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  • Cutting down an edge

    Lack of testing has me in a tough spot on a project. I am carving a relief of a youth group emblem. A large heart shape with icons in the interior. It is about 28' high and 30' accross in 2' thick mahogany. I have worked down to the lowest level, approx 1', within 1/8 to 1/4' of fininsh lines and planned to carve striaght down from high face to ground to create the clean edge. The mahogany seems to be getting harder as I go, it is difficult to maintain 90 degrees to the face and the process is very slow. I progress about 2 inches per hour and I figure I have about 115 inches to go. Your 'non-powertool' suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Bewildered and behind schedule,
    Ah Chip

  • #2
    Re: Cutting down an edge

    Cutting down an edge is hard even when its only 1/2 inch deep. My 1st thought while reading your post was power tools. After reading the rest of your post I have to say, power tools. You will be forever working on that, and may take a chance on damaging your tools, If you want to finish it with hand tools I would suggest using a 1/2 to 3/4 chisel and a mallet. these will be tuff enough to hold up and sharp enough to make a clean cut. Good Luck lets know how you make out.
    Visit Easton, Md's Waterfowl Festival November 8th 9th and 10th.

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    • #3
      Re: Cutting down an edge

      ??? You don't say why you eschew power tools but if it is because you don't have one, maybe now is a good time to get one. If you object based upon 'artistic' reasons, let me assure you that 'The Manual of Traditional Woodcarving' published in 1911 in the UK, has a section showing how to use a primative router to speed up the tedious, less artistic, part of the project. If the old masters used power tools, I guess we can too!

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      • #4
        Re: Cutting down an edge

        With out the use of power you might try brushing on some mineral spirts / paint thinner I have used this in the past carving and it does help. it makes the cutting better and easy be shure to work in a well vented place out side if possible.

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        • #5

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          • #6
            Re: Cutting down an edge

            Use a Router with straight two flute bit bushed and a template.
            I am a traditional (hand tool) carver, but if you want a perfect 90 degrees; use the router.

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            • #7
              Re: Cutting down an edge

              I too, resisted using power tools on my projects because I felt that a true woodcarver would never use them.
              WRONG
              After trying to carve a tagua nut I broke down and bought a dremel and completed,in a matter of minutes,a carving that had set for months.
              While I was at it, I completed a couple of other carvings that I had quit on, because they had to much wood to remove by hand.
              I (now) agree with captain band-aid, the use of power tools to (hog) material down ( something that really has no artistic bearing on the carving) shows your maturity as a carver rather than being seen as a cheater.
              After all, isn't the use of power tools also a skill that many non-woodworking people don't posess?
              grumpy560

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              • #8

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                • #9
                  Re: Cutting down an edge

                  Gentlemen, you have convinced me that power is the answer. There will be enough tight corners left that I will still get to be the frustrated artist. So here is my Tim Taylor plan. I plan to turn my dad's radial arm saw 90 degrees with a straight burr in a chuck opposite the blade arbor. That gives me a large surface to support the work and I will be able to see the lines so I won't need to make a template. Thats the plan. I'll let you all know next week how it worked.
                  Ah Chip

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cutting down an edge

                    Ah-chip,
                    may I also suggest you replace that puny 3/4 HP electric motor with a stroked and bored Chevy short block V-8? A nice 2' chromoly drive shaft, turned and balanced and running on Timken inboard/outboard precision roller bearings would be a nice touch too. Tim would approve, I'm sure. :

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cutting down an edge

                      To All,
                      I finally got back to this project yesterday. Used Kutzal Gold burs to work the vertical and horizontal surfaces that need to be square. Moved alot of wood. When I was attempting to do this with my gouge and mallet it took me about an hour to do 2', with the 'power assist' I covered about 200 inches in 3 hours including beer breaks. And not as dusty as I thought it would be. Thanks to all for the artistic principle speeches regarding power tools. I am ready to finish this thing now that the garden is about done.
                      ah chip

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