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Thread: Woodcarving Tools

  1. #1

    Question Woodcarving Tools

    Below is a link to the tools I currently have. Can anyone advise on a better set of tools for woodcarving? I'm just starting out, but I'd like to get better at this....
    John

    https://www.woodcraft.com/products/f...702d20ec000b2e

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    133
    John:
    It really depends on what you plan to carve. The tools for say Period Furniture carving like ball and claw feet, shells, and acanthus leaves will take certain sizes of sweeps and tools whereby other types of carving will require a different set of tools. Mary May has an on line school of a wide variety of carvings and provides a listing of what tools are needed for each project. Google her name.

    David Turner
    North Raleigh

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Silicon Valley, CA
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    194
    Quote Originally Posted by John Buzzurro View Post
    Below is a link to the tools I currently have. ...
    Flexcut seems to inspire either love or hate, but is certainly capable. That set looks like a pretty broad, though sparse, assortment. I'd suggest using it and practicing carving and sharpening in whatever style(s) interest you and only adding when you need a different tool.

    Mary May uses chisels and makes more classic carvings. (Your set has a few of these.) Other styles include chip carving (knives, like in your set,) figure / decoy carving (other knives in your set), etc. Another thing, I got to attend a seminar with Mary May and one of her tips for beginners was, if you don't have a gouge/chisel in the right size, scale your design to match one you do have.

    PS- Mary May has a new book coming out from Lost Art Press soon. It's supposed to cover from absolute beginner to advanced. (PDF is already available.)

  4. #4
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    Aug 2014
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    PPS- you've missed the live part of their live broadcast, but PopWood has a Spoon Carving Video/DVD up on their BLOG, which links to their Facebook Page.

    Seems like I see a lot of folks carving spoons recently. Maybe you'd be interested...?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Forest Lake MN
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    47
    I started with similar flexcut sets and have several. Last winter I started buying pfiel gouges and use those almost exclusively now. I tend to care minuratures and buy mostly d series. I have a d15/3 and d12/8 vtool, and d5/8 and d8/10 gouges. I will swear up and down there is a d3/8 here too but I cant seem to find it.

    I bought a d8/20 for roughing but it really it has not been used that much. I do have a small collection of knives as well, 3 or 4 get regular use, mainly 2 though that I have found by buying many that just happen to work for me.

    Based on what you have find the size and sweep you like and need and then get those in pfeil. Build as projects require

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Berkshire County in Western Ma
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    61
    I got interested a long time ago when I saw an old style santa project in a magazine. It may have been Woodcraft or Better Homes and Gardens Wood magazine. Anyway, I bought a small set of exacto knives and carved the miniature figure. That gave me enough interest to want to do more. I bought Ron Ransom's Santa Carving book and continued using exactos. Ron Ransom had his contact info in the back of his books, so one evening I got up the courage to give him a call. He was a perfect gentleman and talked to me for quite a while and recommended I move up to a bigger knife and maybe a few chisels. I ended up getting a set of palm chisels from Woodcarvers Supply and I made my own knife from tool steel and some scraps of wood. They have all served me well. I've since gotten a foredom and some flex chisels, but you always have a few go-to tools that you reach for.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bassett View Post
    PS- Mary May has a new book coming out from Lost Art Press soon. It's supposed to cover from absolute beginner to advanced. (PDF is already available.)
    Wow! Thank you for the hint, didn't see it coming! Just have read the sample of it. Does she also write about why acanthus leave and what it means? Besides learning how to carve, I also try to learn styles and all the different decoration elements and when to use them. Not to be stuck with reproductions and such. Any direction to this end anyone?

    As for the tools, I basically followed Mary May and got almost the same tool set as she recommends and uses in her online school. But I also followed Chris Pye way of sharpening tools with inner bevel. By the way, Chris Pye does mention FlexCut in his book as recent advancement in carving but not much more.

  8. #8
    Read all of this. There is a lot of good information for the beginning carver there. It's not all one long scroll, you need to click on the page numbers at the bottom

    https://woodcarvingblog.wordpress.co...-live-without/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrey Kharitonkin View Post
    Wow! Thank you for the hint, didn't see it coming!
    You're welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrey Kharitonkin View Post
    ... Does she also write about why acanthus leave and what it means? Besides learning how to carve, I also try to learn styles and all the different decoration elements and when to use them. Not to be stuck with reproductions and such. Any direction to this end anyone? ....
    I haven't read it. I've heard her speak and read blog posts about writing the book, so I expect she included some. As I understand it Acanthus leaves, in one stylized form or another, have been a staple since the Greeks, and probably before. Mary May talked about a research trip to Europe where they turned Acanthus leaf spotting into a sort of "Where's Waldo" game the kids got into and once you're looking carefully you find them everywhere (she said.) She also mentioned the style had changed both over the years and regionally, so there are any number of versions. She calls it a right of passage for a classical carver.

    BTW- We saw them everywhere at the Getty Villa Art Museum, (up the coast from Los Angeles, just north of Santa Monica. Not the huge Getty Center Art Museum complex.) Now that it's been remodeled, restored, and de-cluttered, with most of the non-period artwork moved to the new center complex, it is back to it's original theme. It is a replica of a Roman country villa and used to display artwork from that period. (Greek, ???, & Roman. They've even gone so far as to commission replicas of statues recovered from the archaeological dig and plant the gardens to replicate the original.) There are Acanthus leaves (plants) in the inner courtyard garden, on the carved pillars and fixtures, and included in many of the pieces.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrey Kharitonkin View Post
    ... Does she also write about why acanthus leave and what it means? ....
    Now I'll have to answer: Yes.

    They posted an excerpt on the Lost Art Press Blog, History of the Acanthus Leaf in... Art.

  11. #11
    http://www.woodcarverssupply.com/Mas.../products/136/

    These are actually pretty decent. They are handforged, and there is some significant variation in sizing, but the tools themselves are pretty good. I have some of the lamp brand that they carry as well, and I rank them up there with the Pfeils.

    The hand forged sets hold an edge decently, and are pretty handy getting in tricky spots since the shape is more like a fishtail chisel in most cases. I have about 25 of these.

    One note about the handforged is that they are a little more brittle and thinner than a machine forged and milled bar gouge like a Pfiel, Sorby, Acorn, etc. As such it is possible to snap the tip off more easily if you do use them for prying a chip out when it is still not cut on all sides. Yes, I have done that, three times in the past 10 years or so. I've never had them fail in the course of normal proper technique use though.
    Making furniture teaches us new ways to remove splinters.

  12. I've been to this museum and they have their own line of carving knives

    https://youtu.be/KYYFNff5e20
    https://warthercutlery.com/product-c...es/1968-model/

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