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Old 04-16-2012, 06:18 PM
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Default Hiking Staffs - hard wood

Was trying to carve some simple designs in walking sticks.
I generally find some odd limbs on the trails I hike.
It seems my carving knives are not quite getting the cut,because the wood is too hard.
(must be made for basswod I suppose) Is there something that would work better on these hard wood projects?
Thank You
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:46 AM
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Default re: Hiking Staffs - hard wood

I suppose it could be the type of knives you are using or how sharp they are. Hard to tell. I have used knives, chisels, and gouges on hickory, black walnut, aspen, cedar, dogwood, etc and haven't had too many problems other than sometimes the wood is just harder. Sorry I'm not more help than that but I bet you get some help from some of the more experienced folks here.

Last edited by imahic; 04-17-2012 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:21 AM
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Default re: Hiking Staffs - hard wood

If your carving tools are sharp, you could try spritzing a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar on the area you are trying to carve.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: Hiking Staffs - hard wood

Also there is the issue of dirt in the wood grain. If you are finding your stick blanks on the ground, its possible that there is dirt and grit in the grain and fine cracks. Nothing dulls the edge of a carving tool like fine grit. Try washing or better yet, pressure cleaning any suspect sticks first..... And definately keep stropping as you work... every few minutes keeps the edge keen. Much easier than going too long and having to do some stone work to get your edge back.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: Hiking Staffs - hard wood

Also, try to make really thin shavings with your knife. On basswood, for example, it's easy to make a stop cut 1/8 inch deep, then shave the chip right up to the bottom of the stop cut in one more cut. In harder woods such as dry maple, your stop cut might only be 1/32 inch deep, if that much, so you need to make a much thinner cut up to the stop cut.

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Old 04-18-2012, 12:03 AM
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Default Re: Hiking Staffs - hard wood

Claude is absolutely right. The harder the wood, the smaller the bites. I've just tried ahrdwood for carving for the first time. Does not fog my goggles.
Waitpinga is absolutely right. Dust/dirt is The Kiss Of Death to a gouge. Whatever you see, you have to peel that off with a junk tool, dedicated to the process.

Note Added In Proof: My 5/35 Pfeil was so bad, had so many dings, I squared off the end with a fine oil stone and did a total regrind/sharpening. All is well. I must have got into some dirty wood, can't imagine what it could have been.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: Hiking Staffs - hard wood

You might try making all your stop cuts with a woodburning pen instead of a knife. That's a tip I got from Roy Haeger before he passed away. The hot tips are much easier to control than a cold blade and give you a nice outline to follow when painting late on. and the woodburning process can just as nicely be use for final decoration of the piece.

Hewre's a sample of Roy's work. You can see other example of this technique at his album, here. Roy Haeger's Cane and Walking Stick Carvings - Woodcarving Illustrated Photo Gallery

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Old 04-18-2012, 10:19 AM
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Default Re: Hiking Staffs - hard wood

I do not know if you are into power carving but hardwood is a good candidate for using a power carver. You can get carvng bits in all shapes and sizes. I have a lot of bits that I got from the dentist that are very small and they were free.

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Old 04-19-2012, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: Hiking Staffs - hard wood

all these suggestions, all very good, I would not have thought of any of them!
sure does get me thinkin...and doin now! I do have have a lot of projects,just waitin.
Thank You Very,Very much.
what a nice place to chat!
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: Hiking Staffs - hard wood

Morn'in Rob,

I use a jeweler's scope for my detail....would add that you might use an opti-visor or a simple magnifier to take a look at the wood. Any particles....dirt would be fairly easy to see.

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