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My foray into carving


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With the shop all packed up and everything suddenly changing from the original plan, I am looking at finding something to do with myself during the bursts of downtime for the next couple of months. So I decided to learn a new skill, or expand on my limited skills, however you want to look at it, in carving.

There are some great carvers that have graced this forum whose work I greatly admire and would very much like to emulate to some degree. So without hesitation I would like to begin by thanking a few of them for the inspiration along the way. Jake Cleland, Adam Weller, and Petr Floriniak are the top three that come to mind. I hope none of you mind me copying some of your work because I think the best way to learn is by doing what others have done before me.

 

As always, if anyone has any tips, suggestions, or criticisms along the way, don't be shy about speaking up.

 

The last time I went out to New Mexico, I cut up some rock maple into small handle sized pieces to use for practice. I would have gotten some antler, but I gave away all my North American antler (I don't like that stuff) and the other stag antler I own is packed away in a box somewhere.

 

Wood blocks.JPG

 

I pulled out the 6x48 sander and went to town at 60 & 120 to take the corners off and smotth them out a bit. Then I finished 4 of them to 220 by hand.

 

Sanded 220.JPG

 

I also bought a small set of carving knives as my set of larger ones is also in a box somewhere and I could always use some small ones right?

 

Carving set.JPG

 

I also bought two of these little battery powered rotary tools and found my box of rotary bits.

 

Mini-Graver V2.jpg

 

Now to check my inspiration folder for some pics of stuff I'd like to try.

Thanks for following along.

Edited by Joshua States
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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

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Not sure how well your rotary bits will work with wood - I think they are going to load up.  The bits you have are diamond abrasive and excel at cutting through hard stuff like tool steel or ceramic/stone materials.  Get some high speed steel or carbide cutters for your tool to carve wood.  Then there is the question of whether the battery powered tool has enough horse power to do the job.  Good luck and enjoy in any case.

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Yeah the bits that came with the tool are more for stone and metals.

It did come with some saw blades and one round burr.

I have plenty of rotary bits for wood and other stuff. 

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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  • 2 weeks later...

One thing I would recommend is using a "throwaway" blade to take the initial cuts on that wood (shave a thin layer off the surface). Any type of sanding leaves little bits behind that dull really sharp carving knives quite quickly. Otherwise, looks like a lot of fun! Makes me kind of look forward to winter when I have time to slow down and mess around with projects like this. 

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Some minor progress to report. This is slow going.

Step 1.jpg

Step 2.jpg

Step 4.jpg

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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Josh ,you have the image correct  but  I think rotary bits are not going to give you the sharp lines you are imagining...... I think graving bits and dental tools  and small chisels will give you exactly what you are shooting for......Jake uses a Linsey Graver...... but you could use hand gravers which are way less expensive......or just a small hand made chisel......

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I do most of my carving with ordinary chisels, but of different sizes, and all of them I reprofiled to get a convex profile and the angle I like. I sharpen them all Japanese style up to a sharp but toothy edge, as the Japanese prefer, and I rarely use a hammer (only if the specific cut is too hard to do with my hands). Recently I've been using kiridashi as well (one of each handedness), and that's really upped my carving game! The most important aspect of carving is the grain of the wood. Every cut is in reference to the grain, and it is the direction and nature of the grain that directs how you approach. You always start with coarser cuts, and shallower cuts, but as you approach the final form, you use finer and more careful cuts, and steeper angles to the grain. In general, you choose the chisel because how easy it is to cut is dependent on the tip size. So the right chisel depends on the wood, how hard it is, and what you're trying to do. If I have a lot of shaping to do before the chisels I use a drawknife, but be careful because it likes eating fingers! If you have a lot of thinning of flat surfaces to do, it's better to use a plane, kanna, or spokeshave if you have one. It's good to have a measuring tool like a micrometer handy to check sizes, and tools like a round guage to make sure ticknesses are even. Most importantly, you get better at carving by doing it! Become proficient at using all the different tools at your disposal and it will speed up your carving. It's a good idea to do the final details by hand though, since you have the most control, and the least room for error!

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What really bothers me is that I made myself a set of carving chisels/knives in 2022 that are packed up in a box somewhere......

 

Done (2).jpg

 

On 7/13/2024 at 7:02 AM, Dick Sexstone said:

I think rotary bits are not going to give you the sharp lines you are imagining

Yeah, right now I'm just using hand tools. The rotary tools are for roughing out some stuff I plan to try on antler. Petr Floriniak does a lot of his stuff with rotary tools and finishes up with hand tools. If you have never seen his work, this is an example:

 

Handle carvings.jpg

 

On 7/13/2024 at 10:50 AM, DanM said:

Take a look at this site with chip carved handles...

Cool stuff! I used to have an Opinel pocket knife. They are good, handy kit.

 

@Carlos Lara Thanks for the insight.

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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Anyway, yesterday I was putting the grace lines in the knotwork.

 

Grace lines 1.jpg

 

Grace lines 2.jpg

 

Grace lines 3.jpg

 

 

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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I thought you knew how to do this ......I forgot your shop is packed up..... How frustrating......on the other hand you are getting some good work done ruffing your ideas out...... good for you to put your idleness to productive use....

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14 hours ago, Dick Sexstone said:

I thought you knew how to do this

It's been about two years since I did any serious carving and my skills have gotten slack.  This Dirk was the last thing I did and that was in 2022.....

 

Handle (2).jpg

 

So, it's start all over again.

Anyway, This piece had too many mistakes and I decided not to spend much more time on it. A light sanding at 320 and some stain to see how it turned out and I'll do another piece.

 

Stained.jpg

 

Stained 2.jpg

 

 

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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Starting something a litte different. I bought a book called Cane Topper Woodcarving.

I need to get some basswood. This maple is killing my thumbs.

 

Step 1.jpg

 

Note: The friction folder in the background came to me from the 2019 KITH.

So, @Robert D. where ever you are, it came in handy here.

 

Step 2.jpg

 

Step 3.jpg

 

Step 4.jpg

Edited by Joshua States
  • Like 2

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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