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  • Benefits of sharp tools.

    Good evening all,

    I began a new carvings today, the subject is something different for me, a dragon's head, in relief. I had a nice stick of Basswood here that has been haunting me, just waiting for the right project to appear, and today it did. I picked up a copy of Lora Irish's book on Dragon Patterns, and found one that I thought I would give a try.

    I traced the pattern onto the wood, and instead of carving away the background, I deceided to try drilling the background away on the drillpress with a Forestner bit. It worked splendidly, and saved me hours of laborous carving and a sore neck and back. ( I should have read that other book sooner, 'Elements of Wood Carving' by Chris Pye, thats where I got the idea ).

    I then began carving the surface of the background, to texture it and get rid of the small holes left by the bit, and was enraptured with the ease of the gouge going through the wood. The chizels and gouges I was using walked through the Basswood like a hot knife through butter, and was such a pleasure to do. Even when I began shaping the edges of the dragon , cross grain, they still shaved the wood off , almost effortlessly! Just to expariment, I switched blades and tried several different shapes and curves, and the results were amaizing. My sharpening skills must be improving and all that practice, bearing fruit.

    I know this may sound strange to you, but to me it's a big deal. I haven't been able to exert a lot of perssure/strength in my carving for a while and I missed it, and this has really...... motivated me, encouraged me. I was really afraid I wouldn't be able to enjoy the type of carving that I once did, relief carving and now I know that I can once again. It is like a heavy weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

    I still have to take it slow and only work for short periods, but at least I can carve again. Power carving, just isn't the same, masks, dust, and all. A keen edge lets the wood talk to you and tell you her secrets, and now I can speak that language once again. I missed that!!!

    Just thought I'd share that with you.

    Bob


  • #2
    Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

    Yup -- a keen edge brings chills, doesn't it?
    Maybe other people want nice cars or fine jewelry. All a carver wants or needs is a good edge. Now THAT'S POWER carving

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    • #3
      Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

      It was funny this weekend when I was showing a friend my carving tools. I've been messing around with the Porta-stroph, and had just honed my favorite knife. My friend, who isn't a carver just stared as I carved out of the endgrain of a piece of pine. I got lucky because the pine didn't tear too much, but the knife just whistled through the wood. I got a real WOW out of him.

      There really isn't anything like a sharp tool. I think that is why I've resisted getting into power carving for so long. Bob, you are right, the wood does speak a different language, but a sharp tool is a great translator!

      Bob
      www.GrobetUSA.com

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      • #4
        Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

        No doubt about it Bob, the time spent sharpening (or learning how) pays off big time. When the tool slides thru end and/or cross grain, leaving a shine on the wood, it doesn't get any better than that.
        BTW, thanks for the tip on using a forstner bit to hog out background wood. Will have to give it a try...Reg.

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        • #5
          Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

          The ease with which sharp tools glide through the wood also minimizes the need for carving gloves and bandaids.

          A quote by Abraham Lincoln that I stole from Marv Kaisersatt's book:
          'If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first six sharpening my ax.'

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          • #6
            Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

            I know it is amazing how sharp tools will cut your carving time in half. I did woodspirit class at our club last year and I was amazed how the greater percentage of the carvers had very dull tools. I take time when I am carving to hone my tools from time to time even several times in an hour. I always find that when the tools start to make a squeeking sound when pushing them thru wood it is time to hone the tool.
            Colin

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            • #7
              Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

              Hummmmm squeeking sound? Do you have something alive in that wood? LOL :P

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              • #8
                Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

                When I typed that I just knew I would get a wise crack from you Dave. In fact as I read it back I said to myself Dave will make light of that statement. See how well we are getting to know each other.
                Colin

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                • #9
                  Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

                  Well I have heard people say the wood 'talks' to them :, so just making sure :P

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                  • #10
                    Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

                    Speaking of sharp! I bought a beautiful Case seahorse whittler on ebay and it was too nice to mess up with me trying to sharpen it....so....I sent it to Rick at Little shavers....well, don't do that unless you expect to get back a sharp knife! I opened the knife and cut my finger ha ha...does that mean I can't have any more sharp instruments? :P (Thanks Rick...good job...err I think LOL)

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                    • #11
                      Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

                      What's really bad, is when you're carving and you hear the wood talking to you but then it starts crying. What are you supposed do then? :P :-/

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                      • #12
                        Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

                        Still on my 'high', I've been having a ball with this new carving. It's funny what ya learn.

                        When I first roughed out the dragons head, I had fully transfeered the design onto the Basswood. Then I got clearing the edges and was ready to start shaping the head.....but I got nervous! What if I can't ....find my way? Well, I remembered something from Chris Pye's book, that forget about the detail until you get the shape set up. So, I set to carving, chips flying and piling up on the floor and I'll be dammed if it didn't work, just like he said. Now I have the shape set and am into the detail, and it is amaizing!!!

                        Wood is shaving off like leaves off a tree, revealing the detail inside.

                        I'd better get a life.....it is obvious that it doesn't take much to excite me these days. On second thought.......I like it this way. A sharp tool, some easy wood and some inspiration. It will do me!

                        Bob

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                        • #13
                          Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

                          A sharp tool! You won't believe it!! Yesterday I cut my finger with the new pocketknife, today was trying out the knife, not even really carving much....no glove : and I 'always' wear a glove...so what happens, you guessed it, same finger, much better cut than the first one, deep and about 1/2 inch long and even the same blade geez!! :P :-X

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                          • #14
                            Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

                            Geez Dave,
                            Maybe you should repost your message under 'Drawbacks of sharp tools'.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Benefits of sharp tools.

                              LOL... or advantages of taking ones own advice and 'WEAR' a glove ha ha!!

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