first time cutting a gourd - blades? dust? stain?

choppersmomOctober 12, 2004

Hi -

I am new to carving and cutting goards, but not to goard growing! I have a dozen or so dry goards that I grew several years ago to use for decorations. I've tried a few things, like painting with acrylics, (paint just peeled off) but I've seen these lovely deep looking stains, so I think I will try some colored wood stain I have, and maybe leather stain.. where do I get that? A few things I've read say that you need a respirator because the gourd has some mold etc.. is that necessary? I have no allergies or asthma... the main question, can I use a scroll saw blade to cut by hand? I saw these gourds carved like jack o lanterns, and that is what I'd like to try. I see some of you using pumpkin carver blades.. .are you talking about those cheap plastic and metal ones you get in a childs carving kit? are they sharp enough? I don't really want to invest in expensive tools and respirators until I see if I like doing this... I've had great luck growing these things, but now what do I do???? :)

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lmorgie(z6 Oklahoma)

I paint with acrylics and have great luck. But you have to seal with an indoor outdoor glossy poly spray. I get my leather dyes at Tandy leather supplies in Tulsa, Ok. I don't know if Tandys is nation wide or not. So just look up leather stores in your area. I used my regular jig saw but it's so big that you can't get into small places. So I purchased a gourd saw from the Canning Company and I love it. That will cost you some money however. Just cut a slice with exacto knife and place jig saw blade in slice and go from there.

Here is a link that might be useful: my southwest gourd art

    Bookmark   October 12, 2004 at 9:41PM
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caseyst_sc

About the dust: Yes, use a respirator or a mask at the very least, simply because when you inhale the dust you're inhaling the mold, which can cause you terrible lung problems and sinus problems. Doesn't matter if you're allergic or not, asthma or not, gourds do have their dangerous side. Easy enough to protect yourself, though. Do your work outside, set up a fan, always wear breathing protection. You don't want one of these infections... I've heard several gourd people who didn't take care keeping the infections for *months*.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2004 at 10:12PM
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Lillie1441(b3 TX)

When I first started working with gourds I had no idea about the molds and respiratory problems they can cause. I was cutting and sanding and scraping like crazy,having a good old time! After a few days I started having headaches daily,something out of the ordinary for me.I ended up getting a whopper of a sinus infection,but had no idea why.After about a month of working on the gourds and having the ongoing sinus infection and daily headaches,I accidently ran across an article about the safety measures one should take when working on gourds.I now wear a mask when cutting and cleaning and when possible do the work outside.
I use acrylics and a sealer on my gourds also.Some gourds have a waxy coating on them and paint will not adhere to that.So far all but a few of the small ones that I have worked on haven't had that coating.If they do soak them for 20-30 minutes in warm water with a little dish detergent added and scrape them with a knife.
You can also use colored pencils(map colors)for a more subtle color,pastels and many different dyes.You can order the dyes off the internet.You can do a Google search and find lots of information.Be prepared,gourds are addictive!
Happy gourding!!!.................Lillie

Here is a link that might be useful: Gourd supplies

    Bookmark   October 12, 2004 at 11:08PM
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FireFightersMoM(Z6OR)

Boy I am happy I read this thread. Picked up several gourds at the pumpkin patch. Been looking at all the wonderful art work done with them. If it was almost 10pm...I would have started playing with them tonight. I would never have thought to wear a mask. I am very allergic to mold...so thanks.

Tami

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 12:17AM
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Lillie1441(b3 TX)

Tami-Are the gourds you are working with from the pumpkin patch dried are still in the green state? If you are working with green gourds a respirator wouldn't be necessary.It's the dried gourds that pose a problem as far as dust and molds are concerned..........Lillie

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 12:26AM
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craft_granny(z5 WI)

Lillie 1441,
What can be done with green gourds? How?
Granny

    Bookmark   November 25, 2004 at 2:28PM
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FireFightersMoM(Z6OR)

Hi Lillie

Sorry I didn't answer you back. For some reason, I didn't get this in my email.

I got these dried. After being on your site, I see I got a fantasic deal. If I ever do anything with them...I will have to go back and buy more. I got 10 or so for $10.00.

I played around with a wood burner trying to get some idea's. But haven't done anything yet. So many idea's...haha.

Tami

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 1:59AM
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CarolynA(sierras)

If you are going to use the gourds outside, like for birdhouses, they hold up much better if you dunk them in Thompsons Water Sealer, shake off the excess, & let them dry for a week before painting. They last MUCH longer that way in rough weather.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 10:24AM
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