Another Tagua frog

I know that I promised something different, but instead I have more of the same.  It’s good to have an extra frog,  in case one should hop away.  I carved this  tagua nut with only one tool, the 11 mm skew chisel. After I carved it I finished it with sandpaper to bring out that nice glow.


My main goal here was to challenge myself to make do, with less. This isn’t always practical with some other materials.  When carving wood for instance, it’s nice to have  tools with a curved sweep to better handle the grain.  If you want to do  larger carvings  it would be better to have larger deep gouges for sketching out and shallow gouges for smoothing the deeper gouge marks. After that, even shallower gouges are used for a tooled  finish. Then smaller tools are used for details, you get my point.  All this means more maintenance, tools need sharpened and polished, high carbon tool steel tends to rust easily, so that must be dealt with.  However, Tagua carvers require very few tools. It is a unique material and in its own way is as much a pleasure to work with as wood. No grain means it can be sliced in any direction, it also means it can hold an amazing amount of detail.  Tagua has its own charm, which can not be fully appreciated until you hold it in your  hand.  running ones fingers over the smooth finished surface and inspecting all of the minute detail that the material can hold. I have heard it referred to as an “ignoble material”.  But I wonder… what could be a more  noble purpose for the lowly Yarina palm nut than being a substitute for elephant ivory?  I can’t think of one…. And I’ll bet  that the elephants agree.



3 Responses to “Another Tagua frog”

  1. 1 Merryl Bustin December 19, 2009 at 1:37 am

    I have begun to work with tagua nuts recently. I am wondering what, if anything, you use to finish or seal the carvings. Any advice?


  1. 1 tagua nut carving - Page 3 - Woodwork Forums Trackback on January 27, 2010 at 8:14 am

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