I'm gonna be a Star!! #3: Chip carving #1

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Blog entry by kolwdwrkr posted 07-23-2009 06:09 AM 5867 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Mucho progress!! Part 3 of I'm gonna be a Star!! series Part 4: the panels »

So the chip carving has begun. I thought I would share a little bit of how to with you. I don’t have my entire pattern figured out, but I did choose this pattern for each of the points. So lets get started.

You can purchase chip carving knives if you feel it is necessary, but I just use an old timer I’ve had since High School. It has 2 blades. The smaller blade is just fine for this type of work as long as you have it sharpened.

Trace your pattern onto your piece by using carbon paper.

After your pattern is layed out you will need to figure out how you want to cut it. Chip carving is essentially cutting a “V” groove into your piece following a patter. Typical patterns are normally triangles, as they are the easiest to carve. You essentially make stop cuts down the centers and then cut toward that stop cut at an angle. You need to make sure not to go in deep toward your lines. The deepest part is the center.

I think the video is pretty much self explanatory. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. This video was filmed about 1 am in the morning. I was holding the camera with one hand and carving with the other. LOL. I thought I was going to be able to post it that night, as I was busy the other nights. Anyhow, I hope you get something out of it. I am planning on doing a part 2 to the video and hopefully have some help with it. Maybe even explain it while I’m doing it. As always I welcome constructive criticism, positive or negative. Enjoy.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

11 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14173 posts in 4011 days

#1 posted 07-23-2009 07:17 AM

well done …

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Bob's profile


26 posts in 3358 days

#2 posted 07-23-2009 02:03 PM

so thats what they call chip carving… i like its looks simple to do but in the right place you can a good buck for it….nice job

View Marco Cecala's profile

Marco Cecala

189 posts in 4061 days

#3 posted 07-23-2009 02:56 PM

I like the use of the pocket knife, you have good skill. A true chip carving knife will be thinner and allow for cleaner cuts. They are real cheap. With your steady hand and great eye, the knife would take you to a whole new level.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3618 days

#4 posted 07-23-2009 04:16 PM

Marco, I have a chip carving knife and it’s great for carving soft woods like pine and basswood. Which I suppose is typical carving material for most carvers. However, I was making an urn for a friend out of maple and it had a lot of chip carving. The thin blad of my chip carving knife wasn’t strong enough for the material and the tip broke off. It takes a lot more force on that type of material. So I started using the pocket knife and haven’t looked back. I think it really has to do with how comfortable you are with your tool. You will find one that works for you. My knife is kept razor sharp and gives just as clean lines. In my next video or tutorial I may show the difference between the knifes. Thanks for the comments guys.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3274 days

#5 posted 07-23-2009 10:16 PM

So, that’s how it’s done. I liked just that you focused on the carving, not the history of chip carving, etc. Maybe have Norm on in the background next time ; ) Great job!

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Marco Cecala's profile

Marco Cecala

189 posts in 4061 days

#6 posted 07-23-2009 10:50 PM

Well kolwdwrkr, you got me thinking. I’m going to try the knife idea for harder woods. The blade on the chip knife is real fragile. Thanks for the tip.

View Evie's profile


37 posts in 3351 days

#7 posted 07-23-2009 11:07 PM

I am just getting started into chip carving, mostly on bass wood. a friend gave me a piece of poplar to do a humming bird on. he showed me, then gave it to me to take home. dang hard stuff. my knife was strong and sharp enough. but I was not good enough yet. the wood just crumbled and shattered under my knife. I had heard about moistening the wood to make it softer. but my pattern disappeared .
I am curious, does your knife lock? that would worry me. if it didn’t. your knife looks very sharp. I just can’t emagen chip carving maple. gosh maybe I will get there yet. I think If I tried a hard wood like that, I just might go to my skew chisels, thanks for sharing . Evie

-- If you don't learn from the past, your doomed to repeat it.

View Grumpy's profile


23997 posts in 3879 days

#8 posted 07-24-2009 01:35 AM

Well done Keith. Thanks for the insight.

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

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3555 days

#9 posted 07-24-2009 02:35 AM

Great stuff! Always can learn from others practical experience. I love it you use a common knife. Sometimes too much emphasis is placed on a luxury tool when a common one will work just as well.


-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3605 days

#10 posted 07-24-2009 02:49 AM

Hey Keith
Good Job You could chip carve juggle and film if you had a mind to.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4188 days

#11 posted 07-27-2009 01:27 PM

I can’t believe you did that while holding a camera in one hand!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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