Techniques Latest Topicshttp:// Latest TopicsenFile hash marks - What's causing this? I am using hand files and getting file hash marks in certain spots.  I'm curious what is causing this.  Please see these 2 images on imgur (So we don't use CarvingPaths bandwidth on large images)


  • Is this the wood telling me to use a finer grained file?
  • Is it due to filing the end of the grain?  IE - The file digs out the softer wood but leaves the harder grain wood behind?
  • Something about my filing technique is wrong?

Also FYI this is basswood.  It's way too soft and I have switched to castello for newer pieces, but would like to finish up these old projects I started in basswood.

Thank you





4290Sat, 05 Jun 2021 21:28:12 +0000
Sealing Bone (Finish)


I was wondering if anyone can share any experiences about putting a finish on a bone to seal it?


Lets say I make a necklace that is gonna be worn close to the skin. Will it absorb moisture and oils from the body if not sealed? I have decided to put a thin layer of bees wax on the bone as a finish. (I use my dremel tool and a polishing bit)

I did notice that dirt gets caught on the wax so the item gets more dirty easily but I dont know.. if I skip the wax will the bone absorb moisture? or should I use something else? I kinda like the wax it smells nice too.... I linked a bone carving I did. It has thin layer of wax on it. I did not polish it with fine grit sandpaper beforehand because I thought the wax would make it matt looking again.. any thoughts? Im still a noob :P

Thanks for the feedback !



3675Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:23:23 +0000
Roughing out with power chiselhttp:// A while back I was talking about roughing out with a reciprocating power chisel, instead of rotary power ,with a lot of dust ,,, you have a pile of chips. I am not finished with the power chisel carving, but soon I will go to hand tools. Got this want to cave a new cicada out of Ligustrum.



3748Mon, 13 Nov 2017 02:34:13 +0000
damage controlhttp:// Not knowing where to drop this question, I thought in "techniques - how to" would be closest to my point: how do you reduce the danger of work related damage?

I carve (Proxon & smaller "dentist" type power tools) wood, bone, antler, alabaster, marble. Small statues (max 25 cm tall) or pendant/small size sculptures that can be worn. And I love working details!
The smaller ones work better if I hold them in my hand and rotate them, while working. I hold them tight and before long, I got the tendon of my left thumb really hurting. Doc says it's tendonitis.
What would you suggest I'd do to reduce future damage

3743Sat, 21 Oct 2017 18:48:03 +0000
how can i burnish ebonyhttp:// Hello
I did search the forums... long stories, I read one containing the words I keyed and discover that's not answering my question. And then another....
Not complaining, trying to call out compassion in you :-)

I work in ebony and make small, fist-size or mug size statues. But quite intricate designs.
I wasn't prepared for this (Im no to the business) but bringing them figurines to a shine takes as long as carving hem.

I use power tools, small ones.
Can anyone please make a simple recommendation about how to burnish all those small details?
I tried sand paper-ing by hand; I'm very patient but this was to  no good: maybe one facet gets shiny but right around the "corner", I cant get in with my fingers. 
One stone bur got so worn out, it became like leather or glass. That one does a bit of the work. I was thinking maybe there are ready made burs that do just that? I tried wool ones too. 

Working with ebony, have a small piece of boxwood (difficult to find in the Netherlands, everything must be ordered from abroad, the prices get astronomical). Same for tools, drills, burs whatever you call them, I must order from abroad. Ive discovered a website in Asia which sells some heads, waiting for the first order to come in.
That takes 3 weeks. Until then, can anyone help?

3734Sun, 10 Sep 2017 16:41:39 +0000
welo (hydrophane ) opal carving polishinghttp:// Can anyone direct me to a thread on this subject or if not im looking for advice on polishing more complicated welo opal carvings . Any input would be appreciated !

3704Sat, 06 May 2017 14:12:58 +0000
Drying Bonehttp://

I read a lot of things about preparing and carving bones but I don't have much info on the drying process.

How long should I dry em? Can I speed up the process ? Will my bone carvings crack if I carve em wet and then let them dry after? ( I use cow bone I get from a butcher)

any experience? Thanks!

3670Sun, 25 Dec 2016 13:59:42 +0000
The Coloring Of Engraved Bonehttp:// do bone carvings. I work with different kinds of bone. In Sweden hunting season for moose is of, but I have plenty of beef bone. Two weeks ago, I got a friendly gift of bone of wild boars. Thus, the question I have concerns bone in general, but not from a specific animal.


I am looking for a neet and cleen way for coloring engravings black vs brown. I mainly make different kinds of household items, such as handles and weaving tools, so I need something that can survive the everyday wear and tear. I am also a viking reenactor, so the items must fit a prehistoric environment. That means I prefer recepies with engredients i can get from nature, from modern inventions like acrylics and such. Not because it's better, but because it brings me closer to what I am trying to show with my gear.


I have tried pulverised charcoal (just comes of) and applying strong solutions of tea, madder and onion peels (needs boling to stay put). I have been using acetic acid when preparing the items before coloring (24%). The problem is that I want the engraving colored WITHOUT letting the entire object soak in color. Preferably, I need something I can rub into the engravings. Any recepies, anyone? Can I secure the color with wax or something?


O, and did I mention I want to be able to wash them in dishwashing liquid without the color fading? Am I asking to much now?

3619Sun, 07 Feb 2016 18:32:14 +0000
Squaring A Piece Of Stonehttp:// am working on a marble jewellery box and I am having trouble squaring the stone. My current method consist of using squares and rasps to bring the stone near square then measuring with calibres; The results have been crude and inconsistent. I was hoping a few people might share their techniques to ease my suffering. :)

3578Sun, 09 Aug 2015 23:51:13 +0000
How Do You Treat Bone? have recently done a cow bone carving sort of off the cuff without really preparing or looking into techniques etc. It worked out ok but it made me think about a few things, the above question being one of them. So how do you treat your bones?

3588Fri, 25 Sep 2015 21:18:47 +0000
Secret Weapon For Finding Curled Stickshttp:// watched a show on National Geographic where a man trained his dog to find moose antlers. Well, take a look at Trip the stick hunting dog. People ask, "Randy, how do you find all those curled sticks?" Now you know my secret!



3510Sun, 22 Feb 2015 23:28:28 +0000
'welding' Tortoiseshell? everyone,


i was just wondering if anyone on here had ever had any success at getting a really good bond when trying to laminate layers of tortoiseshell together, and if so, whether you could share any tips or help on how to do it?


I've been doing some minor experiments using some hawksbill turtle scutes i bought at auction some time ago and thus far have had no breakthroughs getting a flawless weld.


My method has been thus - scrape two pieces of tortoiseshell to a flat and clean bevelled edge, boil the tortoiseshell until soft and pliable in salted water, transfer the soft tortoiseshell to hot fresh water (in an attempt to wash off any major salt traces that might spoil the join), place the tortoiseshell with the bevelled edges of the two pieces overlapping each other between two 3mm thick pieces of softwood or ply (as is shown in all of the japanese examples of the technique), then clamp the package between two heated 5mm thick steel plates using a g clamp over the point to be fused and tighten as much as possible.


Following what the historical guides (written in english) say about the technique, i've been heating the steel plates up until they're hot enough to brown paper but not burn it.

I've only been trying to achieve fairly thin joins, up to a thickness of 2mm or so, using two or three pieces of shell, but as yet have only succeeded in creating laminations and joins with visible seams, along which the pieces can still be pried apart with a knife quite easily.


Is there something i'm missing? Not enough steam?

3486Sat, 10 Jan 2015 11:10:19 +0000
Ultrasonic Polisherhttp:// anyone tried one on Jade? Worth it for hard to reach areas and superior polishing?

3300Sun, 02 Feb 2014 05:25:33 +0000
"boreing" Ivoryhttp:// folks. I haven't been here in a while and wonder if anybody could offer me some advice.


I've decided that, in addition to making ladies jewellery out of Woolly Mammoth Ivory, I'd make some nice-looking cuff links.


An easy enough task; shape your Ivory and Araldite to the cuff link pad ! But, I'd like to carve-out a shallow, circular recess to accommodate the pad ….. for a much tidier, better quality look.


I can of course rout the recess out with my Dremel but, I'm wondering if anyone might know of a specialist tool that I could use that would be quicker. I need to create a recess about 12mm in diameter and only about 1.00mm deep.


Thank you.



3443Fri, 31 Oct 2014 23:30:14 +0000
Working with Antlerhttp:// was walking through a wash near my house when I found a shed antler; so being the thrifty person I am, I grabbed it and carried it home. I've played a little bit with carving some of the tips and found a couple things. A) I'm having a very hard time carving this; the ironwood I had was easier. Is this typical, are there ways to make this easier, or am I just doing something wrong?

And B) It's hard to clearly see any of the carving on it. Do I just need to carve deeper, or would staining it work? If so, what would any of you recommend?

1207Wed, 21 Nov 2007 00:39:02 +0000
Book reviewhttp:// was reading one of my art conservation journals yesterday and came across a review for a book I thought others might be interested in:


D.H. Soxhlet, The Art of Dyeing and Staining Marble, Artificial Stone, Bone, Horn, Ivory and Wood. Staunton, VA.:Deja Lu Press, 2003. 168 pages, spiral bound


available from Richard O. Byrne,114 Fayette St., Staunton, VA 24401 $25


The review explains that this is a reprint of a 1902 English translation of an 1899 German publication.

Dyeing and staining methods of the time are stated for many materials (mentioned in the title) used by joiners, stick and umbrella makers, turners, comb makers, etc.

The reviewer says that many of the formula would be considered hazardous today- such as exposure to mercury fumes, lead-based pigments, and so on, but there is much present which is useful. Most of the quaint, old names for chemical compounds have been updated, but many will need some cross-referencing from a modern chemical dictionary.


Thought I might get a copy to add to my little shelf of old chemical/trade handbooks.



74Wed, 23 Feb 2005 15:05:02 +0000

ive been carving for some time now and still seem to have trouble carving eyes. I have a problem with the concave of the eye also. I use a straight knife and i know this wont work for concave projects. I especially need a tool idea for small eyes, which i carve many santa ornaments. I can handle the big projects with my bigger gouges. is there some helpful ideas on what i can do?

I really enjoy all the support and help from so many woodcarvers who are willing to show there experience. Ive been ready some of the post and taking notes...

thank for your time and information, Linda in Montana

2547Tue, 06 Sep 2011 23:05:31 +0000
Is Making A Bead Carving? have been a stone bead maker since 1978 and cannot tell you how many beads I have made over the years my guess at this time is in excess of 30,000. I have decided to make large stone beads for this years obsession and while working on them this past few weeks it dawned on me that beads are really a very involved carving. I decided to document one for all of you on the carving path to see if you agree with me that in fact a bead is a carving.


First off you need to find a piece of stone that is suited for a bead, once you find the stone your initial challenge is to cut out the proper bead blank, seen in the image below the blank measured 40mm 1.6inch X 21mm .828 inch. This stone is a banded New Mexico Rhyolite, Rhyolite is a stone formed from volcanic ash and this particular piece of stone is very hard and very well suited for bead making, in fact it turned out to be one of the most smooth cutting stones I have ever encountered.




The next thing is drill a hole in this case a long hole 1.6 inch. To drill a hole like this I started out with a 1.5mm diamond drill, I then worked my way up in steps until I reached my final size of 6mm (1/4 inch). You will notice that on one end the hole is not centered, this was expected as the blank had a taper about half way down one of the sides, when laid out for drilling I knew that if I centered the hole by the time the bead was made this would disappear in grinding.





Next comes rough grinding to come up with the basic shape wanted. You will notice that the hole was so well centered in the blank that there were witness marks on opposite sides once roughed out.





Next I removed the rough grinding from an 80 mesh to 260 mesh so I could get the bead in perfect balance fo the final shaping.





All of the final shaping is done free hand on the grinder with the bead spinning using a 360 mesh wheel, this is somewhat time consuming but if your after the perfect shape in the long run it is well worth the time involved. After final shaping is done you then take the finish to the desired shine in this case the bead is finished on a worn out 600 mesh sanding belt, I think this finish lends itself to this stone and gives the bead a bit of character. After sanding I expanded the hole with a tapered 600 mesh diamond burr, in doing this there is no worry with the hole cutting the cord it is hung on.




Finished bead size 39.25mm 1.55 inch X 20mm .788 inch I am quite pleased with the results.


All my best ............... Danny

3361Mon, 05 May 2014 23:57:51 +0000
Jizai Okimono - Articulated Lobster By Ryosuke Ohtakehttp:// recent email from an old forum member pointed out a remarkable technical accomplishment by a young Japanese carver, Ryosuke Ohtake:


"I saw this today on another site I always check. It is an amazing Japanese craft called: jizai okimono. This particular person has carved a fully articulated Lobster from Boxwood. I thought perhaps you might want to share with the Forum.. There is a video as well showing the range of motion of each limb..


Take care and Happy carving!!"

3373Fri, 06 Jun 2014 01:44:44 +0000
Staining Antlerhttp:// All,


I have spent a while carving a ryusa style netsuke in antler. Antler is very lovely, but I want to pick out some details in colour (greens and browns as the carving is of an owl in an oak tree). I only want some delicate staining, I do not want to overpower the material and do not want to use surface pigment that will rub off with wear and tear. Any advice, or links to other discussions would be gratefully accepted.



3365Fri, 16 May 2014 11:48:34 +0000
Polishing Cattle Hornshttp:// everyone! does anyone have any suggestions on how to polish cattle horns and get them to a sheen without using lacquer? i've been going at them with sandpaper and some wax and have gotten them clean enough but still quite dull. any suggestions will be much appreciated :)

3360Mon, 05 May 2014 23:18:09 +0000
Heat Etching Stone On My Koi Inlayed Bowlhttp:// a couple years ago i was playing with a diamond burr that the tip had worn down. and when i touched it to a inlay that i was doing it ended up burning the stone or the super glue leaving behind a black line. then i used this to draw lines on my stone. i created some cool details to a flower creating some depth. eventuly it stoped doing that and just ran across the surface. i just finished a koi fish inlay on a bowl and i want to add detail to the surface. i had thought to do the same thing to draw the scales and folds in the fins ect... but i have no real experience burning stone. or even drawing on the stone. does anyone know anything about burning stone? or know of a marker or pen that wont run and blur with the finishes. maybe i can etch the stone and rub ink into the etched lines. any ideas?





3340Sun, 13 Apr 2014 23:13:45 +0000
How To Properly Use Gravers/scrapers For Bone Carving. all, well I have been reading in the tools section and everyone keepts talking about gravers and scrapers. I really want to take my carving skills to the next leval, but I am having a vary hard time finding any information on how to actually use gravers and scrapers, and when to use the diffrent kinds of both. Could anyone point me in the right direction? a video would be really nice!

3332Thu, 27 Mar 2014 01:16:02 +0000
New Box Tophttp:// a new box top. Walnut with a dragon fly. So far I sized the top. Now I am carving away the background ,,, the top is 3/4 thick ,, carving about half thickness away. I used the knife to cut around the dragonfly and branch. Then with the reciprocating power chisel I removed most of the background down to the depth that I want.

The reciprocating power tool helps to remove wood quickly, A Carver friend , says I am cheating when I use it, because it cut so fast, even in hard woods. I use it instead of the rotary tool which makes a lot of dust, this makes a lot of chips and shavings.

If any one wants to see more , please let me know, and any comment are welcome.



3326Fri, 14 Mar 2014 22:26:40 +0000
Potassium Permanganate on Antlerhttp:// another basket lid, this time in moose antler and ziricote (blackish exotic wood). Finally found a good source for potassium permanganate, ordered some and am giving it a try.


Potassium Permanganate Source


Clive Hallam originally told me about this stuff a number of years back, but I've never had a chance to try it until now. His antler carvings treated with it were nothing short of spectacular.


Here's the partially carved moose antler face about 2.5 inches in diameter (6.4 cm). Very white, and solid on the face side.



I mixed about half a teaspoon of the potasssium permanganate in about a cup and a half of distilled water. It mixes up into a deep royal purple liquid - looks awful to drop your carving in, but I girded up my courage and did it anyway. Soaked the carving for about 5 minutes, so not a very deep penetration. Should be able to polish some of the coloration away. That's the plan, anyway...


Here's the result:



Comes out a golden brown, with the purple liquid sitting in the low spots. I dried it off with a paper towel and all the purple liquid disappeared. Sigh of relief... I remember some characteristics of potassium permanganate from my chemistry days - it's a very strong oxidizer, there were some interesting fires and smoke when adding a drop or two of glycerin to a (small!) pile of the powder. Obviously the sterols/glycerols, proteins, carbohydrates and organics like calcium phosphate in the antler are being severely oxidized, which probably accounts for the brownish color rather than the purple. The potassium permanganate is being reduced by those aforementioned, so the garish purple color goes away.


I'll keep carving, sanding, smoothing etc, along with periodic applications of more potassium permanganate and see where it all goes. Will keep you posted.


The most interesting things are happening on the back side, where the antler is a little bit porous. The more porous the surface, the deeper the brown coloration. That's sort of how Clive's carvings were done, with areas of light and dark depending on the local antler density.



The white streak is a little residual super glue left from the lathe turning, so one should be able to mask off areas to not absorb as much potassium permanganate. Have to remember that one for future use...

800Mon, 08 Jan 2007 01:59:50 +0000