I want to make it quite clear that I am a very raw beginner at wood carving and not much more at woodworking – this blog is presented so that you can share the adventure, mistakes and all (and I suspect there will be many of them).
So don’t take anything I say or do as gospel or think you are learning from an expert!
I do have some background experience that may give me some advantages having performed in the order of 30,000 surgical operations over a 30 year period ending 7 years ago.
Let me warn you though that a scalpel cutting through fragile flesh is nothing like a carving tool cutting into wood even though both involve the use of very sharp and potentially very dangerous instruments.
Something I learned the hard way!
Just remember that the nerves that give feeling to your thumbs and fingers and the tendons that move them are very close to the surface and a fraction of a seconds inattention can mean permanent loss of feeling or movement. A numb digit or a stiff one is not a lot better than a missing one and Microsurgery can be less than perfect as well as very expensive or not readily available——- so take care!
I was just very lucky that the cut though quite deep was lengthwise rather than across the thumb and thus less likely to divide a critical structure- And I thought I was being careful but just a moment of impatience was all it took.
As for Artistic skills I have been a hobby artist ( watercolour, oils, acrylics, drawing and etching) for most of my 66 years so just out of interest here are some fairly recent examples.
Mixed media – charcoal and acrylic mostly
I have already learned some of the basic rules of woodcarving and will list some below but first let us look at some of those tools.
This is the Vesper hand crafted carving knife that I mentioned in an earlier episode – so far it has turned out to be the most useful tool although I don’t think I have yet experienced it at its sharpest.
Then there is this set of carving tools from the Hands-on Wood show in Brisbane Qld Australia.
They are quite good but the interchangeable handle is a bit of a drawback and tends to loosen during use.
Now here are some old tools I have had for decades and rarely used except for occasional linocuts for linoprint artwork.
They are cheap and probably nasty. The steel is soft – notice that bent one which was straight before the woodcarving. Amazingly though I have found the middle one to be the best for detailed work and very useful in letter carving so far.
Remember – apart from Chris Vespers tool- I am definitely not recommending any of these tools.I am using them to work out what tools suit me and what they can do. later if I stick with this carving business I hope to buy some of those very expensive Swiss Steel tools – but only the ones that I find I definitely need for the style of carving I plan to go on with.
Now here we have a few of the others that I have been trying. Most are rubbish or I have not yet found out how to sharpen them properly.
but each shape has a use and if properly sharp and properly used could have its place.
Well we have not got far into the “rules” part yet but that seems to be enough for now and we will get back to the orangutan soon.
-- David Australia