Random Tips & Techniques from "PattyePoo"

We get quite a number of requests from people who design dolls and they want to make patterns. We encourage them to do this for a couple of reasons. First, it's a rewarding experience. Secondly, everytime we post a picture of someone's doll other people e-mail wanting the pattern.

The last time this came up I decided to write a web page describing our own experience and our opinion about patterns. Click here to see that page.

Someone was asking PattyePoo if she liked woodcarving. The answer was that she tried it but gave up because she didn't like the sight of blood.

In response, the other gal asked, "in that case, if I take a class, how many bandaids should I carry?" PattyePoo's advice:
Take a bunch of little ones and one large one. If you use the large one, it's time to quit.

Someone recently asked where to get sawdust for stuffing doll bodies. I responded "Oh yeah, out in my garage, under my table saw, there's a big black trash sack full of sawdust!"

But I'm just kiddin. The sack IS there, but you wouldn't want THAT sawdust.

Seriously, it should be easy to get sawdust. Quality dust might be another question.

The wood would need to have been cut with a relatively course toothed blade. I use a very fine tooth blade to get satin smooth edges and the dust is very very fine, almost like flour.

I'd suggest trying lumber yards or even your local home improvement center. Most of those places would probably just give you a supply. And they usually cut with a large, multi-purpose toothed blade.

On a recent trip to Home Depot I had them cut a board for me. They have an indoor cutting rig just for this purpose. They have another one for plywood panels. Of course, they also have a vacuum system to suck up the dust.

Most of the wood used for common projects is pine. The sawdust has a nice fragrance, but it can also be sticky if the sap or moisture content is too high. The sap may also cause the dust to clump over time. It might even be a fire hazzard.

I would avoid sawdust that came from plywood, particle board or flake board. Those things are loaded with glue and other junk, and some of it releases formaldehyde and other fumes.

Of course, if you have a table saw, or a friend with a table saw, it's fairly easy to create and collect sawdust. Like I mentioned, I keep a big black trash sack clipped under my saw. It does a good job of collecting the dust and also keeps it clean (and keeps the cats out of it).

The best sawdust will be made by cross cutting the wood. Ripping with the grain can produce a longer chip. Be sure to use a sharp blade to avoid burning and the associated smell. Use an inexpensive, large tooth blade to make large chips.

Select the wood of your choice but insure that it's dry. As mentioned, pine smells great but can have a high resin content that may yield a sticky sawdust that might clump. Hardwoods would produce the dryest dust but some wood (willow and gum) can smell terrible.

If YOU are a primitive art lover, drop us an e-mail. We want to learn who's looking and what they want.

If you're a pattern designer we DEFINITELY want to talk to you. It may cost you nothing to be listed on our web site so there's no reason to wait. Send an e-mail, phone us at (989) 891-9860, fax to (989) 686-8016, or write to:
Homespun Peddler
600 W. Midland St.
Bay City, MI 48706

For more information send e-mail to the Peddler.

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