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      Micro-Mark Discount code for IGMA   01/29/2017

      Great News for miniature artists!!!! In support of IGMA and the world of fine miniatures,  Micro-Mark the small tool specialists, have offered IGMA a 10% discount on all their purchases.  Buyer gets 10% off all purchases and in support of the Guild Micro-Mark will donate 5% of your purchased price to IGMA Be sure to enter Promo code IGMASAVE16 www.micromark.com Can be used on sale merchandise, but cannot be combined with another offer.  For example if an item is in the close-out section on the Micromark website, the discount will apply. If they discount some items in an email (a special promotion) the 10% will not be able to be combined with that offer.  Time to go shopping!!!      

Wood advice
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Kathe

Hi all, 

I am a beginner...wanting to find a good wood to carve details into. Basswood isn’t very user friendly. Chips and crumbles a lot. However since I am a beginner I don’t want to ruin expensive wood. Is there an affordable alternative to bass/limewood? Thank you!

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Moderator 2

Steamed pear is the wood prefered by most carvers for miniature work.

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WeekendMiniaturist

How sharp are your carving tools?  Chips and crumbles could be a tool issue, not a wood issue... Once, I took a set of brand new micro mark mini lathe chisels to a Guild School class, and my instructor told me that my tools had to be sharpened... SAY WHAT???!!  And while I didn't tell him in person, I will put in writing now.  He was right!

I like basswood, if I am painting, and I like Cherry if I am staining.  I've never spent the cash to get steamed pearwood... I can be really frugal under the right circumstances.  I would also carve walnut or butternut depending on the project. 

 

 

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Kathe

Thank you! Where is a good place to get steamed pear? I am on the east coast.

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WeekendMiniaturist

http://www.hearnehardwoods.com/hardwoods/flitch_hardwoods/all_flitches_hardwood.html... Hearne Hardwoods advertises in the woodworking magazines.

I find magazines to be a good resource... you can go to your local bookstore or library and look at the ads in the carving magazines.

Hmmm... do you have the equipment to resaw your wood and then plane it to the thickness you need for your project?  or access to bandsaw and a planer?  A google search will work for Steamed pear on the East Coast.   Hearne Hardwoods is an example of what I found online.  As a miniaturist you may want a specific grain, and while pearwood should be without grain, in theory, depending on how the wood was cut it may not be appropriate for your project.  Subsequently paying $26 for a board and then $20 to ship it to me, and the grain is too large, is a problem... and that is the reason I don't have any pearwood on my shelf...  

The best way for a new person to purchase wood, is in person... so go to a local hardwood supplier... and ask if they have inventory and pick it out in person.

The alternative is to call Steve or Mary Goode.  I have found both easy to talk with and have placed orders in the past. http://shgoode.com/woods

It is interesting to note, on the Goode's website, that Holly and Pearwood are both Medium Hard wood, and Poplar which should be easily available throughout the US is a Medium Soft Wood.  (I do own a piece of Holly, that I purchased from the Goode's but no pearwood.)  Steve does not list Basswood or Limewood on his website, but it is the most common wood used for hand carving.  I would not have considered poplar for practice carving, but it does paint... it can be green, so I would only use for a project I was painting.

There are carving groups in the US, so it is also fun to tap into the local knowledge...that could get you up and running quickly.

Ben, in the forum recently carved a nice! picture frame for his first experiment... he may have some words of wisdom for you...  I haven't seen Miracle Chicken on the forum for a while, but I hope she will make a recommendation for you... 

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Bill Hudson

 Most importantly before going off on a carving binge learn to sharpen you carving knives and chisels.  

Basswood is a good wood to start out with. Gibbons, a very famous carver, used Lime (basswood) in his very delicate carvings. Look for solid, hard bass wood. I feel it would be a waste of good pear wood just to learn to carve. Cherry is good and locally I find red alder to be very good.  Any of the woods listed can be hard to carve for variousl reasons. Check out the grains. The sap wood (usually lighter in color) is usually soft and in many cases may not give you sharp detail. The heart wood (usually darker and shows more grain) is sometimes very hard to carve but gives good detail. 

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WeekendMiniaturist

I am in awe of Gibbons' work, and I learned about him because of the FMF... his body of work is amazing.

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Kathe

Thanks! I will look him up. What is the full name? 

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WeekendMiniaturist

Grinling Gibbons

 

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GiseleH

 I have used bass wood for sculpting larger thing like the front door on my dollhouse. I found that fine blades that may come with a exacto type knife work very well with this type of wood, gouges not so much. If I want to do a very complex carving with scooped out designs I will try to get my hands on pear wood which is a pleasure to work with. I have included a photo of sculpting done on basswood with a exacto knife and various small knives.

This project is still going on, may be finish by next year!!!

WIN_20171019_10_14_36_Pro (Large).jpg

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WeekendMiniaturist

Giselle, thank you for sharing your progress photo.  Your carvings are very artistic; I love the trees in the door!

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Bill Hudson

The point I want to make and have sink in is that it is not the type of wood; you need to keep your carving tools very sharp.  I have seen some very delicate carvings in balsa wood. Also another major problem is trying to take to deep of a cut with a gouge, especially in soft woods. Keep pieces of scrap wood around and practice, practice, practice with various cuts and woods. Your tools should be sharp enough to cut with or across the grain making clean cuts. If your cross grain cuts are tearing your tool is too dull or you are trying to take too deep of a cut, or both.

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GiseleH

I wonder if wood could be stabilized with some resin as they do sometime for turning?

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Kathe
3 hours ago, Bill Hudson said:

The point I want to make and have sink in is that it is not the type of wood; you need to keep your carving tools very sharp.  I have seen some very delicate carvings in balsa wood. Also another major problem is trying to take to deep of a cut with a gouge, especially in soft woods. Keep pieces of scrap wood around and practice, practice, practice with various cuts and woods. Your tools should be sharp enough to cut with or across the grain making clean cuts. If your cross grain cuts are tearing your tool is too dull or you are trying to take too deep of a cut, or both.

Thank you! Any advice on a carving set tats not too expensive? 

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

I have dockyard and Flexcut Micro carving tools.  The Flexcut have larger diameter handles.  Ramelson(s) seem reasonable too.  Sorby and Two Cherries are probably the high end of micro carving tools.  In the Guild School Seminar with Elizabeth Gazmuri, she made a carving tool for our Ball & Claw Seminar.

 

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MeezerMama

I have some Ramelsons, some Two Cherries, and some Pfeil.  Overall, while the Ramelsons are fine, the others are nicer.   One important consideration is that the Ramelsons frequently aren't sharp enough when you get them.  You may likely need to put a sharp edge on them or your initial experience won't be as good.  The Ramelsons were the shortest tools and there is some benefit to that unless you have huge hands.  Specifically you will want the Ramelson microminiature set #117H.  The six-tool set should be about $60.  You can get them from https://www.ramelson.com/product-page/micro-miniature-117h

Overall, the Pfeils were the best tools (of the few that I own), but I have to tell you that both the Two Cherries and the Pfeils were too long for my hands (I'm 5' tall and have correspondingly sized small hands). 

Specifically, I *loved* the Pfeil Palm Veiners, but they were a little too long for my hand.   The Two Cherries Palm Veiner was a nice chisel but not as nice as the Pfeil and it cost 1.5x the cost of the Pfeil.  Also uncomfortably long.   The Two Cherries Palm skew was a total disappointment and I couldn't figure out a way to hold it and control it.   It's over 6.5" long even though it's listed as a "palm" tool.  

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Bill Hudson

You might find this interesting. 

 

http://www.woodcarverssupply.com/20-PIECE-TOOL-SET-WALLET/productinfo/301001/

I have this set and it is about the only one I use now. They are not fancy smancy  looking but the steel is very good and holds an edge.  I find the handles easy to hold. These or similar are used by many Japanese carvers and carving teachers. My seat has about three sizes of each style from micro to larger. 

http://www.woodworkerz.com/wicked-sharp/

http://ornamental-woodcarver-patrickdamiaens.blogspot.be/search/label/'17th Century style carvings'

Check out his blogs along the right hand side of his page. Hours of looking at awesome stuff.

https://www.woodworkersinstitute.com/wood-carving/projects/relief-carving/architectural/grinling-gibbons-style-foliage/

 

 

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