Beiträge von Brian Thair

    What style of carving would you like to do? The tool sets are different as you might expect.

    You can see many of my tool in the Showcase. Pacific Northwest First Nations style.

    I buy the blades and build the handles and haft the blades.


    Years ago, I carved with a mallet and gouges. That was very satisfying, too.

    The oven-baked oil finish.

    This uses Charles' Law of Physics: gases expand as they are heated and gases contract when they are cooled.


    Preheat your kitchen oven to 325F/165C.


    On a mesh pastry rack over a sheet pan, brush your wood carvings wit the vegetable oil of your choice.

    I use olive oil as I have many liters of it in my kitchen.

    Into the oven for 3 minutes and 30 seconds by the clock.

    Take the tray out and look at your wood carvings, the end grain. See all the little wood air bubbles?

    Now as the wood cools, the remaining wood air will contract and suck the oil down into the wood .

    You can always brush more oil on the wood at this time I did that, some times.

    When cold, wipe off the excess oil and you are done forever. That oil cannot be washed out or cooked out

    unless you heat the wood to more than 165C again.


    You asked about doing this to stained wood. I do not know the answer. You do the experiment and tell the rest of us.

    I was cutting and staining wood sections to make microscope slides every day of the week.

    Add several odd species to the process each week was the logical thing to do.

    This will be the challenge when you do not work in a wood laboratory every day.


    Unfortunately, glue-ups to make big wood are more and more common even here with 2m diameter old growth logs.


    I use a 180C hot oil/wax baked finish which cannot be damaged. 3 minutes and 30 seconds and it is finished forever.

    It cannot be washed off, it cannot be cooked off with boiling water. I did 70 spoons and 30 forks this way.

    I made a kitchen dish for wet things at the sink with bees wax over birch. 10 years" Looks like new.


    Allow me to make 3 guesses:

    1. You used a lot of glue, you covered the entire surfaces. Too much. Just dabs here and there like postage stamps.

    2. Your newspaper sheets are much thinner than ours with thicker softer wood pulp. Your paper saturated.

    3. All the oaks (Quercus sp.) in the red oak group are very porous. This allows the glue to soak well down into the wood for a very strong bond. The red oaks need a paste sealer to fill the surface of the wood. Then you do the glue-up.

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    I have glued western red cedar to spruce with no difficulty separating the two pieces later.

    Mallet and gouge carving with the spruce clamped to my bench.

    Just a transmitted light microscope. Objectives 4X and 10X and 20X and 40X are all that is needed with 10X ocular lenses.

    Very carefully cut and stained radial, transverse and tangential sections. No more than 15 micrometer thickness.

    I did the conifers at 20 micrometers to see the whole anatomies of the bordered pits.

    The stains don't matter for contrast, just to see the cell anatomy and arrangement patterns..


    I was studying the anatomy of the grafts of stock and scion in fruit trees, apple in particular.

    It was so easy to slip in a few extra species each week. The university learned what I was doing.

    On several occasions, they came to me with archeology wood to be identified.

    Make groups of tools which look much the same. Takes pictures. Post them here.

    There will be many members who will be able to tell you what the tools are and how they are used.

    Many of the waxes and stains could be used to finish carvings, best to ask about them, too.


    Wood can be difficult to identify without a microscope. I used to do that but no more.

    I have microscope slides of more that 300 species for reference. Good luck.

    Can you make any kind of a saw cut to the center of the log, for the entire length?

    This might prevent many cracks from beginning on their own.

    People here try so very hard to prevent cracking. The First Nations native carvers can ignore cracks most times.

    If pieces break off from cracks, I glue them back on and come back tomorrow to carve.


    If my translator is behaving properly, I suggest that the washbasin be a separate piece of wood.

    That way, you can replace it if it cracks and keep the wash stand.

    It will look beautiful. Very hot wax will soak into the wood and seal it very well.

    Outdoor sheds with the door shut become very hot inside (+50C and warmer.)

    The concept is to have the wood moisture evaporate from all surfaces at a slow rate.

    This reduces the stress as the wood shrinks.

    So really, any place which does not see much sun. Dry and cool.

    A house is usually very dry and the wood will dry far too fast and then lots of cracks.


    I harvested a dozen pieces of alder log (Alnus rubra) maybe 60 cm x 20 cm.

    When I first started carving 25 years ago and knew nothing about wood.

    Brought them all into my shop and put them in a corner. Bark on, no end sealer.

    Many, many cracks from end to end after less than 6 months. Complete loss.


    The other thing that you can do is to cut a section out of the ugly side of the log, radius all the way to the center of the log.

    This is how many western red cedar logs are prepared for totem pole carving. The back is always cut out as the pole

    is only to be seen from one side.


    Your English is probably better than my German which I have not used for 55 years.

    I use Microsoft Translator with quite good results

    Make fresh cuts to clean up the ends of the log. Paint them with any paint or glue to seal the ends.

    Remove all the bark (drawknife?) as some beetles like to feed under the bark.


    Now, the rate of water loss from the ends is slowed down and the sides are speeded up a little.

    Outdoors, under cover and not cooked in a shed, you can expect the wood to dry to an equilibrium moisture content

    of 12% - 14% at a speed of about 25mm thickness per year.


    for example: the little piece. Maybe 10cm thick? Should be dried in 2+ years.

    My first choice of tools would be a 1S/12 skew. Narex or Pfeil, something like that.

    Next would be a very small straight knife PacNW First Nations style.


    Symmetry. I am surprised how lop-sided my own face is. And it is easier to see each year.

    In a mask however, that is artificial and very good symmetry looks proper.

    The edges, where parts join, need cleaning with much sharper tools.

    The left and right symmetry is very good, something that I still find very hard to do.


    I like masks. They are very important parts of ceremony and legendary presentation dances

    to our First Nations here in the Pacific Northwest. Many masks transform.

    They open and close to reveal a second face inside.

    Yes! I have bugs! Must be the first day of spring here.

    I found a very small flying insect walking along a pencil this morning.

    This afternoon, I swatted a much bigger one flying over this computer monitor.