Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Little Help From My Friends

Have you ever wondered what the big deal is about Twitter—what's it good for? Permit me to offer this example.

I'm working on a little relief carving and even though I have tiny chisels and gouges, I'm having trouble getting the background flat and smooth. There are instances where I must carve against the grain, and that's producing some rough results.

Enter Twitter.

I pitched this question this morning: Carving peeps, is there a way to flatten or sand a relief carving's background that has very small areas? Any tricks? I can't get a chisel in there.

Less than an hour later I had five viable suggestions.

What does this mean?
1. Twitter is an awesome networking tool.
2. Woodworkers are clever folks.
3. A lot of my friends goof off at work (and so do I!).

So, what was their advice?
1. File a finish nail and use it as a scraper.
2. Wrap sandpaper around the end of a small dowel.
3. Use rifflers, specifically Grobet brand.
4. Use a dremel tool to grind a bevel on a small allen wrench for use in a mini router plane.
5. Try netsuke carving tools.

Those answers jumpstarted my own brain activity and I came up with two ideas: grinding a dental tool to use as a scraper; and use adhesive-backed sandpaper on the bottom of a fine artist's paint spatula, which can be trimmed to any shape and made as small as necessary with metal cutters.

Feel free to offer your advice with this carving dilemma.
And with that, I'm off to the shop!