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Doing caricatures is a great way to learn carving. And they make great toppers.
This is a great site. Lynn has put up some 29 pages of videos on caricature
carving. He carves much of the carving with a box cutter. In the upper right of
the home page you will see "Direct out west links". The 3rd one down is out west videos, click on it, then at the top of the next page you will see "337 Videos",
click on that and you will see Lynn's latest how to. You will note that his videos go from the bottom of the page up (part one) will be at the bottom.
Also at the bottom there is access to 29 pages of videos I would start with page
28. It covers getting started.
http://outwestwoodcarving.blogspot.com/

This was a caricature topper.
 

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CV3,

Much has been said here about one's favorite wood for carving, stick and/or topper. I want to learn more. Without experience, I have some thoughts based solely on intuition. Please critique these if you would, and help prevent an old Marine from "repeating" mistakes that others have made, lessons you may have learned the hard way.

It seems to me that the ease of carving a wood likely depends upon wood grain, homogeneity, and (Janka) hardness.

It seems that the softer, finer grained, and more homogeneous woods should be easier for the purpose of learning carving techniques?

It seems that "carvability", if that is a word, may be at odds with durability. Harder woods would seem likely to preserve one's labors longer, especially if the stick or topper sees some rough use in the mountains or woods.

What are your thoughts about my speculation. If appropriate, what sort of balance between ease of carving and durability do you seek?

S/F
 

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thats a interesting video on carving,shame about part1 sound is poor,other parts seem better but a little at a time for me.

I use a band saw to cut out the basic shape so you can get to the interesting bits , and a lot of my basic shapimg is crried out by chisel .

I am pretty amazed at the detail he gets so i will watch more to see his techniques on this .

he is also good with paint thats another interesting part for me .

Thanks for the ino much appreciated
 

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Your right about the ease of carving good woods such as lime . working on small peices is difficult enought sometimes getting detail right. a hardwood just makes it slower and sharpening more.

Dont think you sacrifice much with durability when using such wood as lime etc.The thing you do lose is the grain ,I like to keep a nice grain in the wood and not paint it,but a mixture of both works for me.The grain of cherry looks to good to paint and is very durable and is both hard and soft in places, the viking i am carving has a knot in it and is very hard but enhances the overall look.

the fruit wood are good to carve and look good without painting.

It just depends on the look you after a ease of carving but painted will sometimes chip but can always be repainted its not very oftern there so damaged when dropped it becomes designer firewood..

Also a topper is easily replaced ,but should last a lifetime unless your use it as a hammer .most of the wear seems to be on the shank,but a little oil regularly cures that and the ferule isnt a problem .

I started carving nearly 2 years ago and the poles are used regularly and look just as good as the day i made them. its just a matter of taste some people like the toppers others just like the carved shank,others just like the grain and colour of the shank..

But dont think that carveability is at odds with durability

CV3,

Much has been said here about one's favorite wood for carving, stick and/or topper. I want to learn more. Without experience, I have some thoughts based solely on intuition. Please critique these if you would, and help prevent an old Marine from "repeating" mistakes that others have made, lessons you may have learned the hard way.

It seems to me that the ease of carving a wood likely depends upon wood grain, homogeneity, and (Janka) hardness.

It seems that the softer, finer grained, and more homogeneous woods should be easier for the purpose of learning carving techniques?

It seems that "carvability", if that is a word, may be at odds with durability. Harder woods would seem likely to preserve one's labors longer, especially if the stick or topper sees some rough use in the mountains or woods.

What are your thoughts about my speculation. If appropriate, what sort of balance between ease of carving and durability do you seek?

S/F
 

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CV3,

Much has been said here about one's favorite wood for carving, stick and/or topper. I want to learn more. Without experience, I have some thoughts based solely on intuition. Please critique these if you would, and help prevent an old Marine from "repeating" mistakes that others have made, lessons you may have learned the hard way.

It seems to me that the ease of carving a wood likely depends upon wood grain, homogeneity, and (Janka) hardness.

It seems that the softer, finer grained, and more homogeneous woods should be easier for the purpose of learning carving techniques?

It seems that "carvability", if that is a word, may be at odds with durability. Harder woods would seem likely to preserve one's labors longer, especially if the stick or topper sees some rough use in the mountains or woods.

What are your thoughts about my speculation. If appropriate, what sort of balance between ease of carving and durability do you seek?

Hi Cas,
I will share my thoughts on your questions. Most 1 'to 1 ½ in diameter stick will holed up to a fare amount of abuse in most all kinds woods. "Carvability", (in my way of thinking) is based on our skill level more than the wood. There is a learning curve with all woods each has its own issues. But you're right that most of the softer woods are easier to learn with. Trying to learn on hard woods is discouraging to most people. Most will learn better and quicker if they develop their basic skills using woods like basswood or tupelo. I like sticks like aspen or sassafras to start with too. I am sure there are many other choices. Those are just my first choices for beginners. Northern basswood seems to be the best of the basswoods. I should make note that there can be some health reaction issues with some woods if you're reading this and are new wear a dusk mask until you know if you can work safely with any wood. And your correct that the carved detail will hold up longer as a rule in hardwoods. However the hard woods can be more bridal and can be damaged easier banging into rocks or trees. It just depends on the wood and the carving.
My personal ,real hiking, stick is a 54" 1 ½" tapering to 1" hickory stick with some shallow decretive carving on it, but not much. It is a working stick.It is a heavy stick but that is my preference. I also like cedar for working stick it is lighter. And I finish them with a marine Tung oil.

S/F
 
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I have to agree with CV3 regarding carving woods ,but i favour chestnut and hazel tapering from 1" to no less than 3/4"for shanks.This is adequate for most people ,but its just choice.
Hazel has a advantage as it grows straight so very little work is required in straightening it.A lot of people dont mind a mishapened stick but generally here they want them straight, think they are stronger with a bit of flex in the wood makes them less likely to break
I consider all my sticks working sticks but have seen farmers at cattle markets with there market crook ,think they just use that one for market days.old traditions die slowly ,but there still quite a lot who keep it up.Its great to see them
hopefully when i vist the states i will pick up some shanks bring them home and work on them ,which i will consider a treat. just like a child easily amused
 

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Several of my favorite sticks, like CV3, have been red cedar collected on my brother's place about ten miles from Fairfield, Texas. The sticks for mt wife and daughter were straight, plain, finished with 100% tung oil, and they had minimal enhancements and small copper ferules. Mine was thicker at the top and instead of tapering it down, I narrowed two grip areas, one for downhill and one for uphill, and embedded a dogtag and numerous sentimental hat pins, installed wound wire at one foot intervals for measurememts, and anumber of replaceable, utilitarian and other toppers.

My brother picked one with a comfortable bend at his grip height. That one sanded down very differently, although cut in the very same area from the same kind of cedar. When I'm able I will sand a bit more and begin applying the tung oil. His will look very different as much of the inner bark stuck firmly to or stained the sapwood red-brown in patches. That is lucky for him.

All these were soaked in Pentacryl for at least a week before curing for more than six months after having been cut, and much of the green dried out, some with a few minor cracks. My sis has yet another of those cedars picked for her stick and it will be interesting to see which appearance results after sanding.

These sticks also have tapered from about 1 1/2" in the grip areas to about 1" at the ferrule and tip.

I appreciate the carving tips from CV3 and cobalt. Last year I bought considerable basswood to practice carving. Only now can I begin since retiring. I can't wait to get started. I have just one pitiful attempt at a wood spirit in which I drilled a hole in the mouth for burning incense on the porch. More to follow if my current one-eyed status permits. A lack of depth perception doesn't seem to cause a problem with this so far. This may improve in the coming months anyway.

More later. Thanks guys!
 

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CAS,

I am a "noobie"when it comes to carving, I have been at it about 6 months or so, so I'll give you my take on it for what it's worth.

I started out carving with a small lock back knife and a 1/4" wood chisel. Since then I have invested a couple hundred bucks on decent carving knives,some gouges and a slip strop. Recently I bought a small battery Dremel for around $20 at a box store. (I use a couple burrs and the sanding drum on the dremel)

My point is if I would have continued with inferior tools I would have lost interest quickly and quit.

I cut my "caving teeth"on soft maple (silver & red) and white pine, two soft woods that are easy to work with. I have also had good success on black cherry a hard wood that is a step up from the maples but still not intolerable to work with. The type of wood for a "noobie", my opinion,start out with soft cheap woods like pine or basswood.

The other thing I did was to watch hours of carving vids on you tube then carve, scrap, carve again, scrap again etc. Each time learning something new and putting that info to work next time.

Finally enough can't be said about sharp tools and working safety. Carving with dull tools is difficult and frustrating at best. Dull tools force us to push or pull harder than we should and cause us to slip from the work and that causes problems. Keep a strop at hand and use it frequently and ALWAYS wear a cut resistant glove and a thumb guard.

I didn't think I needed a thumb guard. I was making paring cuts on one of my first wood spirits and next thing I know, the tables all bloody and I didn't even feel it. I did feel the 3 stitches it took to close er up though! Won't see me without safety gear now!

Finally, I wish I would have taken up carving years ago, there's just something satisfying about creating something from a chunk of wood! Keep whittling,

Mark
 

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I am also pretty new to carving but have taken to it like a duck to water, and have watched some of the videos very useful and always a challenge
I work in a simular way to that guy , difference is a always make templates up ,it suits me better.Have found its better to plan what and how you carve the topper.it saves time and wood. very rare if ever i pick up a chunk of wood and start carving. I think that this is due to my background in three dimensional design and working in r&d
I also tend to use chisels more but interested in the level of detail he gets and the finsh quality.
ANYWAY GOOD STUFF THANKS FOR POSTING IT
 

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Thanks a bunch for posting this! I'm really looking forward to watching the vids. That's exactly what I'm focused on in my beginner practice stages -- boots and bears in the round. No sticks yet. :rolleyes: I want to do a beaver next. Still searching for a nice, simple beginner's pattern to follow.

There are some EXTRAORDINARY caricature artists out there that I'm totally in awe of. Their artistry is just unbelievable! But I also understand that they've been carving for decades. So I'm in no particular hurry to get to where I'm going.

I have not tried 'faces' yet. Yet. But I totally love, LOVE wood spirits.
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My problem is that I don't have a bandsaw for cutting blanks. And blanks make life sooo much easier. Sigh...
 

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YOU dont need blanks a simple hand saw will do the job.it just takes more time I have only had the band saw for about 6 mths its a lot easyer and much quicker,but it isnt essential.
a good image is all you need from several angles just get pics from the interent and modify them to suit what you want.
Most of my resources are from visting museums on line and getting basic pics then redrawing and modifying them
i just buy a 8ft plank of lime about 3.5inches thick and 18" wide thats rought cut and cut of what i want .a littleat a time it lasts ages and you get loads of blanks of it.
Its just a slice of a tree thats been seasoned for a few years.
I also get fruitwood from people i know that have cut trees down and store then. you can treat wood if its freah a lot of turners do
The video are handy to watch as not a big tv fan to many adverts on them unless i watch the BBC and i can now watch the video in my time when i want very handy
 

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YOU dont need blanks a simple hand saw will do the job.it just takes more time I have only had the band saw for about 6 mths its a lot easyer and much quicker,but it isnt essential.
a good image is all you need from several angles just get pics from the interent and modify them to suit what you want.
Most of my resources are from visting museums on line and getting basic pics then redrawing and modifying them
i just buy a 8ft plank of lime about 3.5inches thick and 18" wide thats rought cut and cut of what i want .a littleat a time it lasts ages and you get loads of blanks of it.
Its just a slice of a tree thats been seasoned for a few years.
I also get fruitwood from people i know that have cut trees down and store then. you can treat wood if its freah a lot of turners do
The video are handy to watch as not a big tv fan to many adverts on them unless i watch the BBC and i can now watch the video in my time when i want very handy
Thank you, Cobalt. All very good tips!

I had not considered a large plank of lime. I'll ask about that at our local craft store -- if they can get something like this. I've only seen small blocks of Basswood. My understanding is that this is not quite the same as what you have there in Europe.

I do have a nice NEW coping saw that could use a good workout tho. :)
 

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Basically bass wood is the same as lime ,one member here has commented that its softer to use

I find that buying large planks of wood is cheaper and lasts ages as you get loads of blanks out of it.Also if you find a timber mill that just cuts trees down they will have a good varietes of woods for use ie fruit woods etc.You have a larger range of woods over there a lot i have never seen or worked which i would love to use
 

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I enjoy carving wood spirits. I use chip carving knives and Dremel. Biggest challenge is eyes especially on small jobs. Also fine sanding of small jobs to get rid of those unsightly cut marks and ridges that appear in my work. Sanding drums don' t get into those tiny cheeks and between long moustaches! Does anyone have a technique for this???
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I enjoy carving wood spirits. I use chip carving knives and Dremel. Biggest challenge is eyes especially on small jobs. Also fine sanding of small jobs to get rid of those unsightly cut marks and ridges that appear in my work. Sanding drums don' t get into those tiny cheeks and between long moustaches! Does anyone have a technique for this???
The best thing I have found for clean up of small areas is small diamond burrs with 1/8th inch shank, 150 grit. You can get a 20 piece set of fine small burrs with many shapes for under$6, and a 1/8 inch chuck Pin vice to hold them for $5 to $15 on amazon. You can use them for shaping, clean up, and they will work in you Dermal.
 

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