Playing Around with Carving #1: Getting Rolling

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Blog entry by WayneC posted 06-01-2011 02:11 AM 4500 reads 3 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Playing Around with Carving series Part 2: ZOMG! Knife to wood »

I had been thinking about playing with carving for a while. I did some exploring in a forum post and decided it would be better to continue the discussion in a blog format. This way I can track my progress. The original post that got this started is located here. There is lots of good information in the forum post on safety and carving resources.

I’ve decided to start with chip carving for several reasons. First, I am currently temorarly stuck in a wheel chair/walker due to a fall earlier this year and have very limited access to my shop. Chip carving can be done with minimal needs from my regular shop. Also, because my fall, I am on blood thinners. My perception is that chip carving is safer than methods of carving that involve holding the item being carved in your hands. Another factor in this decision is that Marty has posted a chip carving class in his Blog that I can follow to gain basic skills. The final deciding factor was initial investment. To get started, you need a couple of chip carving knives, the ability to sharpen the knives, some basswood, a pencil/compass to transfer patterns to the wood and a good straight edge. I plan to explore other forms of carving in the future.

Last week I ordered some Hock knives (I am a fan of Hock Products) from Craftsman Studio in southern California. I ordered the full set, but you should only need Chip Carver #CKC100 and the Stab Knife #CKS125. They are the bottom two knives in the photo.

Marty also sells knives on his web site. There are a couple of options. The Barton Knives are currently the gold standard for chip carving knives. The lamp knives look interesting and there is a modified knife that is worth consideration. Also, in the next few weeks Marty is coming out with a new line of knives he developed. They would also be worth looking into.

My Hock knives came in today so I need to get them sharpened. Over the weekend I went to woodcraft and purchased some basswood and some stropping compound. I intended to buy a strop but felt the cost was too high. I need to find some leather around the house and make one. I also purchased and read Wayne Barton’s chip carving book “The complete Guide to Chip Carving

To finish up the preparations I ordered a leather lap apron so I can carve in my lap from Lee-Valley and I ordered a set of ceramic sharpening stones, additional basswood, and a pattern transfer tool from Marty’s web site. I also signed up for a platinum membership on Marty’s site to get access to the videos and patterns that are available there. I would really like to take a minute to thank Marty for putting the Lumberjocks chip carving course together. He is a great guy to interact with and is an dedicated chip carving Evangelist.

Well off to look for some dinner and then see if I can make a strop.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

19 comments so far

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3115 days

#1 posted 06-01-2011 02:31 AM

Looking mighty good.
Sounds like you are on the road now.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2593 days

#2 posted 06-01-2011 02:49 AM

I’ll be waiting for the results. I’ve done some carving in rifle stocks, but it never really did it for me. Of course I didn’t have those nice utensils you have :-)

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4123 days

#3 posted 06-01-2011 03:22 AM

Thanks Mads, I’m hoping this will help with the cabin fever.

Don, I love quality tools. I’m looking forward to seeing how these knives work.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2866 days

#4 posted 06-01-2011 04:28 AM

Go get her done Wayne, cant wait to see some projects..

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4426 days

#5 posted 06-01-2011 05:19 AM

find an old belt and make your strop.

But I’ve also put red polishing compound on a flat piece of cherry and do my stropping on it. I’ve also used green Chromium compound also.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4123 days

#6 posted 06-01-2011 05:27 AM

Thanks Dave, I am working on it.

Karson, I found the piece of leather I was looking for. I need to glue it to a board. Rubber cement is recommended, but I do not have any at the moment. Hoping to get some tomorrow. I have some green honing compound.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View ksSlim's profile


1276 posts in 2916 days

#7 posted 06-01-2011 07:00 AM

Barge leather cement is nothing more than Eastman 1300 (formica glue) contact cement.
used mine for 30 years.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3351 days

#8 posted 06-01-2011 01:34 PM

You got yourself a good thick apron? I know I would cut myself up… first day :) Calamity Jane.

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4056 days

#9 posted 06-01-2011 02:30 PM

Hi Wayne – get some honing compound to impregnate into the leather as well (I normally use the Tormek compound, which readily available). By the way you can also impregnate a little 19mm MDF with the compound, this is also great for honing all sorts of tools, flat and curved surfaces, just remember to pull, not push :)

I prefer to hone on a hard flat surface, rather than a strop, it does not round the bevel so much, therefore requires grinding less often. Have fun

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3622 days

#10 posted 06-01-2011 03:25 PM

you can also use a piece of cardboard as well as newspaper ( i believe)

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4123 days

#11 posted 06-01-2011 04:09 PM

I’m planning to get to Home Depot this evening and get some contact cement and put one together from that. I’m looking to make something similar to the strop in the following post. I’m planning to use some green honing compound on the strop.

mtKate, I ordered a lap apron from Lee-Valley yesterday and hope this will do the job for my legs.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3351 days

#12 posted 06-01-2011 04:17 PM

I gave that as a gift to my mom for her carving two years ago. She loves it.

View Grumpy's profile


23997 posts in 3877 days

#13 posted 06-02-2011 01:49 AM

Go for it Wayne. No stopping now.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4123 days

#14 posted 06-02-2011 05:14 AM

No glue today. I am stalled….

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View MyChipCarving's profile


604 posts in 3151 days

#15 posted 06-05-2011 03:44 PM

Hey Wayne and all,
For final stropping I would suggest you use a piece of hard cardboard (not corrugated) and apply your compound directly to the cardboard. Leather will flex too much when stropping a chip carving knife and you will round over the edge. Ev Ellenwood told me to try this (Ev is the author of: Complete Book of Woodcarving, Sharpening Simplified)

In the My Chip Carving Sharpening Kit I include a piece of this cardboard along with 4 grits of psa abrasive strips, red rouge compound, spray bottle, and double strength glass. You can get an amazingly “scary sharp” edge using these simple materials.

-- Marty,, 866-444-6996

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