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Woodcarvings by Maura
So, You really want to be a woodcarver?
The State of Woodcarving in America Today
Things that I’ve learned (and wish to pass on)
ü Woodcarving can be taught, creativity can’t.
ü A good tool is worth the price you pay for it.
ü Safety can never be underestimated.
ü Boil a cypress knee and the warm bark will peel off
ü There are more woodcarvers than you think there are.
ü Most people are held back by their own fears.
ü Crazy glue can be used to glue cuts closed.
ü Wood does talk to you
ü You can put wood into a microwave to dry it or to kill bugs in it
ü Smaller pieces of wood can be glued together to make larger pieces of wood.
ü Crumpled up brown paper bags can be used for fine sanding
ü Patterns are easy to make
ü If you want to know something, just ask.
ü Strop often, sharpen less
ü Different woods carve differently.
ü Bad tools don’t get used
ü Don’t carve after sanding, the grit will dull your tool
ü A good tool becomes an extension of your arm.
ü Inspiration comes from unexpected places.
ü There are no mistakes in woodcarving, only new opportunities.
ü Sawdust in the air can, combined with a flame or spark, can cause an explosion.
ü Anybody will buy anything if you make them think they need it
ü Always bring wood into your shop at least two weeks before you plan to use it.
ü Find cheap tools at estate sales
ü Keep your tools well and they will keep you well
ü Gouges can be used upside down
ü It is much easier to carve using two hands and hold down devices.
ü Use a sharp straight edge of broken glass to clean up a carving.
ü Don’t be afraid to learn
ü You can sharpen your tools with sandpaper
ü Original carvings sell better than carbon copies
ü A V-tool actual has 3 separate blades
ü Always plan to demonstrate at any show you attend. Those who demonstrate usually draw a crowd.
ü Cover your workbench with inexpensive rubber mats.
ü Wood carves easier when “wet” but most likely will crack while drying.
ü Couples together will spend more than they would separately
ü It is not terribly difficult to make a website
ü A chisel is not a pry bar
ü The width of one eye is always equal to the space between the eyes.
ü No matter how much wood you have, you won’t have the right size for your next project
ü Carving tools usually sell for what they’re worth on internet auction sites
ü Remove pencil marks with rubbing alcohol
ü There is always lots of free wood on trash day.
ü If you price a carving too low it won’t sell
ü The most valuable lessons are learned from your worst mistakes.
ü Wood dust can explode if there is an open flame nearby
ü Use spar varnish on wood which will be displayed outside
ü Do not use a mallet on palm tools
ü Agree on the price for a carving before you start it
ü Use a scraper to remove excess glue
ü Standard drying time for fresh-cut wood is 1 year to 1” of thickness.
ü Any wood can be carved
ü The corners of the mouth line up with the centers of the eyes.
ü A high swivel chair with a back and footrest is the perfect carving chair.
ü People will buy unique items.
ü There are cheap tools to be found at yard sales and estate sales
ü Always complete a commission carving when promised
ü After cutting away the skin of a golf ball, use the excess skin for a paint cup.
ü Turn a problem area upside down and then try to carve it.
ü There is never enough time or money
ü Wood dust can cause cancer and other diseases.
ü Most carvers have a variety of different woods stored away in their workshops and will pass a piece or two on to a new carver.
ü Young children can carve soap but the chips are slippery.
ü If you have wet paint on a palette, put it in the freezer between painting sessions
ü You can make excellent woodcarvings with a single knife.
ü You can never use too many pictures
ü A power saw can cut faster through flesh than wood.
ü Never stand in a direct line with a table saw blade.
ü Rubber bands can be used as clamps
ü Use a v-tool for outlining, not using stop cuts will save lots of time and you will not crush the wood fibers.
ü Thin cardboard can be used as a strop.
ü Shave the hair on your arm to test the sharpness of a tool.
ü Books are worth their weight in gold but a good carving video is better
ü When picking something thing up, you will knock over another, maybe even 2 or three.
ü The more costly a tool, the more likely it is to jump off your workbench.
ü A mixture of 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% water sprayed on wood will make it easier to carve.
ü Tools should be purchased as needed
ü Looking and acting like a professional will make you one
ü Tools can sense when you’re afraid of them
ü Someone will buy it
ü Bartering is alive and well
ü The best way to learn is to do
ü Wood contracts and expands
ü Sell the right things at the right shows
ü Grinling Gibbons glued layers onto his carvings.
ü Let the customer be involved, update them on their carvings progress. Email them pictures in various states of completion.
ü Big things start from small things
ü You can soak a thin board in water, cover it with a wet towel and use a household iron to remove any warping or cupping
ü Word of mouth is the best selling tool
ü There could be only one master carver in any one municipality.
ü You can burnish wood by using a rounded piece of hardwood to press into your carving.
ü Wood is dry when it has a 10% or less moisture level
ü Woodcarvers are the most helpful group of people that I have ever met.
ü Cuts usually happen reaching for tools
ü Always get a deposit which will cover the costs of a commission carving
ü Clean sandpaper using hard rubber
ü It is not expensive to own your own website
ü There is always more than one way to do something
ü Share your knowledge
ü Slowing down wood drying time will lessen checking.
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©2005 Carvin' in NYC
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