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Thread: Getting Started - Tips & Tricks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Mount Airy, Maryland, East Coast of the USA
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    Getting Started - Tips & Tricks

    As the weather gets colder, many of our woodworking friends are thinking about moving back into the house and perhaps taking up carvings. I thought that maybe we could share a few tips and tricks that will help them get started. So I am asking everyone to share one idea, one technique, or one good resource that might help others enjoy our craft. Please share an idea, a link to a thread already posted, or photos of your tips and tricks.

    Suggestions to get us started:

    What tools do you really need - what is a basic tool set?
    What woods do you carve and where do you get them?
    How do you sharpen those tools - what does a beginner really need to know about sharpening?
    Where do you work, how do you stand or sit, how long to you carve during one session?
    What was your first carving project?

    Thanks everyone!!!!

    -----


    Easy relief carving table!

    While over the years I have enjoyed doing some woodworking, carving is my passion. A set of beginner's tools, a bench knife, some emery cloth and a strop for sharpening and you are ready to go. One of the great advantages to carving is that this time of year, mid-autumn, you can easily move your projects from the workshop into the rec room or living room.

    Not everyone has a dedicated area in their home for their hobbies. Many of us do our arts and crafts at the kitchen table, on a coffee table in the living room, or just in our laps in the rec room. So I wanted to share this simple, absolutely cheap, cheap, cheap carving table set-up.

    Supplies:

    One old ladder-back kitchen chair - you can get on at GoodWill for around $15 dollars or less and that you won't mind it getting all dinged up.
    One rubber-backed floor mat or scatter rug, 3' x 4' - Walmart has them on sale all the time at $10 or less.
    One thick terry cloth towel
    Three rolls of non-skip kitchen mats
    One small side table - again check out GoodWill when you pick out your chair

    1. Put two of the non-skid mats on the floor in front of your favorite chair in the rec room.
    2. Put the scatter rug on top of the non-skid mats.
    3. Roll the terry cloth towel into a tube and tuck it into the outer ladder rails of the chair back.
    4. Put the last non-skid mat on the chair seat.
    5. Place the small side table on your dominant hand side, within easy reach.

    The non-skid mats keep the chair anchored on the floor. When you need to make extra-hard cuts you can brace the chair with your foot on the front leg rail. The towel cushions your wood against the ladder back, keeping it in place as you work. The non-skid mat under the board also keeps the wood from moving. Because the ladder-back chair has no arms, it is easy to move and turn the carving wood so that you are always pushing the tool towards the chair back.

    This set-up costs almost nothing, its easy to put together and then take apart at the end of the evening, and it will make your relief carving so much easier!

    - Lora
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails easy_carving_01.jpg   easy_carving_02.jpg  
    Please visit me at LSIrish.com and ArtDesignsStudio.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,264

    Great thread

    Excellent idea Lora.

    My contribution is to suggest that people give some thought to starting a basic wood spirit. The cool thing about this is how little one needs to get going and how little mess it makes in the house.

    I first came across this guys videos which inspired me to start

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxG3oSddSyc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_caeiz6cO8

    All i needed was a block of wood which allowed me to stretch my bass wood I had on hand into several pieces. And the cool thing is you get to cut at least 4 spirits out of each block allowing for a spare edge in between each one and flipping the wood.

    Then the knife he uses is this one , http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...30,43332,43334

    But when i first got going i did not know if the bug would bite so i purchased a set of these blades http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...30,43332,44062

    And with some spare bits of dowel I made a good few hand carving knives. Made sure to put a screw and nut through each blade and a ferrule on the front. It literally took me about an hour to make a few.

    Been searching for the images of these tools and came up dry so i guess i never got to make my "how to on these" will have to dig em out and make a post on them.

    Downloaded the You tube video and played it on my laptop. I got my wife started on this too when we went camping another great time to be able to sit around the campsite and carve away.

    Since then i purchased Pfeil tools and have done other work but for Xmas i have on my list to get the Flex cut pocket knife with the carving jack.

    Plan on doing some more carving indoors this winter.


    I saw a heading on a blog the other day that i thought was most appropriate to consider and this activity fits right in with it. .........."I make my own fun" gets me back to the fact that most of my childhood we entertained ourselves without the aid of the internet, tv or constant parental supervision and radio stories were a great stimulation for the imagination.
    cheers

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Mount Airy, Maryland, East Coast of the USA
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    Thanks for the link, Rob ... I know what I will be watching during my lunch break.

    My first carving was also a wood spirit. My Dad, who was a gun stock carver, was bed ridden at the end of his life. While we helped Dad through the last months of his life I would often go in to visit, giving Mom a long break so she could go shopping, get out of the house, or just take a good nap.

    I had attempted a little whittling, so I brought my knives and tools and basswood blocks with me to 'butcher' as Dad and I spent time together. In less than the first half hour of carving at his bedside, Dad took over! "A little more out of the corner of the eye" ... "Now drop the top of the nose with the chisel" ... "OK, hold your v-gouge loose in your hand to make the curve of the eye lid" .... "Get the bench knife and ..."

    I don't know how many little wood spirit dudes HE made over those months. But when I look back I know now that my hands were just a new wood carving tool for him. He could not hold the knives any more, but he sure figured out how he could keep right on carving up to the end using me and my hands. That time is still with me and often I hear him and his words, softly spoken just behind me, as I carve ... I think he is still carving, using my hands to enjoy his favorite craft.
    Last edited by Lora Irish; 11-10-2014 at 02:40 PM.
    Please visit me at LSIrish.com and ArtDesignsStudio.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
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    5,176
    Note to self. Order knives today! I already have all sorts of carving sharpening gear and a sharpening CD from a much earlier attempt at this. I am more inspired now. I really liked what Rob was doing at Burning Wood last year. I will download Rob's videos and peruse them. And having Lora on board with us newbies is just plain great! Great teacher! Thanks, Lora. And thank you, Roy, for getting the ball rolling.

    Then setting up a carving station in my little tin can of an abode will be its own adventure.

    Especially with a new job that will absorb many hours each week. Have to keep that to the three days allotted and agreed upon.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Carol i think the cool aspect to the wood spirit carving is the mental break.
    I find it focuses the mind away from other matters and thats like a mental coffe break.
    So what if u make a mistake more sides on a block to try again. Its not like say cutting dovetails and ending up with a board thats now too short. No precision needed.
    Companies with high paced stressful yet creative staff could use something like this as a stress reliever during a break. There is no need to "have to get it done in one sitting" and so can be picked up and put down when a mental change is needed. My 2cents.

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
    cheers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    St. Mary's, Georgia
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    Ok guys an Gals don't laugh to hard but I did keep my first carving , my teacher at the time told me I can always use it to judge an write down what you could had done differently on your next carving an he was right, first don't let you daughters around it with paint an I could write a small book on what I did wrong in the carving

    Here it is

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    Here is the tools I used they was my Granddads, he gave me when I went overseas back in 1982

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    When I returned overseas an the Doctors didn't give me any hope except one he was Dr. Chua he had a brother who relief carved an he help me get started again an that was when I did the Humming birds that was in 1996

    I left with the family again an went to Sweden to learn some more an we had family there on the wife's side, we only there throw the summer an I came back an got in a research program on the tumor, I was wheelchair bound then but the MS an Tumor was getting better at the time so I was learning more an more from pros until 2000, I was like a sponge the wife said. My daughters took up some woodworking to but the youngest stayed with it.
    https://www.facebook.com/BgCouger

    If you are going to make something nice, make it with a statement, use quality an do it right the first time

  7. #7
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    Oct 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Millsaps View Post
    Here is the tools I used they was my Granddads, he gave me when I went overseas back in 1982.
    Oh, those are to die for .... how do I get on your Last Will and Testimony gift giving list ??????

    - Lora
    Please visit me at LSIrish.com and ArtDesignsStudio.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
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    Nice to know that no matter what place we have to do stuff - there is something that we CAN do. With so many super workshops online today it looks a bit intimidating to think about woodworking. I have seen kitchen workshops that fold up into a closet when not used.

    Thanks for the tips.

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