I Chip Carved a Plague and My Sister In Law Threw Me a Curve.

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Forum topic by helluvawreck posted 07-13-2011 10:26 PM 3526 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3070 days

07-13-2011 10:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wall plaque chip carved plaque chip carving finishing chip carvings

About a week ago my family went to my Sister in Law’s house to celebrate mine and my daughter’s birthdays. I carried my chip carving tools and sat arround the swimming pool carving a plaque. This plaque is one that I carved on my river trip to the Cartecay River. However, the one that I carved for her is nearly identical to this and I don’t have a picture of the one that I carved for her. This one is finished with a couple of coats of Watco tung oil which is what I had in mind to do with the one that I was going to give to her. Unfortunately she said that she wants hers to be white. I just cannot imagine a chip carving being painted white. I believe that it would be totally ugly and that it would not even look like a carving but maybe like some cheap impression stamped into a piece of wood. I’ve seen some people put paint on wood and carve through the paint and it gives something that looks a little contemporary and not too bad if done right – but not just paint a chip carving – I think that it would look terrible. I’ve also thought about some sort of antiqued white finish partly sanded and distressed.

Unless someone has a good suggestion about finishing a plaque like this with white paint I’m just going to tell my sister in law that she’s going to have to take it the way I finish it or that I can’t let her have it. I don’t want to hurt her feelings because I love her. So, I don’t really know what to do.

I’ve been trying to teach myself how to chip carve and only use this type of finish for now. I will get into finishing after I learn how to chip carve.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

12 replies so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3789 days

#1 posted 07-13-2011 10:36 PM

Why not use wood bleach this makes it whiteish looking.Please try it on a patch first, But I use it sometimes. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3124 days

#2 posted 07-13-2011 10:46 PM

How about trying some of that Staining and Antiquing Gel that I have been using with some white acrylic paint.. It will give it a whiteish look, but still allow the grain to show through. I would think it would be similar to Alistair’s suggestion. Just giving you another option here.

I feel your pain though. Somehow a shot of Krylon seems to be almost criminal on one of your beautiful carvings.

Keep us posted.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View mpounders's profile


902 posts in 3099 days

#3 posted 07-13-2011 11:11 PM

Man, that’s a gorgeous carving! I just sort of cringe when someone is commisioning a piece of work and they insist upon something I don’t care for. I decided I just wouldn’t do it, unlees I could do it in a way that pleased both me and the customer… would rather not have something out there with my name on it that i didn’t like! You might experiment on some scrap with some heavily diluted washes of white or gray acrylic paint….i would want it thin enough so that the grain shows through. When I paint caricatures and such, I wet the wood, either dip it or spray it with a bottle, to keep the paint from spreading and to h give me an idea of what it would look like with the final finish over the paint (linseed oil or poly). It might look ok, like you said, with the carved portions the natural wood and the flat in white. Or vice versa with the carved portions a contrasting color, similar to how you see a lot osf signs done? I think you could sand it and distress it like you said and it would look good. I bet you’ll make it look good however you do it. Or just tell her they don’t come in white!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3789 days

#4 posted 07-13-2011 11:19 PM

Have anay of you ever tried wood bleach? Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3124 days

#5 posted 07-13-2011 11:25 PM

Not too long ago, I had a piece of Oak that had some greying on it. I was advised from people here that it was probably mildew and they told me how to use bleach to get rid of the grey.

I did bleach the oak for quite a bit, but it didn’t seem to lighten the wood at all, just remove the mildew.

Is there a special product that is used to bleach wood, Alistair? I think you and I are picturing the same results. Let us know what you use. I would like to know in case I want to bleach some darker wood like you say.

Thanks! :) Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2756 days

#6 posted 07-13-2011 11:41 PM

Try it in aa white wood? maybe maple?

It may be sacrilegious, but I think what you described as a contemporary style, with the white lacquer finish and then carved would be pretty nice looking. Especially with a contrasting (though not overly so) wood tone.

If you have a problem with it, I’d say to offer to carve it, but have her do the white finish herself saying “I’m not sure I can get the finish you requested”. I tend to voice ignorance and ineptitude on my part rather than do things I really can’t agree with stylistically though…. :P

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2894 days

#7 posted 07-13-2011 11:46 PM

The customer is always right?

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3262 days

#8 posted 07-14-2011 05:08 AM

Nice carving. That’s pretty good work. You would have a hard time convincing me that you were just learning. Personally, I like it on this wood like you. I think Alistair may have an idea in the bleaching technique. You may want to give that a try.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3245 days

#9 posted 07-14-2011 05:13 AM

I am with Earl.

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3070 days

#10 posted 07-14-2011 09:13 PM

Scotsman, I’ll give wood bleach some thought. Thanks

Sheila, I’ll look up that method of finish and those materials and see what’s up. I appreciate it and thanks so much for the compliment.

Mike, I really do appreciate your compliment. It means a lot coming from you and I’ll take your advice into consideration.

Thanks, Bob, Earl, and Bill for your advice and comments.

Doc, it’s always good to here from you and I really do appreciate the compliment, but I can assure you that I’m not anywhere near where I want to be with this chip carving. I have to keep on practicing.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Belg1960's profile


1076 posts in 3269 days

#11 posted 07-15-2011 12:11 AM

how about a white stain like used on a deck to allow the grain to show thru.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View rrdesigns's profile


532 posts in 3390 days

#12 posted 07-17-2011 04:31 PM

Pickling stain might give her the look she wants while still letting the wood grain show through. There are also a lot of things you can do with milk paint that won’t destroy all of your hard work.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

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