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YOUR ADVICE PLEASE! How to sand/ seal lime wood?

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  • YOUR ADVICE PLEASE! How to sand/ seal lime wood?

    Hello everyone.
    I am a complete novice and have just 'completed' my first ever carving in lime wood. As I don't know anything about wood, I found it surprisingly challenging to work with the different grains in this (very grainy) bit of lime wood. In particular, the grain is very strong at the sides, which mean it is difficult to sand, and the wood is quite 'matchsticky' for carving . (I am sure that there is a technical word for it)

    I would really appreciate any advice on how to sand and smooth it to finish it, as I am finding that if I use coarser sandpaper, it can 'rip' the wood and does not make it smooth , and the finer sandpaper leaves a residue on the grain that , unfortunately, you can probably see on the bird's head and all around, which makes it look scruffy. How do I tidy it up and make it more even?

    After this, I would like to seal this in a way that brings out the grain of the wood. I don't want it to look brittle and shiny, but would like it to be 'glossy' if that is possible? It will just be kept inside.

    I would appreciate any advice from anyone , as I really know absolutely nothing.

    thank you in advance!
    Hannah
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  • #2
    First, I am trying to figure out the relationship of this wood to the tree it came out of. It has bark around the sides and the center appears to be a different color, like it is heartwood and the surrounding whiter wood is sap wood. I can't quite tell if what I see is the growth rings of the tree, but it almost looks like what you were carving on is like a slice out of the trunk or a branch. If so, what you have been carving into is almost completely the end grain of a piece of wood. Think of a piece of wood as a bundle of straws. Water and nutrients travel up thru these straws to where it is needed in the tree. So you have been carving down thru the ends of this bundle of "straws" which makes it want to split off and it is also more difficult to smooth. Also, the wood may be still green, meaning it still contains a lot of moisture. This makes sanding difficult also and the wood may have a tendency to crack and split as it drys. I would let it dry and continue sanding a bit every day. You can try wrapping sand paper around a wooden block or dowel that may help you get in different areas and use about 120 or 150 grit sandpaper. Boiled Linseed Oil or Tung Oil would probably give it a nice finish, but store any rags in something metal as they can sometimes spontaneously combust. On your next carving, try to carve more into the side of the tree rather than the end grain. Much easier! I like your design!
    '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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    • #3
      Talk to a timber merchant or paint store near where you live and see if they have any sanding sealer. A coat of this, after it dries for a couple of days, will make it easier to sand smooth. After that, you can decide on what finish to make it glossy. Again, ask at the paint store - they usually have samples that show how various woods look when finished.

      I like your stylized design!

      Claude
      My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/

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

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      • #4
        Thank you for these responses. I am learning that I have basically, chosen a difficult piece of wood, and then, failed to deal with it! I will try drying it out further, and will try to seal it and see what happens from here on! Any advice on what wood to try (and fail, but fail better) with would be much appreciated!

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        • #5
          Lime is readily available in the UK and is one of the most used woods (see Grinling Gibbons work). Look for Kiln-dried wood blocks at timber merchants. Some may even carry US basswood, but it's likely more expensive. Here's a link to many woods: https://www.wood-database.com/wood-a...ication-guide/ The key item to look at is the Janka hardness: The higher the number, the harder the wood.

          Claude

          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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          • #6
            We are fortunate to live when technology allows us a variety of ways to get information. When I first started carving, the internet was in it's infancy and most information had to be gathered through books or magazines, if you could figure out what you were looking for, and so it was often a struggle to figure things out. I nearly injured myself carving an Easter Island figure out of a piece of pine construction lumber. It has taken a while, but restarting with access to carvers world wide thru the internet is much better. I recognized some of your problems because I have did exactly the same! I carved a beautiful cane handle once and discovered the end grain just wouldn't hold any of the details that I wanted. Do not be discouraged and continue your experiments and create whatever you desire and how you desire. Just because we couldn't make it work doesn't necessarily mean that you won't create a new process or method! Something you might try (on a scrap piece first always) is possibly using CA glue. It soaks into wood, giving it a plastic consistency and hardness that is useful for thin and brittle parts, but it doesn't take paint well. People who turn pens often use it as a hard glossy finish. It might make it easier to sand but it would take quite a bit for your bird, so I am not sure it is practical.
            '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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