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  • Bark Carving ?

    I have a question for some of you more experienced bark carvers. When you detail carving on the eyes or noses, is there anything special that you do to prevent the bark from breaking. I usually just end up getting elmers and glueing the offending peice back on. Is there anything preventive I could do to stop this also? Also is there any good cotton wood bark suppliers out there?
    The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese

  • #2
    Re: Bark Carving ?

    Try to use a very thin blade when detailing bark you will find it is the pressure of the knife against the nose for instance that will break it off. It is because now it is the weakest point you have taken the support wood from both sides so it becomes weak. I still from time to time break the nose off at that time I decide if I will go deeper and carve another nose or glue it back on. If you glue it, it will be stronger than is was originaly and you will never know it was glued. Art the Bark Guy on this thread I have heard is the best supplier of bark at very reasonable prices. It is only the problems with shipping for me that stops me from getting it from him, being here in Canada it becomes quite expensive.
    Hope this has helped
    Colin

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    • #3
      Re: Bark Carving ?

      it happens to me when my knife is getting dull! hone your knife and see if that helps....also be sure you have stop cuts, if you make a plunge cut and don't have a stop cut and pry with your knife, you will most likely get a chip out...at least I do!

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      • #4
        Re: Bark Carving ?

        mel
        for a finish I use meltonian shoe cream (no joke).
        for the base coat I use neutral, which is clear. Most often I will apply a very heavy coat over the crucial areas and brush it in till its near to finish. Then I do the fine tuning and the waxy finish will give it a bit of stability.
        sometimes i will thin down some yellow wood glue and brush that (several coats) on and let it soak into those areas before
        I start to cut away.
        art

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        • #5
          Re: Bark Carving ?

          Wonder what crazy glue would do?

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          • #6
            Re: Bark Carving ?

            When it comes to details take small, and not too deep, cuts a little at a time. As others have said a small (detail) and very sharp knife is the key. I know that the quality of the bark has a bearing how it will carve but I've seen some very nice work on some pretty lousy pieces.

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            • #7
              Re: Bark Carving ?

              The quality of bark does have alot to do with its stability...once in awhile I run into some thats as hard as walnut...other times its like carving a sponge!

              I use a #22 exacto blade (you need the larger carving handle for this blade) for delicate areas.

              Art does have consistant good quality bark.
              http://www.owlhause.com
              http://www.picturetrail.com/owlhause/

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              • #8
                Re: Bark Carving ?

                Does Art have a website or an email address to contact him? I think that Bark quality may be one of the problems I have, the thickest I have been able to find is around 2 inches. It's so dry around here the cotton wood bark does not get very thick.
                The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese

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                • #9
                  Try Teri's site for Art

                  Mel I dont think Art has a web site but if you follow this link or Teri's web site it has a whole article on Art and his bark
                  http://www.teriembrey.com follow through the site to journeys It is a really good write up on Art.
                  Colin

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                  • #10
                    Re: Bark Carving ?

                    Art has a couple of email addresses...try this [email protected] or [email protected]

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                    • #11
                      Re: Bark Carving ?

                      Strop, strop, and then when you think your knife is sharp enough strop again. Bark is amazingly hard on knives and regular stropping is required to keep details clean and precise.

                      As for supplies, where are you located? Most of us in the Northern parts of North America can find at least one species of poplar or willow with thick ridged bark if we look for them. I have used willow, poplar, and cottonwood bark gathered locally (North Iowa) with good results.

                      I found another dead cottonwood tree today and stopped and left a note with my phone# on the farmhouse door. If I get this one I will have enough bark to last a LONG time!!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Bark Carving ?

                        Hi, have been reading about the bark carving. I knew nothing about it until I saw the posts on this forum. Would like to give it a try, do you cure the bark, or work with it green? I would imagine there is Poplar bark in this area that I could get.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Bark Carving ?

                          Hugh,

                          Most of the bark I harvest is from dead trees so it is dry already but I have also taken 'flakes' from a live tree and it carved the same as the bark I had collected from dead trees.

                          As I said before most members of the poplar family; black poplar, balsam poplar, and cottonwood, and some willows produce thick ridged bark that is useful for carving.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Bark Carving ?

                            Well being in Arizona, the only bark I get around here is the neighbors dogs! lol :

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                            • #15
                              Re: Bark Carving ?

                              Art is definitely our bark expert and a talented artist without a doubt. I have used super glue to stabilize but having watched Art with the shoe cream I didn't know he was getting a better effect so that is my next plan. All the advice given is good, sharp knives for sure, but true sometimes the bark is just too skunky to work with. makes great fire wood then. Art doesn't sell skunky bark though.
                              Barb

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