(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
72 morning low, 79 afternoon high, nice breeze, threats of dots of showers that did not come into our area, scattered fast moving tiny herds of clouds heading west all day long. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
Before my foot infection, I was not in the best physical condition. I could never walk a marathon, let alone a mile or two. During the infection, I did no distance walking and there were times where I would think twice about crossing the room twice because I forgot something. Because of this, I am working on recovery of any walking distance. What has helped is one of my favorite grocery store rearranged everything and Now I have to walk most all the isles to find what I need.
This morning, my legs were a little laggard. I did the yard sale drive route and stopped at quite a few yard sales, and skipped some also. My legs felt heavy as I got out of the truck. It will take a while to get back into shape, if you remember that round IS a shape.....
There is a lot of decorative items, and kitchen items today. A few times I had to talk myself out of getting them. One guy had things won or gifted from one of the local casinos. The one thing I fought myself over was a cast iron griddle that fit into a space in a large cutting board. I would have loved to have gotten it, but like a lot of my cast iron, I would never use it.
Later in the day, Mom was killing weeds in the back yard. They come up between the pavers and in the mulch walks. I came out and dug through various areas of the back yard. I found a stick of my two-by-two whitewood carving wood. I had to cut some pieces from it. I knew there had to be a handsaw in mom’s garage so I squeezed in there (loaded with stuff that is supposed to be under the awning) and found a dovetail saw.
I must tell you that I have a rule of NEVER using a hand saw when power was available, which means NEVER using a handsaw. Well, I was in the mood to get something done and figured that finding a hand saw would be a whole lot faster than getting to a buried saws-all or moving things around to get the band saw plugged in.
A dovetail saw has really fine teeth. It is a finishing saw where you want clean cuts, no tear out. This saw also had a rusty blade panel.
A proper saw should be shiny, where you can see the reflection of the work in it. You line up the reflection with the edge you see and it is straight. Also a clean shiny blade will produce no friction to increase the effort of cutting.
I have not used a handsaw for anything in like two years. I lined up the blade roughly by eye and started cutting. I got partly down and turned the piece so I was working with a fresh side, using the existing cut as a guide. Of course, my cut was not straight. I got part way down and turned it one more time before cutting all the way through. I then cut two more pieces off, each between nine inches and a foot long. I had to stop for a moment twice on the last cut to give my arm a chance to straighten out before cutting again. I had decided only to cut three pieces and that was enough sawing. About twenty minutes later, mom said she could have gotten me a brand new, little used Saws-all that I gave her in exchange for a light one she had. I have two somewhere in the shed, I think. I was done cutting.
I don’t spend much time standing so I was on my feet long enough. I figured I had really accomplished something. I actually touched wood and made a tiny bit of saw dust.
Tomorrow, I am hoping to start carving. I have some designs for ornaments to explore.
I will see what I do tomorrow.
Year 18, Week 06, Day Two (week 946)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
73 early morning, 78 late afternoon. Mostly blue sky with some puffs moving around. A breeze made it really nice. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
I got to Mom’s late and my brother was already there. We had a great lunch, with everything tasting better than expected. Conversation was good too.
After lunch I grabbed my carving kit and went out back. My brother followed me. We are still in winter so much of the area that would be under the awning is in shade, which is nice. We sat and I tried to carve a rocking horse. I turned the wood on a 45 degree angle so to give me the most distance of wood to work with. The head was in the corner, the runners were in the lower angles. I knew what I needed to have but as I worked, I quickly saw it was not going to work as planned. I kept carving. I nearly shaved off the piece from the stick when It was time to stop. It has no resemblance to a horse. I think I can make it a laying cat or laying dog with a little bit of work, but not a rocking horse. This shape wood will never make a horse. Proportions are wrong unless I make the horse a lot smaller.
My knives were started from files, grinding away the teeth and then shaping them. The back of the blade is comfortably thick. When carving, I will move my hand onto the back of the blade to use the point, or back at the handle to use the long edge. When done right, you will not hold the sharp edge. This style allows you to place pressure where needed, and have control where needed.
There are times when you want to shave a large area. There are times when you want to dig in, or shave inside something. The length of my blades give you more options on h ow to use the knife. The wedge shaped end is great for removing wood in valleys and holes.
The first time I made one of these flat ended knives, I had a file and cut it apart and made a long knife that had somewhat of a point. I then took the short end and just made it sharp, keeping the end flat. I did not want to make it shorter by reducing the end. When I used that knife, I found I loved the flat end. It worked great and was less likely to stab through carving gloves.
We had metal mesh, Kevlar “cut proof” gloves, and they had the problem that sharp knife points will go through them, even if the blade edge would not cut them. The flat point turned out to be safer, though it would cut on the edge on the end, but had limited penetration.
Of course, paying attention to where skin is comparted to the blade makes a difference. If the blade is flying into the air, you are doing it wrong. I know, I did it wrong a few times, such as when I cut a couple tendons in my left index finger. If that hand was able to actually do something useful other than holding, it would be a problem.....
My nephew called and my brother put him on speaker phone and we had a very good three way conversation. That made the session a lot more fun.
I was really happy that my hands knew how to work the knife and remove the right wood. I did not develop any spots that might become a blister. My hands were not stressed from the work. Even though the shape did not look like what it was supposed to be, it was a very successful session. The nice thing about carving is that I don’t need a lot of space and don’t need to pull out a whole lot of equipment to work. Out of the stuff in my basket, I just needed a knife and a strop to do my work.
I will say because I was not wearing a carving glove for protection of my hands, I put a little more concentration on where my fingers were at any time. It was not a carving that depended on my hands being in the way for any particular cut. I will have to figure out where my leather gardening gloves are, which is what I usually use as carving gloves. Nicks in gloves are better than nicks on fingers.
I hope to do some more carving next week. It is a little heady to have some form of production of any kind.
On the scarf I am making, I am on the second to last row on the width. I will then have to work the ends and can then call it finished. I am trying to figure out what to do next. I don’t want to do dishcloths, which is in cotton. I don’t want to do another scarf. Not many people to give them to down here. I won’t do anything bigger than a scarf. Too much work. I will come up with something small that can be done all over the place.
I will see what I do next week.
the rusty saw and the weathered stick of wood.
one side view. looks nothing like a rocking horse
opposite side view
partial front view
another partial front view. I think I can make this into a laying dog or cat.
handle of knife beside it holding it on the angle