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Finishing a Chip Carving

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  • Finishing a Chip Carving

    How would you guys recommend I finish a chip carving, with all those tight little corners I wasn't sure how to go about it.

    Thanks,
    Joe

  • #2
    Re: Finishing a Chip Carving

    Finishing a chip carving is just as important as the carving. A poor finishing job will make the painstaking effort of the carving project look junky. There are several ways to finish your chip work. The two most common are the clear finish and the stained finish. I use a polyurethane spray finish in satin. First apply two light coats and the after it has dried lightly sand with a 220 grit sandpaper. You can now add stain. Use a polyurethane gel stain like MInwax gel stain. After the stain has dried you can add several more coats of spray finish to your taste. If you prefer not to stain, just add as many coats of polyurethane finish as you see fit for a natural look. Try this approach on a practice piece first to make sure you are happy with the results. Dennis and Todd Moor have some great books and videos on the subject of chip carving. Check out their web site at www.chippingaway.com.

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    • #3
      Re: Finishing a Chip Carving

      Thanks Ric, I appreciate it.

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      • #4
        Re: Finishing a Chip Carving

        ??? Ric, you put the spray finish on BEFORE the stain? Doesn't that seal the wood, preventing the stain from actually getting into the wood?

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        • #5
          Re: Finishing a Chip Carving

          It gives a more even color if you have different grains,like on the sides of boxes.And when you wipe it the chipcuts will be darker then the smooth surface .It makes it stand out real well.

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          • #6
            Re: Finishing a Chip Carving

            Captn...Actually in chip carving applying the stain after a couple coats of spray polyurethane makes the finished product quite pleasant. The trick is to use polyurethane stain with the polyurethane spray so they react well together. This is done to seal the wood prior to staining. Especially when you use basswood. Remember trying to stain an end grain on a project? Well every chip you remove results in an end grain, and thus if you tried to stain the project without sealing it first it turns out all blotchy. I tried to brush on a liquid sealer on a project and ended up with little puddles in the chip valley's. After the stain has dried, several more coats of the spray finish deepens the color and really catches those shadows that are so important in chip carving. I have only been chip carving for a few months, but find it relaxing and fun.

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            • #7
              Re: Finishing a Chip Carving

              Ric701, thanks for the tip! I learn something every day!

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              • #8
                Re: Finishing a Chip Carving

                :-/

                I GOING TO TRY THIS ON A 2 FOOT X 2 INCH PIECE OF BASSWOOD THAT HAS 8 TURTTLES RESTING ON IT. IE; A BUNCH OF TURTTLES ON A LOG. I WANT TO CLARIFY THE STEPS, 1) SEAL WITH POLY SPRAY FINISH (NOT A WOOD SEALER) 2) SAND W/220 3) STAIN WITH A POLY GEL STAIN.

                IS THIS OK ? ( I'AM CONFUSED WITH THE SATIN
                AS A FINISH )

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                • #9
                  Re: Finishing a Chip Carving

                  Fingers...you got it right. A satin finish is the best choice because a gloss finish does not capture the light and generate the shadows that the chip carving needs to give it depth. Another concept that I recently used was to stain the wood before I started chip carving and the chip turn out natural with the background in stain. This adds a nice effect as well. Good luck..

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                  • #10
                    Re: Finishing a Chip Carving

                    ??? Has anyone tried using the Min Wax pre-stain conditioner? This is supposed to prevent the soft wood and end grain from absorbing too much stain and leaving an un-even color.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Finishing a Chip Carving

                      I have used a couple methods--spray Deft (lacquer) works very well and I find that it does not get as yellow as using a polyurethane. Use 2-3 light coats sanding with 300-600 grit sandpaper in between. THEN use a paste wax putting it on with your finger and rubbing it in until it feels warm. You will end up with a satiny smooth finish that is just a pleasure to hold. The other method is to use an oil varnish (without any polyurethane in it. Sand as above and wax or rub down with a crumpled brown paper bag to burnish it.
                      Be sure you have sanded your project BEFORE you start carving too. I sand it to 600, burnish it with a paper bag and then put my pattern on. This also makes it easier to get the pencil marks off.

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