First I have switched from butternut (for now) back to bass wood. I did this for a few reasons. Bass wood is not as hard on my tools compared to butternut and it also has an easier color for applying color to the carving. Bass wood also has less grain than butternut which makes bass wood easier to get an even flow with color and no issues of the color running through the grain. But bass wood being a softer wood I do need to modify the how aggressive I get in carving.
Secondly, because of all the time carving with butternut (and not stropping my tools enough) I have tools that are in serious need of attention beyond stropping. I am blessed that I not only have a makeshift setup for sharpening my tools but also have a friend in Billyburg that allows me to come up and utilize his sharpening system if need be and I need be. I have found that when my tools begin to dull a bit I, when carving butternut just carve a bit more aggressive to overcompensate for the sharpness of the tools, I am not even sure I am aware of this at the time. Many carvers base the stropping on a time frame, i.e. after an hour of carving they stop and strop their tools.
So even though my attention was solely on the carving at the time I was taught a lesson way beyond how to shape a nose or cap. Sometimes when we are deep in the middle of a life lesson we don't realize we are being taught anything and it's only when we take the time to examine the past few days or carvings that we may shed light on where we have been and possibly where we are headed. Of course this only happens when we are open to constructive critiquing from ourselves or others around us.
as always, Good night and may God bless