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Numb thumb

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    Jason Matisheck

    Hello from the Denver area. I’ve just started to try chip carving but have run into a problem. After a 15-30 minute session my thumb is partially numb and stays that way for a couple days. I am using the Flexcut knife and I tried filing a flat on the handle for my thumb to register like Marty’s knives have, but no luck. I’m pretty sure the knife is sharp. I’m cutting basswood. I’m trying to be sure I’m pushing with my hand and not my thumb. This is the first time I’ve had an issue like this using hand tools. Has anyone else experienced this and found a solution? I think I may have to switch to the eastern European style using a stab knife, like Tatiana Baldina does. Are there any good sources of instruction in that style, other than Tatiana’s book?

    Thanks for any info.


    Marty Leenhouts

    This from David Bass…

    Just adding my two cents. When I first started I used to have an iron grip on mine and would up with sore fingers and forearm. You may want to loosen your grip a little bit. Also I have found that some basswood is harder to cut than others. So, if it seems  like you are trying to carve a brick use Marty’s method of spraying it with a water/alcohol mix, which could soften it a bit.


    I hope that helps.



    Pam Nichols

    What is the measurement of this mix that you are talking about??

    William D. Womack

    Use water and alcohol about 50/50 Water will soak in and alcohol will evaporate the surface. If real hard use a little more water and let it sit a bit.

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