|Waxed Paper Uses- by Gary Martin
I have found old fashioned waxed paper to be useful for several situations.
Its useful to lay down in areas where I don't want overspray. I've caused
myself grief more than once by letting unobserved paint and glue runs dry to
paper or even the bench. With waxed paper this problem is much easier to
deal with. I have also used it to make templates for spraying fish. Nothing
sticks to it!! And its cheap.
the noise of your rotary tool by
I started carving with a Dremel hanging from a pole in the basement. The
flex arm being relatively short put the tool in a position where I wondered
if I wouldn't soon go deaf. I was able to markedly dampen the noise by
inverting a 5-gal plastic bucket, I cut a slot in the back so it would
slide over the pole encasing the Dremel. The noise really disappeared when I
tied a towel to the pole and took a piece of an old entry floor mat
and glued it to the inside of the bucket with liquid nails (leave the back
slot open so the sound has another exit and you can remove the bucket as
needed). Depending on your situation I'm sure a similar sound proofing
device, divider or board can be made.
Detail On "Tough-to-Paint" Fish by Ed Walicki
When faced with the task of painting fish with intricate spot and
vermiculation patterns I often rely on my 35mm slide projector to lend a
hand. By using a slide image of the same fish and projecting the
image stream of light onto your carving and adjusting the focal length
to size the image to the same size as your carving, you can then lightly
pencil in the detail. I often use this method when replicating
fish for clients that want a carving of a fish they caught and released
and they only have a photo for me to work from. I slip the photo
into a opaque projector (when using a print or photo,
for slides use a slide projector) and shoot the image
onto a wall covered in white paper. I then dial in the image to the
exact size and trace the pattern to use for the carving.
Once the carving is completed and primed white I then project the
colored image back onto the carving and draw in my detail boundaries
that I will use to paint the fish. So in theory, if the clients
fish had 173 spots and one scar.....so will the final paint job.
You would be surprised what a difference this method can make in your
final paint job.
Knowing how well this works I load my camera with slide film prior to
any reference fishing trips and pose my specimens in poses I often use
in my carvings. This way one fish can supply a painting template
of sorts for any size fish of the same species. I will shoot for
example, one flat straight pose, one tail up, one tail down. For a
top view, one straight, one curved left or right (you can always flip
the slide for left or right) then maybe a few head close ups and back
into the water they go. I found slide film has much richer colors
than using print film and ordering slides to made from it.
Diamond & Ruby Burrs by J.R. Scott
If you have a collection or old burrs laying around that have become
gummed up over the years or just want to make your new burrs glisten,
drop them to soak in an ultrasonic cleaner like the type use to clean jewelry.
The combination of cleaner and ultrasonic waves will clean the cutting
surface and restore their performance.
Pattern Lines to a Roughout or Pre-cut Blank by Ed Walicki
As we all learn at the start, trying to draw our pattern lines on a
curved wood surface can be frustrating and often leads to misplaced
lines due to expanded surface area. This problem often rears its
ugly for many when trying to transfer the lines of the head features to
the wood blank or roughout. A simple method I use in class with my
students is to cut the paper pattern out and then with a woodburner set
on high temp I use a knife tip to trace the pattern lines of the
head. The hot tip cuts through the paper pattern with ease leaving
a cut in the pattern slightly wider than the inked lines. I am
careful to leave small points of the line intact to prevent the pattern
from falling apart as I burn the lines in place. Once completed
simply position the paper pattern on the side of the fish, aligning the
outer silhouette of the carving to align the outer edge of the
pattern. Then with a can of black or red spray paint I hit the
burned openings in the pattern with a quick burst of paint. The
paint falls straight through the pattern holes onto the rounded surface
leaving the pattern lines perfectly in place every time. Do this
again if during the carving process you remove a line or two by
mistake. The curvature of the wood has no bearing on the placement
of the lines using this method. Then to save time just allow the
paper to dry and flip the pattern over to the other side and do the same
thing. The openings in the pattern will work for both sides.
A real time saver. No more pin wheels or carbon paper to transfer
IV Poles by Ed Walicki
Using power carving equipment in places other than your shop can be a
problem at times if it is the type that hangs. I found a simple
method to solve this problem. An occasional visit to a local hospitals
equipment department can often yield a free IV pole or two for the
asking. Sure some of
them are missing a wheel or two or have a few scratches but they are perfect to
hang your equipment from.
I snapped on a 24" tool magnet on one of mine and it holds all my
burrs I am using for a project securely. They adjust to various
heights, roll around easy and are bottom heavy making the pole almost
impossible to knock over while carving.
I have collected several over the last few years. None of them
ever in any need of major repair. Some are like new others needed
a new set of castors costing around $20. The point is, most hospitals just throw these away
as new replacements arrive. Stop by your local hospital one day
and either pick one up or have them put your name on a list to call
when they have some to throw away. I love them for painting
around the house. I hang a gallon of paint on one hook and the
trim color on the other and just wheel it around behind me. On a
ladder? no problem, most raise to around 7 foot easily.
You can bet when the time comes and I find myself in the hospital for
care in my golden years there will be a Mastercarver hanging side by
side with my IV medicine on that pole!
on scales....in a can! by Ed Walicki
Aerosol spray paint cans are by far the best method I have found over the years compared to an
airbrush for veil painting. They lay down paint a wet coat of paint without
allot of air blowing overspray all over
the shop. A nice even layer of color can be achieved with a little practice.
The key is getting a true lacquer product. The market now is full of fast drying enamels and waterbased products and if you don't
read the labels closely they could be used by accident. For sealing a carving I use
clear lacquer sanding sealer. As a basecoat I prefer lacquer automotive spray primers
in gray and white, sometimes red oxide depending on the fish.
Never apply enamel when lacquer has been / or will be used.
On bright silver fish I always use white primer so the top coat colors appear
clean and bright.
Warmwater fish like bass and panfish where I like a softer blend I use gray. For fish
like browns and brookies where I want a warm look to the final color I like the red oxide primer. The
color of the base coat always influences the final top coat color. Years ago when I did
allot of auto body work, this became apparent. I learned very quickly if you
repainted a body panel using factory mixed colors over a different color
primer than what was used on the rest of the car, the final color would
never match. The base coat can either
reflect light or absorb it, the color you choose to base coat your carving can enhance
or inhibit your final colors.
The next time you are playing in paint, spray a few different base colors on
a scrap piece of paper, then spray the colors you plan to paint your carving with over each of the base colors and note the difference.
Then choose a base color that produces the best results.
Using a Chrome base color, even in lacquer is not always a good choice.
Most chrome colors over a wood colored background appear dull, sort of a
silvery gray at best unless you just flood the surface and block all influence of the wood color. If you were
to apply a few light coats of flat white followed by the chrome silver it would appear
cleaner and brighter.
My all time favorite "chrome looking" silver is made by Dupli-Color in a
lacquer called GM Ultra Metallic. All my cans say "Truck Touch-up" because I believe it was a
1976 Chevy truck color. It makes a scale so bright it takes a second place only to
silver foil. Much brighter than Poly Tran's bright silver in my opinion. I also favor
the Dupli-Color line
of lacquer primers in the colors I mentioned above. And without sounding
like a commercial for Dupli-Color they have a unique spray nozzle that sprays a fine mist of
paint for a nice finish, called the "EasyTouch Fanspray™".
Much like using an airbrush. Some of the other brands use a cheap nozzle that just squirts
paint for the sake of getting it out of the can. They seem to have
perfected aerosol application of paints.
BTW - Since I wrote this they added a color called Instant Gold fast
drying lacquer that is just as nice as the silver.
Veil Scales by Ed Walicki
Those of you that have ever tried to duplicate the
bright chrome looking scales of
a summer run steelhead or salmon know how difficult finding a silver
paint that looks like chrome can be. Many silver paints come off
with a brushed aluminum look at best, not the mirror look of natural
scales on these fish. When using the foil veil method to scale a
"smoothie" spray a very light coat of adhesive on the veil and
allow it to flash off. Then secure the wedding veil in
place on the carving. Once the
veil is in position I spray a light coat of gold leaf adhesive over the
areas I want silver or gold scales. The veil will act as a mask
only allowing the adhesive to contact the carving where the veil holes
are open. Once the adhesive dries to the touch carefully lay micro thin
sheets of silver foil or gold leaf, the type used by sign painters, over the entire
area you want scaled. Using light pressure simply press the metal
film into the openings in the veil. Once all the metal foil is
pressed in place I remove the veil with a quick tug, which in turn removes all the metal
foil that was on the veil webbing leaving behind the foil that was in
the small openings of the veil on the carving. What you are left
with are chrome looking, individual scales. If any excess adhesive
remains on the carving a light wipe with mineral spirits (over properly
cured and dried paint) will remove the
dried glue without harming the foil scales. Often no cleaning is necessary. Then using
transparent colors complete the remaining paint job and seal with a wet
coat of clear finish.
Driftwood by Ed Walicki
Many of us use natural driftwood in our habitat displays, those of us
that do know how hard that perfect piece can be to find. Years ago
I experimented with different ways to carve realistic looking wood that
fit my needs better than looking for a particular piece along a
lakeshore. I stumbled into a very fast and easy way to create
aged/weathered looking driftwood. The fastest is to find a old
tree root of some sort or a downed limb. Carve off the bark and
grind the piece to shape using a coarse carbide burr. Don't worry
about leaving a rough finish, just rough it to shape. Once the
desired shape is achieved, using a hand held propane torch burn the
surface of the wood fairly deep, more so on the ends of the wood.
After the wood has burned a short while take a stiff wire brush (I
use the type you would use to clean your BBQ grill) and brush
away all the charring and what is left behind is a weathered looking
grain in the wood. The soft areas burn away faster leaving the
dark raised grain lines. The wood will almost return to the
original color with a little wire brushing. I then redo areas I
would like a little more "weathering" with the torch and wire
brush until I have the desired look.
Once completed just apply a few coats of sealer and
paint. I prefer a medium value gray base coat with several brown
wash's of color to achieve a wet submerged log look. Don't go for
the light gray weathered driftwood look, wood underwater does not look
The second method is to carve the driftwood from a large piece of
wood, I prefer cedar. Cut out the rough shape on the band saw and
then carve in some twists and knots. Again don't worry about
bandsaw marks or any rough areas, the burning will soften all the
detail. Then just as above, do a little fire carving to achieve
the final look, seal and paint.
In both cases as the wood heats up it will check and shrink leaving
you nice looking splits and detail in the wood. For a hollowed out
looking stump you would just hold the torch toward the end of the log
for a few minutes to remove wood from the core of the log. It is
really easy to shape wood with fire from a torch.
Rocks by Ed Walicki
A fast easy way to paint wooden rocks to look real is to
paint on a wet coat of
Gesso. It can be tinted in several different base colors by adding
a small amount of acrylic paint. Then, while the gesso is still
wet spatter other colors onto the Gesso rock using an old toothbrush and
your thumbnail. Once the colors are applied I spray the rock with
a fine mist of water in a handheld spray bottle. Not so much water
you wash away the color, but just enough to create a bleed of color onto
of the Gesso. Gesso does not absorb the acrylics when it is wet
therefore you will have a wet surface for the colors to move around on
through capillary action creating some real nice marble effects.
By accident I made a real looking Petoskey stone by painting the base
coat a light gray Gesso blend. Then with a toothbrush loaded with
a dark gray I spatter finished the rock using larger drops of
paint. One quick mist of water and the drops bled out without
touching each other. The rock was an exact match to a real Petoskey
stone. Experiment with different colors and see what you get, the
key is to do this over a wet coat of gesso. My favorites are
browns and grays over a white Gesso background.
Moss by Ed Walicki
Soak a piece of basswood an hour or so in a gallon of boiling RIT cloth dye.
I like the forest green with a few ounces of yellow added to lighten it up a shade
since it looks too black/green to me just out of the bottle. After it is
colored deep into the wood fibers I let it cool and dry a few hours. Then
grind on it with a course Kutzall or Typhoon burr to create mounds of moss. The wet
wood doesn't turn to dust as you carve it semi wet. Rolls of thin stringy
fibers will develop that look like moss or algae. I then wash it out to loose the dust
and let it dry on my habitat pieces. Placing it wet will allow you to shape it
and when it dries it looks like it was growing on the rocks and driftwood. And
best of all nobody can give you any grief in competition because it isn't wood.
That model railroad stuff sold to replicate moss is an invitation for trouble in competition.
your Carving Securely by Ed Walicki
A quick and easy way of mounting your carving to the base is to use a
slide post system. Most hobby shops sell square brass tubing in
small diameters and square steel stock that will slide into the brass
tube. Once you determine a mounting point for your carving drill a
hole into the fish just large enough to insert a short piece of square
brass tubing and epoxy it into place. Be careful not to allow the
epoxy to fill the tube. Then once hardened insert a small piece of
matching steel rod into the brass tube and position the carving near the
base mounting point. Determine the angle necessary to drill a hole
to receive the steel rod in the habitat support. Fill the hole
with epoxy and slide the carving containing the steel rod into the hole
and position the angle of the carving, hold it in place for a few minutes
until the epoxy sets up. Then slowly slide the carving off the
steal rod which remains in the habitat support. Now you have a
secure slide mount that will not allow the fish to slide around or move
out of position. And, if you ever need to ship the carving or
transport it in any way simply slide the fish from the mount and wrap it
separately for shipping.
Teeth from the Garden by Tom Lewis
Many times the perfect replacement fish teeth are right under our
nose, literally. Have you tried rose thorns? Just trim them to the right length.
I have a rambling rose next to my house that almost exactly matches brookie teeth! You can glue
these in individually or mount them on a thin shaving or whatever and stick 'em in as a set.
Scale Tipping by Dave Dewalt
I think I've discovered a trick that not only saves time, but improves the
appearance of scale tipping (a rare combination!).
In the areas where I've covered up my veil-painted scales with coats of paint, I've
been taking a small piece of veil (about 6 rows wide by 20 rows long), and
holding it over the area I'm tipping so it functions as a guide. I just touch my brush
to the fish through each "hole" and get a nice scale pattern. Can stick it on with
masking tape, but the tape tends to pull off any previous tipping paint, even if it's
dried for a few days. You can buy a spray-on product in any
art store called "remount" that will help in this case.
Remount is a low level adhesive that is meant to be used to temporarily
stick things in place and allow them to be reposition easily. The
low level of adhesiveness doesn't bother the painted surface. By doing a small section at a time, it's easy to adjust the
pattern around the dorsal fin, etc. Again, maybe it's obvious, but it works so well
I thought I'd share it . . .
Eye Holes by Timothy Zerbel
Placing eyes is can be a simple procedure. There are a couple rules I follow when doing
this, Number one, predrilled eyeholes have always lead me to disaster. The holes may be
perfect and square but reality dictates the sculpture will never ever be
perfectly symmetrical. The answer to that is work with the final shape. I take 2 pins and I draw out where one
eye should be. I then find the center point of that eye and slide a pin into the wood at 90
degrees so it sticks out straight. After that I take the second pin and I try to make it match
the first one. After I think I have good placement I push it in. and check the
alignment of both pins from all angles. If it is not quite right, I start over with the second pin. Once that
is done I have a center point to drill and it is always correct. Its that simple.
Teeth by J.R. Scott
Here are 3 methods that I have read, heard of or done. Use modeling paste to raise peaks
up using a toothpick or a dental tool directly in the mouth and allow it to cure a few days.
Jo Sonya modeling paste works well for this but there are probably other
brands out there that work just as well. You may or may not have to add water to the paste to get the right
Another involves casting teeth using a bar of soap for the form and silicone
sealer for the teeth. Punch holes in a bar of soap with a tool of the appropriate
size of the teeth and in the pattern of the mouth. Press the silicone into the holes leaving plenty on
top for strength. Allow this to cure a few days. Remove and trim down the excess and
attach the dentures in the fish's mouth. If you compete in open class with either of these methods
you maybe disqualified as this is another of those "gray" areas.
To make them of wood, carve out a wooden denture and insert it in the mouth , best use Tupelo wood for this fine
detailing. One almost has to cut open part of the head to expose the inner mouth except on
the largest of fish, and reattach the the part of the head removed.
Teeth by Ed Walicki
For larger fish teeth I add cabasil to clear fiberglass resin to thicken
it. The addition of the cabasil leaves the clear resin a cloudy
white color. The thicker consistency allows me to me to fashion larger teeth,
using the same methods as one would using silicone. 24 hours later
they will cure up hard with a cloudy white color. In fiberglass they can be
shaped with a high speed burr if necessary.
For large salmon teeth I often color the resin a
soft pink with a little touch of red lacquer in the resin and lay in all the lower canine teeth
using the touch and lift method and allow them to cure off overnight.
mix up another batch of clear resin and cabasil then cover the pink teeth with a second
application of thickened resin and let it cure. The result is a creamy white tooth with a pink core that is an exact
match to the semi translucent canine teeth of most salmon. It looks like the
natural nerve ending inside the tooth. It looks great, with a little practice on
scrap wood you will be able to create some of the most realistic teeth possible. If
they appear too stark simply spray a few coats of Polytranspar Gold
Transparent Toner to yellow them a shade or two.
Detail by Timothy Zerbel
Spotting the brown has challenged many of us with an airbrush. I don't
personally feel the problem is in the compressor or the airbrush. Browns
have nice crisp lines on their spots and halos as well. You can accomplish this effect with NO
overspray with a little practice.
Here's the challenge- Thinning the paint down to the point that it will dry quickly and retarding the
drying time just enough to allow you to actually blow a circle of paint onto the carving.
The "spider legs" will occur if your paint is drying to quickly on the
edge of your circle and in some spots its not. What you are looking for is a nice even drying time. When your
airbrush is so close to the work as with spot detail the surrounding air blowing over the
paint is making the solvents evaporate to quickly Answer= Retard the drying time!
Adding retarder will also prevent the problem with tip clogging. Might I suggest
switching to lacquer for this spotting detail. Scale Detail Black, Black umber, Wet look
gloss, Retarder and Thinner is all you need. you can do this for under 20 bucks. Then take
half an hour and practice using different mixtures of these paints to achieve the desired
result. The key is in the amount of retarder and the amount of air pressure. Play with it and
tell me how it goes.
Sand by Ed Walicki
Years ago I noticed a large pile of what looked like sand from a ant hill at the
base of a sycamore tree in my backyard. After a closer look it realized it was
wood dust. Coarse dust that looked and felt like sand. The tree was being attacked by
black ants and the sand looking sawdust was digested wood or for lack of a better
I scooped up the pile and placed it in a zip lock bag to use later as sand for a
carving. After looking around the yard I found two more trees with the same stuff.
I let the ants go until I collected a large supply of the "ant sand" and then sprayed
all but one of the trees to kill the ants. Don't want to loose my resource!
Looking to use my new "ant sand" I tried it out on a few test pieces of wood and
found it looked wet when it was glued to wood and when watered down glue was
sprayed on top of it beads would form as the wood sand repelled the glue. A few
days later I took my son to a local hobby shop for something or other and saw
them designing a train track layout with a powdered sand they sold. I stood by
watching and noticed they had several bottles of rubbing alcohol out. I asked what
it was used for, did they have a drinking problem they would like to discuss? they
said it was to glue the sand in place.....now they had my full attention.
After looking at other train displays I noticed all the sand looked like sand and
didn't look wet from the glue, it was actually flat looking and very level. I watched
them sprinkle the sand around the display and then they poured the alcohol into
cheap spray bottles and soaked the fake sand with sprays of alcohol. They then
loaded up syringes with a matte finish white glue and began dropping little drops of
watery glue around the display to bond the sand to the base. I was amazed how
well it worked. The alcohol presoaked the sand without disturbing it and the same
alcohol sucked up the glue with a wicking action that swept through the sand. One
drop of glue bled out to a two inch circle down into the sand. The alcohol then evaporated with the water used
to thin the glue and whole diorama hardened in a few hours with no wet look. It looked like dry sand. It was so solid you could rub
it and not work one piece of sand loose. I tried it at home with my new ant sand and it
work the same way, perfect. No shine, no wet spotting, no clumping, no loose
sand, and a rock hard surface the next morning.
I returned a week later and thanked them for the info and shared my ant sand find
with them and they laughed. They said they make all the sand they need by putting
cat litter in a blender on high for 30 seconds and use the alcohol glue method to
secure it in place. Cat litter is just clay and the quick blender job just shatters the
preformed pellets into tiny rocks and sand looking powder. They said they
don't use real sand because it wont absorb the glue and form a solid bond, clay soaks
up glue and water and bonds to the base. Probably why the ant sand
worked better than real sand.
So the next time you need to glue down some sawdust or ant sand remember the alcohol / glue trick.
Fishing Scene by Cecil Baird
I don't know what the rules are for wood carving but a very convincing ice fishing
scene can be made by using a white plastic kitchen cutting board, clear silicone
caulking, artificial snow (from WASCO), Plexiglas, black felt, and
Cut an ice fishing hole in the plastic after cutting the board to fit in the
base (I can get any size board I want from an aquaculture
supplier). Glue a piece of Plexiglas larger than the hole underneath with black felt under that. After you make your slushy
areas by mixing the silicone and snow sprinkle on snow in other areas (you can
add boot prints). Place a small foam float cut in half horizontally in
the center of the hole already attached to line and a pole resting beside the hole. Add fish on the ice
and enjoy. Be sure to have a glass case over it as snow gets dirty and
Enviro-Tex gets dusty.
Quick Disconnect by Ed Walicki
Tired of fooling around changing airbrushes out when using one air
hose? Ken Miller of Millers Art Supply introduced me to a air line
quick disconnect. Similar in design to a miniature air tool
release, it makes swapping out airbrushes or cleaning them a
snap....literally. Great for when you have a few brushes you want
to work with at the same time. Check with your local art
store for these quick disconnects, they are worth the money.
Casting Urethane.....Great Stuff!! by Ed Walicki
Liquid urethane can be used for many applications.
Capable of withstanding temperatures up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit liquid
urethane can be used to construct woodburning pens. Due to it’s
bonding strength and penetration ability into wood liquid urethane is
perfect for strengthening weak or damaged areas to a plastic like finish
that will never peel or disintegrate over time. Other commercial wood
fillers bond to the surface of wood, liquid urethane penetrates into the
wood surface becoming part of the wood fibers. Minutes later the
repaired area may be sanded and finished (cured
urethane will not detail with a wood burner)
as desired. Liquid urethane may also be used to waterproof wood for
exterior use, simply rub in wet and wipe off quickly and allow to cure.
Mixing: Mix liquid urethane at a rate of 1:1 by
volume in a clean container. Stir quickly and use at once. Never mix
more than you can use in 60 seconds. It will begin to harden in one
minute and achieve full cure strength in less than an hour. Several
small pours are recommended to reduce waste. Once cured it may be sanded
and shaped as desired. During the curing process some smoke may develop
from the high curing temperatures and proper ventilation is required. As
with all chemicals, care must be taken to avoid contact with skin and
Clean-UP: Soap and water will remove liquid
urethane prior to mixing both components together. Once it begins to gel
nothing will dissolve or stop the chemical reaction. It becomes
plastic-like in less than a minute and resists all solvents at that
point. Any clean up necessary should be done at once prior to gelling,
Setting Fins: Liquid urethane is perfect for setting fins. Simply
open fin sockets to the necessary size to accept the fin inserts. Fill
the socket with liquid urethane and quickly install and position fin
insert. Instantly the liquid urethane will penetrate the wood insert and
surrounding socket forming a solid bond in less than a minute. Using
this method will insure the fins never develop seam cracks as the
carving ages, a problem common with using conventional plastic fillers
to set fins.
Waterproofing wood: Place liquid urethane in
the freezer for 30 minutes to chill. This will slow the set time
considerable allowing you a longer working time before it gels. Using a
disposable brush or a clean rag rub the liquid urethane into the wood
surface and wipe away excess at once. The liquid urethane will be
absorbed into the wood fibers forming a durable plastic like surface to
the wood once cured. This surface can be sanded and painted as desired.
Strengthening weak areas: Brush liquid urethane
onto thin, damaged or weak areas of your carving to strengthen or
replace damaged wood fibers. Multiple coats may be applied within
minutes of each other to build up a damaged area. Once cured simply sand
to shape. This method prevents wood from breaking on grain lines and
makes the repaired area stronger than the surrounding area.
Casting Parts: Liquid urethane is perfect for
casting small parts and can be mixed with many different fillers for
color and strength variations. Liquid urethane requires a mold release
agent on all mold making materials except when used in silicone molds.
No release agent is needed with silicone molds.
Woodburning Pens: Due to liquid urethanes
ability to withstand high temperatures it is a perfect filler to use in
the construction of burning pens. Simply position internal pen
components and pour in liquid urethane to lock them in place
permanently. Liquid urethane once cured will not conduct electricity so
protecting any bare wires from exposure is not necessary.
Glue: Liquid urethane is perfect for gluing
many types of plastic, wood, metal, and concrete on contact. Mix a small
amount, brush on both parts to be joined and clamp in place for 5
minutes. The chemical bond is permanent and water / solvent resistant.
paint from drying up in the paint/airbrush bottles by Ed Walicki
Ever open a
color of airbrush paint you used a few months ago only to find it dried
up from the small amount of air left in the bottle? Or left
paint in a airbrush bottle and it dried up from air entering through the
vent hole in the cap? Well, with this simple trick you can prevent that
from ever happening again.
Purchase a can of dusting air like that used to clean off delicate
parts, sold in an office supply store. These cans are full of CO2
gas, a chemical that is heavier than air and will not allow paint to dry
in its presence.
are finished painting spray a quick burst of air from the can into the
paint bottle. the CO2 will fill the bottle and displace the air
creating a layer of CO2 on the surface of the paint. CO2 has no
adverse effect on the paint, it is used as a propellant in spray paint
cans today for this same reason. These air dusting cans make it
easy to seal off paint stored in airbrush bottles. You simply
stick the plastic straw on the can into the paint tube of the bottle and
press the button on the can. The CO2 is forced into the bottle
purging any paint that has accumulated in the tube. After the CO2
bubbles in the bottle from the paint draw tube for a few seconds the
bottle is ready to store until next use.
Spray Can Nozzles Clean by Don Frank
Spray can nozzles can be really bad about clogging, especially thick heavy
pigmented paints like Kilz. After you are done spraying, instead of turning
the can upside down to clear the nozzle, pull the nozzle off the can and
place it on a can of WD-40. Spray for a second and then replace it on the
paint can. Next time you use the paint, the nozzle will be clean. Just make
sure you spray once into the air to remove any residual WD-40. This works
great. Wish I had know about it 20 years ago.
Glove by Ed Walicki
If your hands go numb after a while power carving like mine try one
of the new anti-vibration gloves that are on the market, they really
work. I use one all the time on my right hand while carving, since
I carve with my right hand. The high speed vibration that develops
while carving is absorbed by the soft rubber padding of the glove
instead of the nerves and muscles of your hand. I can now carve
for hours with no loss of feeling while using the glove. What is
nice about the glove is they fit so well you don't even know you are
wearing one. The finger tips are cut off so you still have a sense
of touch while carving. The material breaths well so your hand
does not get sweaty as well. These gloves are available from Wood
Carver Supply at 1-800-284-6229 for around $16.
Gloss Coating Second to None...by Ed Walicki
For those looking for the ultimate in gloss for their carvings and a finish
that remains flexible give Krylons Triple Thick Clear Glaze a try.
It is crystal clear and will not yellow over time like most other gloss finishes
will. The best feature of all is the flexibility. Most
lacquers become brittle over time and as your carving expands and
contracts with temperature changes the finish can crack, known as
"crazy cracks." Triple thick will stretch with your
carving and prevent cracking. It dries to a "hard to the touch'
finish in a few minutes and with a diamond bright gloss. One coat equals
three coats of regular clear lacquer. It is available in most any
hardware or craft store that sells the Krylon brand name. the part
number is #0500. If your local dealer does not stock it ask them to
order you a case of it on their next order. they come in small
cases of 6 and the price can range from $4-8 per can.
Note: Since I wrote this piece
some carvers have experienced problems using old stock. It sprayed
from the can like Silly String! So I recommend you make sure you
can hear the agitator ball when the can is shaken and it would hurt to
fire off a few test sprays in the store when nobody is looking. I
have yet to experience this condition because I buy mine from a local
art and craft store that sells it off the shelf as fast as they get it
in. Others haven't been so lucky. Also
keep in mind this finish cannot be sprayed over with any other type of
paint, it will not stick. It MUST only be used for a final gloss
Compressor On/Off Switch by Ed Walicki
Have a tankless compressor that only runs when the power switch is
on? Tired of listening to the noise when you are between colors or
cleaning the airbrush?
Plug your compressor into a momentary contact switch like a simple
on/off foot pedal. Now when you need air just step on the foot
pedal, when you are done release the pedal. No more excessive
noise while painting. Note: The foot
operated switch MUST BE an on/off switch. A variable speed
foot pedal like the type used in power carving will burn up your
compressor, they are not designed for variable power. Sears sells
a nice one for $20. Once you use one for this you will buy more to
use on your bandsaw, table saw, drill press. etc. They are a great
safety feature as well, if something goes wrong just lift your foot to
stop the operation instead of fumbling around for an off button.
Real Looking Rocks by Ed Walicki
Just as with making your own driftwood, making rocks with fire is
just as realistic and easy to do. I rough out the rocks on the
bandsaw and carve some character into them using a course carbide
burr. Carve them fast and rough, don't worry about gouge marks or
saw marks. When you are done they should look like peeled
potatoes, or whatever shape you are looking to create. Once done
take them outside and set them on an old BBQ grate and with a propane
torch set them on fire. Burn the surface to remove any
imperfections on the entire rock. The longer you allow them to
burn the smoother the detail will be. I generally just scorch them
a few minutes on both sides. Then with a stiff wire brush I scrub
off the charred wood, leaving a raised grain pattern that looks exactly
like a weather rock. One coat of sealer to kill the smell,
followed by a coat of wet gesso and water washes of color. The end
result is a realistic rock in both texture and shape.
Color Study Pad by Ed
Take some patterns to a local printing shop (Kinkos, CopyMax, or the
like) and have then shrink the patterns to the size of a small
tablet. Have them run off a few dozen copies and bind them into a
small booklet for you to use in the field to take color notes. I
made a few of these books for Trout & Salmon, Bass and Panfish and
one for saltwater fish for those times I visit the Zoo or the Pet
Shop. It's nice to have a basic outline of a fish to take notes,
especially when used with a color chart mentioned below.
Reference Chart by Ed Walicki
Toss a color chart of the brand of paint you use in your tackle box or fly vest. Then the next time you land a fish you can compare
colors in the fish to colors on your chart and write a quick paint
schedule for your next carving. You would be surprised how much
this can help your painting techniques. I wish the paint people
would get smart and make fishing hats with their color chips on them
instead of paper brochures! Just one of those things that makes
you wonder why somebody hasn't already thought of this.
Fly Wings by Ed Walicki
I have several ways to pull off wings...so to say. The easiest by far is to use maple leaf
spinners that fall from the trees. They have raised veining and are paper thin. I press them
in an old book and allow them to dry. Then you just trim them to shape,
insert and paint....done.
Another method, draw in veins on rice paper and brush on a coat of clear
Elmer's glue to seal
and firm up the wing.
Another method, buy some thin, and I mean very thin pieces of maple you would find in
a model airplane hobby shop work well for making wood wings. I carve them to shape
by grinding away some surface wood leaving raised veins in the wing then I boil them for a
few minutes to raise the grain to give the wing a soft velvet look when painted.
Or for the most realistic wings possible, search the web for dragon
an image search feature that works well. Choose the dragonfly that suits your
needs. Then download the high res image to your hardrive and open
it in a photo editing program like Photoshop, Corel Draw, Image
Composer, ect. and resize the print size of the image to the actual size
of a real dragonfly. Then on a piece of transparent film print the
image in color and simply cut out the wings. You will get a
transparent wing with actual coloration already done. Carve and
paint a wood body, make some legs from copper wire and insert the wings,
You can even run the thin sheets of wood I mentioned above through
your color printer by taping the wood to a piece of paper or just
feeding it in by itself and let the printer do the painting for
you. Now, if anybody from Hewlett Packard is reading this call me,
I have an idea for a HP Fish Painter I would like to run past you.
on Dragon Fly Wings by Jim Roberts
Take real dragonfly wings collected from the bug screen of your car and photocopy them onto OHP
transparency film at Office Depot. Cut out, paint & use. This works well for
other insects as well (butterflies incl) and I see nothing in the IWFCA rules that forbids it.
There will be times when you will want to carve a fish shown on a
pattern in a slightly different pose. When that time arrives there
is a simple way of using that pattern to carve hundreds of different
poses from one pattern. Purchase a roll or a few large sheets of
closed cell foam, I use the foam Sears sells as tool box drawer liners
that is about 3/8" thick. Cut out the top and side pattern
profiles and transfer the pattern outlines to the foam. Cut out
the foam pattern with your woodburner or scissors, a woodburner on high
cuts through foam like a hot knife in butter! Separate the
pieces and place the pattern on your wood block. Bend the foam pattern
to any shape desired, you will not lose or alter any body proportions
with this process. Tail up, tail down, curved left, curved
right, anything is possible and all from one single pattern. Once
the desired pose is obtained simply pin the foam side pattern down to
hold it in place and do the same thing with the top profile
pattern. A great thing about this method is if you heavily
animate the top profile the pattern length shortens somewhat, to correct
for the loss of length due to animation simply stretch the foam pattern
to the needed length, small amounts will never be noticed in a top
profile, try that with a paper pattern. Once the foam pattern is pined
in place draw around the pattern with a pencil. Next, cut away the
excess wood with a bandsaw and begin your carving! I use
this method allot when carving a stream of trout all in different poses
and all from the same pattern. I have even used this method to
carve a stringer of perch that all fit draped over each other by using a
foam top profile to layer all the fish in different poses for a natural
stacked look. And best of all you now have a multi-use pattern
that will last forever so store it in a place you wont forget easy.
Tipping Pens for paint. by Glen Butler
I have tried several methods of tipping the fish scales with silver or gold when painting the
burned scales. I used a liner brush and then tried a fine tipped marking pen. The pen
worked for awhile, but tended to clog and once in a while it discharged a blob of paint. I
now use one of the old fashioned calligrapher pens which have removable metal tips.
These come in various sizes and work well (but don't press too hard or you may scratch
the painted surface). They are easy to clean and, unlike marking pens, one tip can be used
for any color.
Fool Proof Eye
Protection from Jeff Leonard
Hey, have you ever painted for hours only to ruin all your hard work
chipping paint while cleaning off the eye? Well, I tried quite a few eye
protectors out there. I even have used latex mold building compound and
Vaseline. They work okay but I always break a sweat carefully scoring
the edge of the eye and trying to get that stuff off in one piece is
next to impossible for me anyway. Gets you nervous just thinking about
it, huh? Well, I think I have found a way that I can't even mess up.
Take round a piece of clay, just about a large as the eye itself and
about 1/8 " thick. Press the clay lightly on the pupil working it
neatly out toward the edge. Presto, your done! No more worries about
getting the masking compound or liquid eye protector on your sculpting
epoxy or even the eye socket itself, what you see is what you get. Then
you are finished your masterpiece gently remove the clay, lightly buff
the eye and gloss away.
I have performed this feat successfully even after drinking huge
amounts of coffee. ;)
I hope this helps somebody out there out. Good Luck!
P.S. I have to give credit to my friend Ron Reynolds, a superb wildlife
artist, for showing me this idea.
Tip Build-up While Spraying by Ed Walicki
Since switching over from lacquer to water acrylics I noticed while
spraying water acrylic paints through my airbrush I would experience a
distorted spray pattern due to the build up of dried paint on the tip of
the needle. Sometimes getting this dried paint off would be
difficult and require disassembly. I found that by removing the
needle and applying a good coat of automotive type paste wax and buffing
it smooth from time to time would prevent dried paint from sticking.
I would also do the same to the air cap that surrounded the needle at
the tip of the airbrush. Once this was done I no longer had a
problem with build up. Keep in mind this only works with water
based acrylics, lacquer solvents will strip away the wax coating.
And Storing Paint from Ed Walicki
How many of us over the years accidentally mixed up a color that we
would of given anything to reproduce again from adding a little of this
and a little of that. That one of a kind match to your reference
color...and no idea how it evolved. Giving some thought to how
paint stores mix house paint gallon after gallon, all exactly the same I
decided to use that principle on a smaller scale. I began using
large syringes to store my pre-thinned water acrylics. Available
at every drug store for less than a dollar each They are
transparent and provide accurate measurements down the side,
making 1cc measurement easy and dispensing color clean and quick.
Using a large bore eighteen gauge needle allowed even the heaviest of metallics
to flow from the syringe with ease without any dripping while
at rest on my bench. Once I finished squirting one cc of
this, and four cc's of that, I simply replaced the protective cap on the
needle and stored the syringe. I have been doing this for years
and have never had paint dry in the syringe since there is no air
contacting the paint. I would get some settling from time to time
which was easily corrected by drawing some air into the syringe and
shaking the paint vigorously. Once mixed simply point the
needle to the ceiling and push the plunger until all the air is expelled
and paint flows from the needle. Once I mixed the correct value of
colors I was planning to use I put them also in syringes and labeled
them for use. If I was going to spray a particular fish I
would simply remove the pre-mixed syringes from my drawer and squirt
some paint into the color cup of my airbrush. Any unused paint is
quickly drawn back into the syringe from the color cup between color
changes, no waste!!
Carving Burrs by Ed Walicki
I often lost tiny burrs from my bench while carving. I owned all
the fancy display cases, however only spent time replacing the burrs I
was using after I finished carving, by then most had fallen on the
floor. I purchased a magnetic tool holder at a local hardware
store. It was a long magnetic strip (24") and strong enough
to hold a large hammer. I fastened the strip to the edge of my
work bench, now between burr changes I simply toss the bit it the
direction of the magnet and it takes over from there. The
magnet is so strong it will literally take the burrs from my hand as it
passes by. No more searching the floor for tiny diamond burrs.
Incandescent Light To Show Up Detail from Ed Walicki
While carving light colored wood under florescent lighting it is often
difficult to see the detail I am carving, and because of this I used to
over carve soft areas. I found that by using a clamp on style
light with a medium wattage incandescent bulb positioned at an angle to
my work I could cast shadows across the surface making the soft detail
stand out as I worked. These lights have a bendable
"snake" style shaft for easy positioning in all angles and can
be clamped to your bench or chair.
Aligning Fish Eye Holes from Ed Walicki
Grinding fish eye holes can be frustrating at times, too large, too
small. I found that by gluing a glass eye of the proper size to a
nail head with 5-minute epoxy I had a tool that allowed me to quickly
check the eye holes as I worked. Because this worked so well I
made up a set for all sizes from 4mm-22mm, and use them with each
carving. By using them in pairs at the same time you can
quickly check the alignment using the nail portion extending from the
eye, simply look down over the top of the fish and see that the nails
for one straight line across. If not adjust as necessary by moving
one eye back and the other forward until they align.
Pectoral & Pelvic Fins While Carving from Tom Wolf
Holding these fins by the base can be difficult while carving. By
cutting the fins out in pairs you will always have a handle to hold on
to. After detailing simply separate them and install.
Without Overspray by Ed Walicki
Using an airbrush to spray crisp details has always been a difficult
task for me. The spray pattern always left a soft edge of overspray
instead of the hard edge I was trying to create. A friend in the
auto body repair business gave me a product called
"Liquid-Mask" that they use for protecting emblems and small
trim pieces from overspray. You simply brush it on places you want
protected and spray your paint. Once the paint is dried
simply wash off the liquid mask with water. I tried it with
lacquer and it worked great!! Worried this might not work with water
based paints since you have to wash it off and in turn might wash off
the painted areas you just sprayed I decided to try the same technique
using rubber cement over water based acrylic paint. It worked
perfect, once it dried I could peel it away with no effect to the paint
it covered. Rubber cement will not work with lacquer because of
the solvents in lacquer, but the combination of the two products will
cover all your painting mask needs. Liquid Mask is available in any
automotive paint supply store and rubber cement is available most
Pike Teeth from Ed Walicki
Here's a trick for creating those toothy pads on a pikes tongue.
Take a fresh bar of hand soap (only because the fresher it is the
softer it is) and with a toothpick, or airbrush
needle poke hundreds of holes in the soap surface, all the same depth
and very close together in an area of the size you need to cover in your
carving. Try and make all your holes at the same angle.
I like to mark the needle with a piece of tape so I pierce the soap
evenly on each hole. Once this is done work a thin layer of white
silicone (tub and tile type works fine, found in any hardware store,
try and find the "paintable" type...paint wont stick to pure
silicone) into the hole by pressing it firmly into the surface with
your thumb. Once you are confident every hole is filled with
silicone apply a thicker layer on top of the last and set it aside to
cure for 48 hours. After it has cured simply peel off the
toothy pad and trim it to your desired shape. I like to cut the
second layer away with a razor blade to reduce the thickness to a
membrane of teeth. Trial fit the pads in place then glue them in
using the same silicone, glue will not stick to silicone, it only sticks
to itself. Last, spray a very thinned out coat of yellow to
kill the stark white appearance, since most pike don't have very good
Head Details by Ed Walicki
Those areas of the head you want to have a hard smooth surface on like
the maxillary bone, girdle, top of the head and around the eye are
easily created by brushing on a coat of wood glue. The glue dries
with a hard plastic like finish eliminating any fuzzing in these smooth
areas that have no texture. Blend the edges by brushing them with
water to reduce the glue viscosity. This works great for adipose