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11 Finishing

Finishing our Green Man with beeswax. More on making and applying beeswax here.


| 21 May 2022 16:05

Thanks so much for the reply.
I have to say I feared as much!
I just wanted to get on with something else, so called it a day--I was treating it as a learning experience, but regretted not--as you say--just letting it hang around for a while before finishing: I might have found the will to finish off that lopsided right-hand side!
Be well!

| 21 May 2022 08:02

Michael - My experience is that once you 'finish' a carving, no matter what that is, oil, shellac, u-v acrylic varnish - whatever - the wood surface has changed in a way that re-carving the surface leaves a very obvious difference. It's like the opposite of muddy footprints on a clean floor if you can imagine such a thing.
So it's always meant I've had to re-work the whole surface, or nothing at all. Which is why I like to leave my carving naked for a while, looking for defects or things I'd like to tweak before adding the finish. I don't want to come back!

| 16 May 2022 09:28

Correction: I remember how I finished it: thin coat of shellac with beesway+BLO on top (with a toothbrush, as you show and recommend).


| 16 May 2022 09:08

Hello Chris!
A question: I carved my green man a couple of months ago. I finished him with a very thin shellac seal, followed by a couple of coats of tung or boiled linseed oil--I don't remember which--and a thicker cut coat of shellac on top.
Because of the way I was working--the carving attached to a beam with a carver's screw, and the beam placed in my leg vice, the left-hand side of the carving is far more detailed (and, generally, good that than the right). This is because I had no lighting or room on the other side of the bench, so I couldn't just turn it to face the other way in the vice. I'm going to remedy that, I hope, soon.
So my question is this: if and when I make space and lighting, and can put the beam the other way round so I can work more easily and comfortably on the right-hand side of the carving, could I start work on it again and refinish? Or would there be an unavoidable difference in colour? Thanks a lot!

| 28 November 2016 10:50

Karen - It IS a good idea to seal the whole carving; relief carvings do tend to dry out to the front but not so much through the protected side against the wall and thus can warp.
I tend not to use wax (or oil) on the backs this can leave a residue on the wall(paper etc) itself. In this case I sealed the back with a matt varnish.
Thanks for bringing up the point and apologies for not mentioning it in the video.

As for waxing Basswood: yes, I'd wax it just the same. The beeswax I am using is quite neutral in effect, unlike staining. I rarely stain carvings as end grain sucks up more of the colour than the side grain and you often end up with, to my mind anyway, an unpleasant mottled effect. The lighter the wood, the more the problem, so Basswood (UK Limewood) is one of the worst. It's not so much as the sucking up (because you can dilute stains) but the differential colour.

Whatever, if you are thinking about staining, or even waxing, your carving, do make a test on similar wood, with a similarly carved surface, before tackling the finished work. It's very disheartening to get it wrong...

| 02 August 2016 12:40

Thank you for the helpful and quick reply.

Thanks again,
Marshall Sadler

| 02 August 2016 12:15

Marshall - Escutcheon plates: I found in a DIY store among all the little packets of brass fixings. They're not always there so I grab them when I can. Bigger ones I've found online searching for lock 'furniture' and others I've made myself out of a square piece of metal, drilled and filed.

Name Plate: You want an engraving firm, the sort that will engrave trophies. First chose your Forstener bit into which the plate will sit, then have the disc made a little bit smaller. An inch diameter is my most useful size.

Name stamps: again, a search online should get you a firm that makes them. ('Name stamps' or 'name punches for wood' - do images first.) I've had mine for years, long before the internet!
I put my name on every tool - footprints in the sand. I do it last thing after commissioning almost as a ritual of possession...

| 31 July 2016 20:11

Dear Chris,
Firstly, thank you for making this project and the many more to come.
My first question is where do you get you escutcheon and name plate?
A related question(s) is in the BBC documentary you were featured on, you said that you put your name on your carving tools. How exactly do you do that? And how many of your tools do you put your name on? Some? All? Your Favorites?

Thank you for sharing your time and skills,
Marshall Sadler

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