The latest carving practice piece is done in Sycamore. Fairly hard wood for carving. I am continuing to enjoy carving with only one tool, my shop made knife. I plan to try out a utility knife, but I’ve grown rather fond of the one I’m using.
The advantage for me is that I can sit on the terrace and enjoy my wife’s company and the garden too.Normally chip carving means taking out chips one at a time to final depth. But due to the wood hardness I am for the most part making shallow cuts with thin shavings down to finished depth and many of the cuts are long and curved.
I would like to try my luck at relief carving too, but that will require a lot of different chisels (which I have) and working in the shop so I can secure the workpiece as relief carving requires both hands. For that reason I wait until Fall when I can be in the shop more often. The experience I’m getting now is reducing my fear of trying relief carving and also giving me an appreciation how helpful specialized tools vs a knife can be.
The following is the pattern transferred to the wood. I used carbon paper under the pattern for this job. This pattern is based on the acanthus plant and is used a lot by carvers all over the world, but it is usually carved in relief style. It offers a lot of complexity and therefore can be a great learning experience.
These are photos of the finished piece, first vertical and then horizontal to show more detail. I found the veins difficult to do. I have a veining chisel, and I intend to use it next time for this work. The veining gives a carving life, but I’m not very happy with the veining on this piece.
And lastly the 3 practice pieces I’ve carved as a progress comparison
If you are planning to take up carving I sure would recommend learning chip carving first. It’s a great way to carve and if you want to do other types of carving you will still be able to use a lot of what you learned. Another advantage is that a big investment in carving tools is not necessary, so if you don’t like it, you haven’t wasted your money.
That’s it for today. Thanks for looking in.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.