First day chip carving- am I doing it wrong? Could use some advice.

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Forum topic by brody posted 02-24-2014 05:39 AM 1281 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1576 days

02-24-2014 05:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chipcarving beginner help ouch

I sharpened my knife (a German “Two Cherries” knife). I’m using basswood. I am pretty much holding it at the correct angle, as awkward as it feels. I’m keeping my arm close to my side. I watch the video of the dude sliding the knife easily through wood. I try it, and it’s HUGELY DIFFICULT.

Am I doing it wrong? Are my puny girl hands not up to the task? 30 minutes of practice struggling to cut the wood has my fingers almost numb.

Or does that dude on the video just have hand/arm muscles from doing this for years, and has his technique down to a science? Or know something about sharpening knives that I don’t? (I realize now I don’t have a strop- how important is that bit?)

I’d love someone to tell me about the learning curve on this—did it suck at first? How much did it suck? How soon did it get easier? Did it start OUT easy to physically cut the wood, and maybe I’m doing it wrong?

(this is the bit where learning from the internet rather than from humans, kind of sucks…no immediate feedback!)

3 replies so far

View BJODay's profile


526 posts in 1966 days

#1 posted 02-24-2014 01:56 PM

My wife gave me a chip carving knife for Christmas. I also have found it a bit harder than expected. I keep practicing and my cuts, (3-corner chips), are getting better and easier. I’m a long way from carving rosettes.

Try setting yourself up in a comfortable chair or stool. I was starting out standing at the bench and the ergonomics were not correct.


View darinS's profile


709 posts in 2890 days

#2 posted 02-24-2014 07:07 PM

Also, make sure your blade is SHARP!! I have found that the sharper my blade is, the easier chip carving is.

-- They say many people die because of alcohol. They never realized how many of them are born because of it.

View Jorg Zimmermann's profile

Jorg Zimmermann

24 posts in 1629 days

#3 posted 02-24-2014 08:19 PM

How nay times do you cut until you reach the deirsed depth? As biger the triangle shape is the more wood you have to cut. Also watch out for the direction you are cutting, always with the grain even so it means you have to change your position frequently and try to achieve a ‘pulling cut’ (that is how we call it in German). meaning don’t hold the cutting edge of your chisel 90 degree to the grain try it out, may be you can start with about 45 degrees and than move it while you cut to the position paralell to your finish line. hope it makes sense

-- Jorg

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