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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving My tikis are a cracking.... UPDATE...
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My tikis are a cracking.... UPDATE...
Lake Surfer
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 21, 2002
Posts: 3379
From: Milwaukee, WI
Posted: 2004-01-25 11:01 pm   Permalink

Anyone who has seen my recent carvings has read of my cracking wood... I'm pretty upset over these... especially the one with the split all the down it.



I never had this problem in the summer and fall months. I think the wood dried slower and more evenly outside. I've had this wood somewhat wet and drying since November in a basement that's about 50 - 40 degrees. Most of these guys were wet when carved, and unfortunately didn't seal the ends of the logs, both uncarved and carved. Thought they would be fine... now I'm paying. A lot of time down the drain, and these may not be marketable. I may give some wood filler a try in some shallow areas, but I haven't been happy in the past at how it takes stain, even though they claim it is stainable. I also noticed that once I get a crack or split, wacking away and carving the wood makes it split more... ARRRRG!

I know I should have sealed the ends, and will be more dilligent in the future... BK, you had mentioned the 1/4" deep cut in the back to relieve the cracking... it may be too late for these (?) and should I use this method on the next ones?

I know you like a few cracks to give it that "look" but these are pretty extreme.

Learning my lesson the hard way...




[ This Message was edited by: Lake Surfer on 2004-01-25 23:03 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Lake Surfer on 2004-03-22 00:28 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Lake Surfer on 2004-04-14 00:23 ]


 
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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3591
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2004-01-25 11:37 pm   Permalink

I'd say, Lake, aside from the one with the very deep crack I'd sell any and all of those. That's a tiki, and that's the nature of wood. I could show you pics in the Oceanic Arts catalog of tikis with more and deeper cracks than that. And a tiki without a crack almost doesn't look right in my book. Sealing the ends helps as it slows the drying a lot; wood loses 80 percent of it's moisture through the cut ends. As for the groove down the back, when I do so (only if I need to be totally sure on a pole that's going to clearly be against a wall) I'll carve one straight down from top to bottom, and usually about an inch or more deep. What that does is channel the stress to the groove as the wood dries. Wood pulls apart on itself in a pie shape as it dries, so this gives the wood some breathing room and the cracking to the front if any is very subtle. Again as far as cracking in general, that's wood. Kiln dried, semi green, or green as moss, if it's still in log form it will check and crack. Don't sweat it!

 
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OceaOtica
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 29, 2003
Posts: 909
From: near Atlanta, Georgia
Posted: 2004-01-25 11:49 pm   Permalink

BK, being a buyer and amateur carver, i dig cracks in a finished tiki.
I was wondering if any of you carvers have used "peg," polyethelene glycol 1000? i read about it in an older woodcarving technique book that i have. a soak and heat method that is supposed to be, or was, a cure all method for splitting problems in carvings. thought i would throw it out there for this thread


 
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Lake Surfer
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 21, 2002
Posts: 3379
From: Milwaukee, WI
Posted: 2004-01-26 12:20 am   Permalink

Mahalo BK, you made me feel a bit better... it still stresses me out though. Mrs. Lake was going nuts the other day... "What are you going to do with those now, they're all cracked?!?! No one will want those!"

You make a good point, mentioning other cracked "classic" tikis. Still doesn't make most of the Midwestern potential buyers any more sure about buying a cracked wood carving. But I have even seen larger carvings with cracks also... a catering business I saw at a recent trade show had a carved chef about 4 feet tall and he had a crack running along the length of his side. I have also noticed large pine logs used as roof supports, both structural and decorative, are all cracked and split.

I, like you, try to be a perfectionist at these, and I am my worst critic. I guess I will have to settle for a few of these along with the one's that do come out unscathed. I will seal the ends from now on though. But thanks for your support and encouragement... with a dark stain the cracks probably won't show as much.

Should I recommend these as indoor tikis only... the cracks might not weather the elements as well as a solid chunk 'o wood....?

Again... Many Mahalos!

[ This Message was edited by: Lake Surfer on 2004-01-26 00:25 ]


 
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TikiGardener
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Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1361
From: 1st website dedicated to Tiki Gardens
Posted: 2004-01-26 01:31 am   Permalink

You can always feel free to send any cracked tikis to the Tiki Gardener Home For Tikis With Crack Anxiety.


 
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FLOUNDERart
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 1140
From: Orlando Florida
Posted: 2004-01-26 06:37 am   Permalink

You mentioned the stain not taking to wood filler. Well here is your chance to try something different. If the crack is that bad, fill it and try painting it with acrylics instead of stain. Hell you may just discover a way of finishing your tikis better than the way your doing it now. My tiki was painted with dark brown acrylic than I sanded it losely to take off some of the paint. I then painted it with a burnt sienna wash. In my opinion nothing is ever ruined. There is always a way to fix art. You need to remember your art is yours and there are no rules. We expect to see the severly cracked tiki completed.
_________________
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Benzart
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Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10365
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2004-01-26 06:52 am   Permalink

Lakesurfer, suffering wood cracks and wise cracks as well....
During the Winter, where ever you are, the humidity is Very Low, and Anything with moisture content will Lose a lot Wood, Human skin, sinuses, you name it.
If you try to Patch the crack, it will Always Look Patched. You have to take into account what the Proposed final product will be. If it is to be a fine Indoor piece, you need to use at least Mostly cured , stable wood.For and Outdoor Statue/Tiki type piece, you can use fresh wood and Expect Cracking as moisture is sucked out of the log.To minimize the cracks there are several things you can "Cure" the wood with. Tikitanked mentioned Peg which is mostly radiator coolant/freeze protector, but the best thing to do is Select wood that does not dry out so fast(Large Opened grains like Pines), and let the wood cure as long as possible. Another thing is Where you carve the wood and how long it has been in that room or building. If you take a log from outdoors and bring it inside where it is Warm and cozy, it will dry out too fast and crack badly.
Now, Don't worry about the cracks, just finish the piece as planned originally and leave the cracks there.
Several coats of varnish either Oil or Latex will seal the open ends (the whole carving is an open end) and slow the cracking.Every carver goes through this same process, don't worry, as you can see, we all still want that Tiki, cracks and all.


 
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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3591
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2004-01-26 08:32 am   Permalink

Summer cut/ winter cut wood seems to be different, too...I'd say the best logs are in-between, but you can seldom dictate what that sawmill or those tree trimmers will bring you. But a tiki without a crack just ain't a tiki in my book.

 
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#54
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 21, 2004
Posts: 27
Posted: 2004-01-26 08:43 am   Permalink

are there any methods of getting the wood to crack more?

 
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Rorysm
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 17, 2003
Posts: 161
Posted: 2004-01-26 09:04 am   Permalink

I'll give you $5 plus shipping to kentucky for that worthless, cracked piece of crap. Just kiddin'... it's still quite nice. where are you located? I might be able to make it up sometime to check out your tiki's.

 
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Lake Surfer
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 21, 2002
Posts: 3379
From: Milwaukee, WI
Posted: 2004-01-26 10:39 am   Permalink

Thanks guys for the tips... I'll work with what I got and take all the info into account. Winter does seem like a rough time here to carve.... dry air and not to mention the studio is pretty cold... no heat in this old basement.

Benzart, you mentioned the grain on the pine... makes a ton of sense since I just recently (2 months) got these new chunks of Blue Spruce and have yet to work with pine in the winter. My birch isn't cracking quite as bad as the pine.

I learn as I go... there's a lot of different types of wood and a lot to learn about them... Over time I'll learn which ones work best for me...


 
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Benzart
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10365
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2004-01-26 6:18 pm   Permalink

You Got it. "Learn as you go" and don't be afraid to ask ?'s along the way.
Way to go


 
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tikifish
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2720
From: Toronto,Canada
Posted: 2004-01-27 06:43 am   Permalink

I like the cracks. If the pieces were stained dark brown it would make them look more antique and the cracks would look natural.

I'M A CRACK ADDICT!


 
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Jungle Trader
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 04, 2003
Posts: 3736
From: Trader's Jungle Outpost, Turlock, Ca.
Posted: 2004-01-27 08:08 am   Permalink

Lake Surfer Dude, have you tried letting the wood cure before you carve?

if they cracked right down the ass... it would be perfect.

[ This Message was edited by: jungletrader on 2004-01-27 08:09 ]


 
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Lake Surfer
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 21, 2002
Posts: 3379
From: Milwaukee, WI
Posted: 2004-01-27 11:15 am   Permalink

I have let them cure, some longer than others... its difficult to know exactly when it is fully dry without kiln drying the logs... sometimes I judge roughly by weight... wood will more than likely crack even when dry, especially in an environment of extremes like the Midwest...

Like I said... its all a life lesson... sometimes harder to learn at times...

Tikifish... they all have to be fine sanded and stained yet... I'm waiting for warmer temps before staining in the basement... it never dries correctly in temps below 70... you make a good point though!

[ This Message was edited by: Lake Surfer on 2004-01-27 11:17 ]


 
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