The Hobbyist's Machine Shop – Blog

"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Santa Carving Painted

1st Santa Carving

Here is my Santa carving after the paint job. Perhaps not the greatest work of art but I don’t think too bad for a first attempt. That just means there is a lot of room to get better.

I want you to note there are no gaping wounds in my left hand. I know what you are thinking… at least not any that Dan is showing. Well, I did come through OK so I have no fear of starting the next project.

I did discover there is as much work in the painting as there is in the carving. I now have a better idea what I can do with paint and how to make it work with the carving. I did have some comments that it looked pretty good without the paint. The paint does not cover up errors in carving so the base has to be good before paint.

Wood Carving

Santa Carving by DanWhoa! I really got into the wood carving this weekend. In fact I kind of over did it. I think I spent two eight hour plus days doing nothing but carving a Santa. It is like a big cookie, high relief in a small 4 x 6 x ¾ inch slab of Basswood. My arms (not so much my hands) are telling me that was a bit much for just getting started. I think that means I am using the correct arm muscles and not just my hands.

Only a few drops of blood were shed when the very sharp knife point (like a pin prick) touched the back of my left middle finger. That doesn’t count so no real cuts! I have done the same or worse with a #11 X-acto blade building model airplanes.

I spent a lot of that time honing the bench knife and trying to get every tool extremely sharp. That is the secret to easy carving.

The project looks very good IMHO. A little more clean up and I will be finished with this first carving. Then I have to paint.

I like the totally free creativity in carving, so this is already habit forming. There are lots of subjects I want to carve. I have discovered another art form I enjoy. Soon every piece of wood I own is going to look like it needs a carving on it.

Wood Carving Set

Little Shavers carving setHere is the wood carving set I ordered from Little Shavers Woodworking Supply. The kit arrived on Saturday, which was only a few days after I ordered it. Everything  you see in the picture is included in the set except the granite counter-top. My wife Gloria owns that.

The kit is ordered by glove size. Yes, realy. The glove is Kevlar and can help prevent whacking a finger or palm with the verrry sharp tools. A stab will probably still get me but a slice may be avoided. The glove will fit either hand.

The white cube at top right is jewelers rouge used to “charge” the leather strop; which is the green block at the bottom of the lid. These two items are used to keep a very fine edge on the knife and other tools. The last item in the bottom right of the lid is a leather thumb guard to help prevent the little cuts suffered when making paring cuts toward the thumb on the knife hand.

In the bottom of the box is the business card and the (to be) most used carving knife. The rest of the tools are assorted small gouges and veiners. I won’t go into detail on them. Note that every sharp edge tool includes a guard.

The nice wooden storage box is also included.

Every tool is pre-sharpened and ready to use when received. No tedious work developing the cutting edges. All I have to do is maintain the edge provided.

In my opinion Rick Ferry does a great job in putting a useful set of tools into a beginners hands. The best part is there is safety evident everywhere. Don’t take my choice of the word “into” to literally. ~ Dan’l

Cut That Out!

I ordered a basic wood carver tool set today. I have been doing some interesting wood carving (vaporizing) with a high speed air powered rotary hand piece. I enjoy the creativity of carving. I just remove everything that doesn’t look like what I want. Ha!

Actually there is a bit more to it than that but it is the main idea. I haven’t done serious knife and wood carving since Boy Scouts. I did get a merit badge in carving about 45 years ago. I have no real carving knives or tools (gouges) at this point in my life so I ordered a beginner’s set on the Internet from Little Shavers Woodcarving Supply in Seattle, Washington.

There are a lot of suppliers available, but this is the place where I found a reasonably complete set of beginners’ tools (and accessories) at a very reasonable price. Good information too. I figure I can always upgrade to more pricy tools if I get the bug and need better tools to do more. I like the fact that this fellow Rick is very youth oriented.

Some of the carving I want to do is not suitable using the high speed hand piece. The dust produced by the rotary tool is also not healthy. Cutting real chips on the other hand is much more user/producer friendly. They can still be a mess but they are not filling up my sinuses and maybe lungs with wood fibers.

Another benefit I want to test is to see if the carving will help or perhaps hinder the strength problems I have in my hands. My CMT damage is now in my hands and arms as well as my legs but not as bad. I hope working with my hands will keep the wires (nerves) connected.… Continue reading


Now I am into purchasing brick, insulated firebrick that is. This is the kind of firebrick folks use to build kilns. That’s a place where pots go to get hard baked. Jeeze! First Dan’s dropping acid now he’s smoking pots. Pay attention. I only bought the insulating firebrick!

I do silver brazing. I am in the need to build a brazing and soldering hearth. Forget the kiln and pots, maybe later. The insulating firebrick will let me hold the heat in one place and keep me from burning down my shop (I hope). My silver brazing is getting scaled up to making bigger pieces.

I plan to have some insulating firebrick leftover to sell. Anyone need some?


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