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