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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 10-25-2017 03:33 PM 911 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bbasiaga

1009 posts in 1832 days


10-25-2017 03:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: carving

Hey all.

I have been thinking lately that it might be handy to have a very basic set of carving tools. I am not a carver, but it seems like it would be handy to have the ability to carve in some letters or basic shapes.

As I won’t use them often, I don’t want to spend much money. I think a v gouge and a wider radius gouge would be two to get. Anything else?

Is there a good brand or basic set someone makes that I should look at?

Thanks
Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.


14 replies so far

View alittleoff's profile

alittleoff

446 posts in 1113 days


#1 posted 10-25-2017 04:30 PM

I was looking at this set at woodcraft. Item no. 14121 Ramelson, made in USA and only 59.99. Its a beginner set of 6. Don’t know much about carving chisels though, but was looking at them.
Gerald

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

962 posts in 2654 days


#2 posted 10-25-2017 05:31 PM

Lee Valley right now has a very good deal on this set: http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/Page.aspx?p=72275&cat=1,130,43332,43334
I just received them yesterday and the quality seems decent. Not up to regular Veritas standards – a couple handles had some rough spots), but the price is excellent. They’re also very shallow gouges (other than the v-gouge). But if you’re interested in letters, you mostly want shallow sweeps.
I can’t seem to find the Ramelson ones mentioned by Gerald, but the regular Ramelson sets, although they seem to have decent steel, are really too small. I had a set and gave them away to the woodcut instructor at the university where I work.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View ClaudeF's profile

ClaudeF

517 posts in 1544 days


#3 posted 10-25-2017 10:58 PM

Here’s the Ramelson set mentioned above: https://www.woodcraft.com/products/beginners-carving-tools

I started with this set quite some time back: https://www.flexcut.com/home/product/fr310-beginners-palm-set The conventional advice is to not buy sets, as there’s always a few tools you’ll never use. However, I started with these and I still use every single one of the today…frequently. One advantage of the flexcut palm tools is that they DO flex. If a tool begins to dig in too much, downward pressure on the handle will cause the blade to flex upwards and the tool with rise up out of the wood. You can also use a mallet (lightly!) on these to give you precise control of how far the blade cuts into the wood; a couple of gentle taps with a mallet is much easier to control than arm and shoulder muscles. They also arrive carving-sharp and easy to keep that way.

Claude

-- https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

View Levex's profile

Levex

41 posts in 992 days


#4 posted 10-26-2017 10:52 AM

I agree with JDH. I’d jump on the Lee Valley deal as it looks well priced for a good assortment of tools. I also own a set of Ramelson tools. They are the first carving tools I ever purchased and although I still use them for some small detail cuts, they are a bit too small for most jobs. I’d look for something that can be driven with a mallet like the LV set. Good luck.

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Planeman40

1035 posts in 2598 days


#5 posted 10-26-2017 03:03 PM

Another one to consider. Wood Carver’s Supply sells very good tools under their own brand. Set of 10 at $99 averages out to $10 per gouge.

http://www.woodcarverssupply.com/10-TOOL-BASIC-SET-ROLL/productinfo/401004/

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

973 posts in 428 days


#6 posted 10-27-2017 04:00 AM

Go to amazon and buy yourself some Narex gouges. They have quite impressive range and variety.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1504 posts in 1224 days


#7 posted 10-30-2017 03:21 AM

Mary May is a good source of info for wannabe carvers like me. She has some good free YouTube videos as well as some free videos on her website, including her recommendations for a starter set of tools. Definitely worth checking out. Here is a PDF of her recommendations to get started:
https://www.marymaycarving.com/carvingschool/wp-content/uploads/basic-carving1.pdf

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1009 posts in 1832 days


#8 posted 10-31-2017 02:44 AM

Wow, so I typed this post like 3 days ago, and apparently never hit post….what a maroon. lol

Thanks guys. For $60, I think I’m going to try the Lee Valley set. If they sit unused I won’t be too upset at that price.

So…yeah I bought the Lee Valley set. It is not in yet, so no comments. I really like that link to the Mary May pdf. The Lee Valley set doesn’t match up to her basic list, but that list is written for specific projects so hopefully I’ll get enough general use out of the LV stuff to be happy. Again, I don’t plan to do much beyond lettering and very basics, at least to start.

I also found Mary May on youtube. She is an incredible craftsman. I’ll never get there, but it is amazing to watch her make it look so easy.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1009 posts in 1832 days


#9 posted 10-31-2017 11:12 PM

Got the set in the mail today….really fast actually.

They look decent, but the set I got has a few where the edges aren’t very straight. JDH122, not sure if yours were the same way. I imagine it is something I can take care of on my wet grinding wheel pretty easily. But if yours are good I might see if I can exchange this set. For the price I am not too upset. I went in figuring they’d take some work on the edges, but being inexperienced at sharpening these things I don’t know how much work is too much for me…lol

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View pontic's profile

pontic

502 posts in 445 days


#10 posted 11-01-2017 12:42 AM

Get a #7 sweep gouge , v parting tool and an undercutting knife. That’s it to start with. Get a Basic carving book, one that covers 3-d and relief carving and practice the patterns they have in the beginning. LEARN HOW TO SHARPEN the tools.
If you get any more than the three tools at first you will get confused and frustrated trying to build up your skills. This is what all the Masters say to do. When you get more skill and want to carve more detail then add another tool and practice with it until you are proficient.

Others may disagree and talk you into getting a large cheaper set. Not worth it. Get a few good quality tools and practice the exercises that the book shows you until you are proficient and then add another tool. Usually a smaller gouge.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

962 posts in 2654 days


#11 posted 11-01-2017 09:47 AM

The edges on mine all look straight and were actually pretty sharp. Probably send them back for a replacement, depending on how crooked they are.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View mpounders's profile

mpounders

863 posts in 2732 days


#12 posted 11-01-2017 01:44 PM



Got the set in the mail today….really fast actually.

They look decent, but the set I got has a few where the edges aren t very straight. JDH122, not sure if yours were the same way. I imagine it is something I can take care of on my wet grinding wheel pretty easily. But if yours are good I might see if I can exchange this set. For the price I am not too upset. I went in figuring they d take some work on the edges, but being inexperienced at sharpening these things I don t know how much work is too much for me…lol

Brian

- bbasiaga

I took a closer look at these tools and even if the factory edges are perfect, they would all require extensive work on the edges for most carvers. Because the bevels are too steep! They might function somewhat for carpentry work, but I suspect not. That doesn’t mean they can’t be fixed and still be good carving tools. What I would suggest is that you send some or all of them off to be sharpened by people who carve, like Old Texas WoodCarvers or Smokey Mountain WoodCarvers. Properly sharpened tools make a big difference, especially when learning to carve. A lot of the inexpensive no-name carving tools do not really come set up up for carving. The exceptions would be Pfeil, Two Cherries, Flexcut, and handmade tools like Drake, OCCT, and Helvie. Carving sharp is a different kind of sharp and the bevels are often lower than for other tools.

-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mikepounders.weebly.com

View pontic's profile

pontic

502 posts in 445 days


#13 posted 11-01-2017 03:31 PM


Got the set in the mail today….really fast actually.

They look decent, but the set I got has a few where the edges aren t very straight. JDH122, not sure if yours were the same way. I imagine it is something I can take care of on my wet grinding wheel pretty easily. But if yours are good I might see if I can exchange this set. For the price I am not too upset. I went in figuring they d take some work on the edges, but being inexperienced at sharpening these things I don t know how much work is too much for me…lol

Brian

- bbasiaga

I took a closer look at these tools and even if the factory edges are perfect, they would all require extensive work on the edges for most carvers. Because the bevels are too steep! They might function somewhat for carpentry work, but I suspect not. That doesn t mean they can t be fixed and still be good carving tools. What I would suggest is that you send some or all of them off to be sharpened by people who carve, like Old Texas WoodCarvers or Smokey Mountain WoodCarvers. Properly sharpened tools make a big difference, especially when learning to carve. A lot of the inexpensive no-name carving tools do not really come set up up for carving. The exceptions would be Pfeil, Two Cherries, Flexcut, and handmade tools like Drake, OCCT, and Helvie. Carving sharp is a different kind of sharp and the bevels are often lower than for other tools.

- mpounders


Very good points.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2918 posts in 2946 days


#14 posted 11-03-2017 10:14 PM

I have the Pfiel palm chisels and some of their bigger chisels. I bought the Henry Taylor palm tools as well. I did notice that the angle of the Henry Taylor chisels are much steeper, as was mentioned about the Lee Valley chisels. I’ll have to grind them to a much smaller angle, like the Pfiel to make them work like I want. I hate to do that to brand new tools, though. I considered selling them, but I don’t want to take hit on the cost.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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