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Forum topic by red0ak posted 11-03-2017 02:09 AM 478 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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red0ak

16 posts in 545 days


11-03-2017 02:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: carving chisels recommendations question

Background
Looking to start doing some relief carving and need to get some tools. This won’t be something I’m doing all the time, more just to embellish projects. I hope to achieve this level someday but this is the quickest illustration I could find of what I mean: http://www.homesteadheritagefurniture.com/black-cherry-lowboy/

What I’ve Found so Far
Already bought the Sayers book and what he recommends to start with is listed here: http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=31119&cat=1,130,43701

Don’t have enough budget to buy the Sayers set. Already have sharpening equipment. Which of the three paths would you recommend? Trying to keep this under $100, and am open to only buying a couple of good tools as long as I’d use them. The question is which…

1) $60 http://www.leevalley.com/us/Wood/page.aspx?p=72275&cat=1,44047&ap=1
2) $80 https://www.woodcraft.com/products/carving-4pc-intro-set (although I don’t need the stone)
3) Piece together a set on Ebay, or some other source you know of

Questions
Are expensive carving chisels expensive b/c they are already sharpened (ready to use) and the edges last longer? If I’m not doing much carving would #1 suffice at the tradeoff of sharpening more? I’ve gotten bit by wasting money on cheap bench chisels vs making a reasonable investment up front—the latter was cheaper in the long run.


11 replies so far

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1035 posts in 2596 days


#1 posted 11-03-2017 01:22 PM

New carving tools are expensive. You might want to add these to your list.
http://www.woodcarverssupply.com/Mastercarver-Gouges-Straight-_-Fishtail/products/104/1/0.

I would also suggest you look at used gouges on eBay. You don’t need many for what you want to do. Maybe five or six. I was facing this problem a couple of years ago. Ended up making my own. http://lumberjocks.com/Planeman40/projects

No matter what you buy, you MUST learn to sharpen until the edge can easily shave the hair off your forearm. Anything less than that makes for troublesome carving.

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

View red0ak's profile

red0ak

16 posts in 545 days


#2 posted 11-03-2017 03:12 PM


New carving tools are expensive. You might want to add these to your list.
http://www.woodcarverssupply.com/Mastercarver-Gouges-Straight-_-Fishtail/products/104/1/0.

I would also suggest you look at used gouges on eBay. You don t need many for what you want to do. Maybe five or six. I was facing this problem a couple of years ago. Ended up making my own. http://lumberjocks.com/Planeman40/projects

No matter what you buy, you MUST learn to sharpen until the edge can easily shave the hair off your forearm. Anything less than that makes for troublesome carving.

- Planeman40

Thanks for the advice. I ended up getting the Sayer list in the Pfeil full size since Woodcraft has a 15% sale today and tomorrow. In fact, just got back from the store! Buy once, cry once, it’s cheaper in the long run. Learned that with bench chisels.

As for sharpening, I would want to pick your brain… I can shave with bench chisels and plane irons. Already have strops, honing compounds, stones, and recently picked these up from LV:
http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=69439&cat=1,43072
http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=33015&cat=1,43072,43071&ap=1

Another suggestion from someone at Woodcraft was to carve a straight line for each chisel in some scrap basswood and apply honing compound to get the same profile each time. Will have to try that.

Do you know of any specific carving instructions that are particularly effective? I could just google around but leaning on someone else’s experience is more effective

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1006 posts in 1830 days


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

I’m going to give the Lee Valley set a try. Other folks here have thought they ere good for the buck. I will say that the set I received had warped edges, so I am sending them back as that was not typical from what others saw. Hopefully the exchanged set is better.

Brian

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

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2916 posts in 2944 days


#4 posted 11-03-2017 10:07 PM

For relief carving, I have several of Lora S. Irish’s books. She’s pretty good about explaining things. You can check my projects for a couple of examples. There is also a man figure based on Harley Refsal’s flat plane (Scandinavian) style carving in there. There is a carving forum here. Lots of examples to be impressed by (not necessarily mine, lol).

OK, I see you found that forum already!

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View red0ak's profile

red0ak

16 posts in 545 days


#5 posted 11-03-2017 10:24 PM



I m going to give the Lee Valley set a try. Other folks here have thought they ere good for the buck. I will say that the set I received had warped edges, so I am sending them back as that was not typical from what others saw. Hopefully the exchanged set is better.

Brian

- bbasiaga

Interested to hear how the exchanged ones turn out.


For relief carving, I have several of Lora S. Irish s books. She s pretty good about explaining things. You can check my projects for a couple of examples. There is also a man figure based on Harley Refsal s flat plane (Scandinavian) style carving in there. There is a carving forum here. Lots of examples to be impressed by (not necessarily mine, lol).

OK, I see you found that forum already!

- Dark_Lightning

Thanks for the referral, I’ll pick up Classic Carving Patterns and see what else she has.

I actually miss-typed my question, whoops.

Meant to ask if anyone had any specific instructions on carving tool sharpening, i.e. what you’ve tried and stuck b/c it works, like a certain reference

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1035 posts in 2596 days


#6 posted 11-04-2017 02:09 PM

As for sharpening, I would want to pick your brain…

I would recommend using Arkansas stones as the final stoning before stropping. I love Arkansas stones!

https://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/Arkansas-Slips-and-Files-C105.aspx

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

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

116566 posts in 3412 days


#7 posted 11-04-2017 02:40 PM

This person has an online class and free videos on carving that include what gouges she recommends to start with, sharpening etc.

https://www.marymaycarving.com/carvingschool/

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2916 posts in 2944 days


#8 posted 11-04-2017 04:08 PM

Almost every carving book has some basic information about tools, and usually includes sharpening techniques. With carving tools, you should not have to do any sharpening, unless you drop the tool on its tip. You should only have to hone them. All I’ve ever used is a strop. Bench chisels get sharpened, but they get a ton more abuse.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View red0ak's profile

red0ak

16 posts in 545 days


#9 posted 11-07-2017 12:42 PM

Ordered another carving book, signed up for Mary May’s free classes, and will look into Arkansas stones. Thanks for all the tips!

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2711 posts in 1316 days


#10 posted 11-07-2017 04:09 PM

I don’t consider myself a carver, but I use Pfeil so I can’t comment on other brands. I order them from chippingaway.com in Canada. Think they have the best prices. Starting out, I went with the set MM recommends and it has served me well. I add gouges as needed for a project.

IMO the expensive chisels, gouges, etc. are all about the steel and degree of refinement.

Yes, the Pfeils come ready to use with a high degree of polish and to me, its worth it.

Sharpening is the key. I do all mine by hand and only use diamond stones.

Yes Mary May is great but I would also refer you to Chris Pye. I like his sharpening technique a little better and I really like the stone set he developed.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View TryAgain's profile

TryAgain

9 posts in 2982 days


#11 posted 11-08-2017 10:58 PM

For sharpening your carving gouges, suggest you focus on power stropping. Google “power stropping” and you’ll get a variety of ideas from cheap to expensive on power stropping. You can get profiled leather wheels and flat leather wheels that’ll cover the gamut of your carving needs. I use Pfeil carving tools and have never taken them to my stones … they come with very good edges and I’ve found that stropping on a power-driven wheel sooner rather than later in my carving work has kept the tool edges very keen. Also use a honing compound on your leather wheels and reapply regularly. Power stropping with honing compound will make your carving experiences enjoyable.

Tom

PS I do use water stones for my chisels and plane blades and do not strop them. But for my carving gouges, stropping is my preferred and only sharpening method.

-- Tom

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