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Playing Around with Carving #5: Fixture to hold work for Relief Carving.

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Blog entry by WayneC posted 06-29-2011 11:21 PM 6202 reads 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Carving Class Part 5 of Playing Around with Carving series Part 6: Finished my carving fixture »

I am thinking of making a wooden fixture to hold the work piece when doing relief carving. I am trying to work around several constraints. For example, I really do not have access to the tools and equipment in my shop at the moment, so I am thinking of using common lumber that can be obtained from the local Home Depot or similar big box store. Also moving around the work is a hassel with my broken leg, so I would like to be able to be able to quickly rotate the work piece. This makes me want to avoid using double stick tape like we did in the class I took last weekend.

I came up with the following design in my head this morning. Basically it is a flat surface made up of two pieces of 3/4” ply wood laminated together with glue and screws. I am planning to use some 1” x 3” softwood to make a fence that will be used to support the item as it is clamped into place using some Veritas wonder pups. The surface would be drilled with 3/4 dog holes to allow me to secure the pups. I would use 2” x 12” supports to attach the top to a another sheet of plywood. This sheet of plywood would be used to clamp the top to a workbench or to a portable stand such as a work mate. I see cheap work mates on craigslist all the time and was thinking of picking one of these up to use until I am able to get back into the shop. The fixture would look similar to the drawing below. The top drawing shows the work top from above. The yellow circles show the dog holes. The fence is in dark blue.

caarving top

I am planning to attach the 2” x 12” supports to the top using pocket hole screws. I am also thinking about angeling the top. I’m not sure which would work best.

Here is what the wonder pups look like….

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=62720&cat=1,41637,41645&ap=1

Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you have a recommendation related to portable workbenches, I would love to hear it. Thanks….

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



14 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

15240 posts in 1257 days


#1 posted 06-29-2011 11:39 PM

don’t most workmates already have holes that would allow you to just “grab” your workpiece with that? 4 plastic dogs and your already to go.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12293 posts in 2786 days


#2 posted 06-29-2011 11:42 PM

The motivation for creating the fixture is the need to raise the work a foot or more. For carving, you work at a level higher than for benchwork.

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

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12293 posts in 2786 days


#3 posted 06-29-2011 11:45 PM

Ideally I would like to make something like this bench made by Bill Judt...

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/14104

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

View Druid's profile

Druid

647 posts in 1484 days


#4 posted 06-29-2011 11:54 PM

Hi Wayne,
The attached photos are of a very simple tip that I must credit to my lovely wife. I was commenting on the problem of getting a small relief carving to “stay still” while working on it, but that I still require the capability of being able to quickly reposition the wood as I follow the grain. (This applies to relief carvings where I am using hand chisels and knives, but I have not tried it with larger pieces requiring a mallet.) The next time she went past the local dollar store, she picked up a roll of drawer liner (rubbery material. see photo 3) for me to try. I simply cut a piece a bit larger than my carving, and stapled it to the back of the carving (see photo 4). For smaller pieces like this one, I use a board across my knees to support the carving (and protect my legs), and I can now flip the carving around very easily, and it stays put as soon as I apply any downward pressure as I start to carve (see photos 1 and 2). If you have a copy of Woodcarving Illustrated, Issue 48, Fall 2009, you’ll find this on page 12. Once you’re done, pop the staples out, and get ready for your next project.

Depending on the size of your workpiece, this might not give you a suitable solution, but I hope that it helps for smaller carvings.

I can certainly see why Bill’s bench would be useful. Interesting project . . . yet another one to consider building . . .
Enjoy.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12293 posts in 2786 days


#5 posted 06-30-2011 05:56 AM

Thanks John.

This looks like it would work for smaller items. I have some of this material in my shop that I use for routing stuff and as shelf liner. How big is the board you use on your lap? The item I am working on currently is roughly 8”x12”. Any feedback on the design above? Think it would work?

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

View Druid's profile

Druid

647 posts in 1484 days


#6 posted 06-30-2011 06:10 AM

The board that I use is about 13” x 24” x ¾”. I also have a couple of plastic cutting boards (the kitchen type) that I picked up at IKEA, and they work well for small projects. Your design using the “pups” should work fine, and might be a better solution for more substantial pieces.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12293 posts in 2786 days


#7 posted 06-30-2011 06:12 AM

Thanks John. I’m hoping it will get me by until I can make a carving bench.

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

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12293 posts in 2786 days


#8 posted 06-30-2011 04:05 PM

I am wondering if I should swap out the fence idea for something like the 3 point mounting system, where I use a dog or two in lieu of the fixed fence. Though I might be over complicating things.

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

View Druid's profile

Druid

647 posts in 1484 days


#9 posted 06-30-2011 05:11 PM

What about mounting the fence pieces separately, using dowels to match the dog holes? Then you can use either the dogs or fence pieces to match your workpiece.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1382 days


#10 posted 06-30-2011 05:38 PM

Wayne, I’m surprised your not incorporating an Emmert on an articulating head, the way your vintage tool mind thinks;) That bench by Bill is insane. I saw one of these carving stations at Woodcraft once for big bucks. I don’t carve, but the bench was so cool that I almost bought it.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12293 posts in 2786 days


#11 posted 06-30-2011 05:42 PM

John, that is a good idea. I could adjust the fence forward for smaller items. I think I will try that.

Al, I’m to do something as simple as possible. Once my leg mends I will consider something more complex. An Emmert has been on my mind for my general woodworking bench for a while…

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

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15960 posts in 1556 days


#12 posted 06-30-2011 06:58 PM

Wayne I think that your system will work fine. The only thing that you might do would be to rig up some wooden covers/faces for your clamps where they meet your work so that you don’t accidentally hit one of your carving tools on the end of the clamp.

For smaller carvings I made a board with just the two fences on it and no clamps. It has another board attached to the bottom that I can lock into one of my bench vices. As long as you carve towards one of the fences it works great. When you need to carve in another direction you just rotate the work piece.

When I’m chip carving on a piece that is composed of mostly triangular chips I don’t use anything in my lap under the work piece. However, I mostly do free form chip carving. For free form carvings I use a board in my lap that is about 12×24. I have worked out a technique to where I can use my left hand to clamp the piece to the board and the other end of the work piece is stuck in my belly when I need to apply a lot of strait line force. When I do this my overalls protect and cushion my belly. I can instantly anchor a rectangular part in several key angles this way. When I carve curves I can rotate the part on the board but sometimes I actually use my arm motion to form curved chips. I suppose sometimes I’m quite awkward looking when I’m doing some of these techniques but they work pretty well for me. When I have to I can apply a lot of force to the standard sized chip carving knife to get my deep two sided chips in one pass but it’s not uncomfortable.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1382 days


#13 posted 06-30-2011 07:06 PM

Outstanding advice, Wreck. I’d be the guy to gouge a metal benchdog with a freshly and tirelessly sharpened gouge.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12293 posts in 2786 days


#14 posted 06-30-2011 07:20 PM

August, watch out related to getting started with carving, I think carving chisels/gouges needs are worse than a handplane addiction. I could really use a skew chisel and another tool roll. I’ve been thinking should I just buy a couple more gouges while I am at it… Tools for Working Wood is a dangerous web site.

Hellu/Al, I had not thought about the pups from that perspective. I will have to come up with something. I’m also thinking about some type of tool tray/holder. My tools pretty much all have round handles. I am also worried they might roll off. Especially if I am using a mallet. Also I am thinking I would have an extra table next to me to hold tools or when I am using one of my benches putting the tools on the surface of the bench.

I am hoping to get to Home depot tomorrow and get some materials…

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

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