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work with rifflers

Hi Mary,

In a number of lessons, you allude to the use of riffler and needle files to clean up in places after carving, but I think I've only seen you use them on camera once or twice.  I'd be interested in a lesson on when to use them, how to use them and what kinds and shapes of rifflers and coarseness are useful.  I know you see abraisives and files as secondary alternatives to clean carving with gouges, but they seem to have a place in your work.  Thanks.

- Bill Pierce

steven manning and Michael Duncan have reacted to this post.
steven manningMichael Duncan

Hi Bill,

I think an entire lesson on cleaning up cuts without carving gouges would make great instruction. Will let this mull over in my mind to see what other tricks I can share. Thanks!

Rex Hansen has reacted to this post.
Rex Hansen

Hello Mary, I do only deep relief carving so I try to remove tool marks from the background under leaves, sometimes on the bottom side of leaves and branches themselves.  Impossible to get even micro carving tools in some spots.  Small diamond files, especially of a fine grit, are great.  They remove wood efficiently, without leaving grit like sandpaper, there are many shapes for most difficult areas, they don't break easily, are not prohibitively expensive and can shape delicate details. I agree that this would be an excellent topic for you to include in a future finishing video as suggested by Bill.

I have not thoroughly searched the website, as I am new to it, but perhaps a few comments on a tool I still use occasionally....the glue bottle.  I was once paid to repair an old religious carving that was missing a finger on one of the carved figures.  I admit that I still use the fast curing glues when am not watching the wood grain as I should or am too aggressive on a delicate part.  If I see a crack in the carving that is weak, a toothpick with a drop of glue can be inserted to strengthen the area.  No one seems to want to admit to using glue or maybe it too obvious a solution but someone should I think.

Many carving books have finishing tips and techniques.  I always use boiled linseed oil with a little polyurethane and mineral spirits but there are many more that could be commented on that I am sure you have used.

Thanks, Gary Qualley

Yes Yes! Cleaning up carvings would make a great lesson! It could be 2 parts - one on how to carve into difficult areas so you do not have a cleanup night mare, and another on using riffler files.

I have 2 sets of riffler files, a coarse one, which is hard to use, and a fine one that just doesn't seem to do much. Knowing what's available in these tools would be great.