Oil may be the way to go. Best to try it out on a practice piece first to get the technique down and to see if iy will give you the end result you want.

          Bob L


          • #6
            Here's a couple photos of the finished product. I ended up just using walnut oil on the bare basswood after rubbing ground cinnamon all over the whole thing. I was really surprised at how much the walnut oil brought out the grain compared to the oil-based stain I use. Overall, though, I'm pleased with the results. With how fine the border design, I wasn't able to get the kolrosing knife very deep, so I was uncertain on how well the design would show up, but it looks just fine. (Well, the finish looks just fine anyway. This was my first kolrosing project, so I obviously have much practice to go with that still.) I've wanted to learn kolrosing for a while now, though, to be able to complement my chip carving with it, and I think this did so very nicely.

            (For context on the project, this is the top of a box. Each side of the box has one of the words "PEACE," "HOPE," "JOY," "LOVE" on the same banner design as the top here. That way the box itself forms a sort of Nativity wreath, where there would typically be a candle for each word/idea. It will hold a set of Nativity figures I carved last year.)


            • #7
              That's a really nice piece TD. I really like the way the figures are shaped up with the chip carving. Thumbs up!



              • #8
                TennsDog !!!!! Wow, those are stunning. Thanks for sharing. The border really sets the whole carving off. I really like it.