gourd art tools
tools for the gourd artist

The Flexcut provides excellent tools for the carver in you. These top of the line cutters, gouges, etc. allow you the control you need to make precision cuts on gourds or wood. Perfect for relief carving.

Gourd art woodburners The Razertip line of woodburners and pens offer the control and speed you need for all of your woodburning projects. Razertips come with an excellent warranty and a complete line of optional pens and tips.
gourd art engravers The Paragraver is an ultra high speed drill shaped like a felt tip pen that can be used to engrave and carve any design on any surface. It works on wood, glass, metal, porcelain, ceramics, and even eggshells. The company's motto is "if you can trace a line, you can engrave like a pro." One of the secrets to the ease of engraving is the unique stencil system that allows a person to engrave any image that can be photocopied using an ordinary copy machine or laser printer.
This is the perfect tool for doing detail work using 3/32" or 1/8" bits. The Optima 2 Plus comes complete with your choice of hand piece and it is reversible, allowing the user to use certain types of bits in either direction. Changing carving bits is a breeze with the new quick change collet mechanism, just twist to change bits. The motor has excellent torque at both low and high speeds. With virtually no vibration and true running collets, you will be able to do fine detail like the professionals.
The Razaire 530 is an excellent dust control system. At 11" x 11" x 6", it is by far the smallest, quietest, most powerful and versatile portable dust collector ever made for workshop dust and particle control.
The above tools as well as more common hand tools, such as razor knives, files, etc. are among the tools
of choice for gourd artist Mary Hogue. The Paragraver can be purchased at Profitable Hobbies.
The other tools can be purchased at The Treeline.

Basics of Gourd Health

The following information is available at the American Gourd Society.

When working with gourds, the following common sense measures and easy-to-find products will help keep you healthy and happily crafting.

Gloves
Avoid direct skin contact with moldy gourds which have not yet been cleaned. Some people also cannot handle cleaned gourds without gloves. A metallic taste in the mouth is the first sign of this tactile-taste problem. Vinyl gloves like those used by the health industry can be purchased by the box at your local pharmacies and large chain stores. When scrubbing gourds, dishwashing gloves are recommended.

Mask or Respirator
Airborne dust particles and mold spores from gourds should be avoided just like any other type of airborne particulate. A mask or respirator designed to prevent inhalation of these minute particles should be worn when cleaning the outside surface, sanding, cutting, and cleaning inside surfaces of a gourd. Mary also recommends using a good dust collection system, such as the Razaire. It utilizes a double filter system and an impeller style fan that quickly draws in the dust.

Other Suggestions
Work with gourds outside whenever possible. If you must work inside, make sure you have good ventilation and a dust control system is strongly recommended. Dust particles and mold spores will cling to clothing and hair. After working with gourds in the cleaning, sanding, cutting, and carving stages, change into clean clothes and wash the ones you were wearing. Keeping your hair covered while stirring up gourd dust or mold is also a good preventive measure. If you are new to gourds, you will soon learn your sensitivities to them (if any), and the measures youíll need to take when working with them. The first signs of a problem will most likely be a metallic taste in the mouth, fits of coughing, or sneezing with runny eyes and nose as in an allergy attack. The measures and protective items mentioned above are the first steps to maintaining good health while working with gourds. They should be followed even if you donít notice any sensitivity at all. Like many other pollutants in the environment we come in contact with throughout our lives, gourds donít always send up an immediate signal that they are causing a problem. Gourds are a wonderful natural resource to work with, providing many creative opportunities and practical uses. So letís all gourd in good health!

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