Creative Woodworks & crafts 2001-01, страница 42

Creative Woodworks & crafts 2001-01, страница 42


^Whether you want lo "just whillle" jior carve a larger-than-life statue, |there are tools designed for you. I'Here is a brief summary of some Stools available for wood carving by jhand.


kWhittling is generally considered to Kbe carving with the wood in one 1'hand and lhe tool in the other. The old whittling knife is the simplest of the carving tools. Whittled projects include whimsical subjects such as a ball in a cage, chain links, and animal or human caricatures (see Fig. 1). The knives can be handmade; for example, I've used the steel from a straight razor (see Fig. 2). They can also be purchased from a carving tool supplier (see Fig. 3). Some carvers merely use a pocketknife, with the large blade for roughing out and lhe small blade for detailing. A knife for carving must be exLremely sharp, however, so lhe knife you choose should have a blade of good, high carbon steel. Many inexpensive pockeLknives simply are too difficult to keep sharp. It is very discouraging lo carve wilh a dull knife.

The knives that are manufactured for whittling come in a variety of shapes. Some carvers prefer large blades; others like very small blades. Your carving style dictates the kind of knife you might prefer. If you take big chunks and favor large, flat areas in your carving, you might prefer a knife with a blade that will Lake some horsing through the wood (Careful, though! Prying and twisting will ruin any knife.) On the other hand, if you tend toward delicate detail, you would likely do better with a knife that has a small blade. In addition to the ones shown here, there are scores of other variations of the whittling knife available, both in blade and in handle styles.

Chip carving is a technique of removing triangular pieces of wood Lhat, clustered together, create an intricate pattern, as shown in Fig. 4. A whole variety of tools have been used through the years to make chip carvings, from straight chisels lo razor blades. Most chip carvers prefer a knife designed for the purpose. While there are variations of each, there are basically two types of chip carving knives, the cut knife (see Fig. 5) and the stab knife (see Fig. 6). The cut knife is used to actually make the wood chips; thus it is used for the majority of the cuts. The stab knife is simply used to make decorative indentations in the wood.


The generic term for all of the tools of this type is "chisel." As applied to specific tools, however, a chisel is a tool with a sLraight cutting edge, and a gouge is a tool with a curved cutting edge.

Palm-handled chisels (about five inches long) are a relatively recent addition to the wood carver's tool kit (see Fig. 7). Carvers who make small figures—holding the wood in one hand and the tool in the other—have made palm tools very popular (see Fig. 8). Their advantage for lhe whittler is that the handle tits snugly in the palm of the hand. While larger traditional carving tools are cumbersome, or even dangerous, to use one-handed, palm tools are quite manageable.

by Ivan Whillock

Some sausage handled tools (also shown in Fig. 8) are of the same length as the palm-handled tools, but most carvers prefer those with the larger version of Lhe mushroom handle. Nearly all caricature carvers use both knives and palm chiscis in Lheir work. These tools, with their variety of blade shapes, can make a V cut or a concave cul easier than 'a knife can. Still, the knife is the basic tool for most North American caricature carvcrs.

Mid-sized tools are about eight inches long (see Fig. 9). They are not necessarily a "studeiil-sized tool" or a cheaper version of the big lools. They are the preferred size for some carvers whose specially is decorative or figure carving (see Fig. 10). The wood is held with a carver's screw so lhat both hands arc free lo manipulate the tool. In certain carving strokes, the tool blade is held in the fingers like a pencil, with Lhe off hand steadying Lhe tool but not applying force. Thus, the shorter version tool is a bit easier to manipulate, as there is less tool mass behind the hand. Traditional mid-sized tools can be malleted, and the rigid blade gives control with plunge cuts (with lhe tool held vertically) and obverse cuts (with the tool held upside down), lip; before striking a tool with a mallei, always check to see that the blade has a shoulder which will keep it from being driven into the handle. Some brands of mid-sized tools do not have a shoulder and should not be malleted (see Fig. 11). Full-sized tools are about ten inches long (see Fig. 12). They are the "universal" traditional carving tool, the tool of choice for most relief carvers and many figure carvers (see Fig. 13). The wood must always be held with a clamp, carver's screw or other hold-down device. (It can be very dangerous trying to carve one-handed with tools not designed for that purpose.) Hie larger size allows carvers to comfortably steady the tool with both hands. These tools can be malleted. They arc generally tempered throughout the entire blade and can be sharpened indefinitely—through many generations of use. The handles are not permanently fixed to Lhe blade and are replaceable should they become chipped through malleting. Because the blades are rigid, these lools, too, can be used for plunge and obverse culs— standard techniques in traditional carving. The lenglh and rigidity of the blade give control in other ways as well. By holding the Lool firmly with the wrisl of the lower hand frozen to the desired angle, it is possible to maintain a con sistent depth of cut Ihroughout the entire stroke, helpful for V tooling around a relief chasing, or making controlled veiner cuts.

Choosing the right tool for the job

While ilis possible lo make slop cuts in a relief with a knife, it is not the best Lool for the job, just as one would not whittle wilh a full-sized gouge. Carving a relief with palm Lools is not the besl choice.because the two-handed tools offer so much better control.

A genius could probably carve a masterpiece with a dull screwdriver. Wc ordinary folks are better off choosing the righL Lool for the job. It is, however, quite surprising Lhe tiny detail that a master carver can gel with a large tool. Tiny nativity figures are often made with full-sized tools. The full blade might be used when the carver is blocking in Lhe carving, but just a corner of the same tool Lhen used when the carver is putting in the detail.


Creative Woodworks &. Crafts

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