Carving & Whittling... a Peaceful Pastime!
Chip Carving, Relief Carving and Power Carving or simply whittling is a
satisfying pastime that anyone from a beginner to an expert can enjoy! There are a variety of carving methods as well
as woods to choose from and knowing which ones to use depends on the project at
hand. Power carving is primarily used
for removing large chunks of wood and for those individuals that do not have
the strength in their hands to use traditional tools. Chip and Relief carving
refer to the style used to remove wood. Chip carving removes small chips in one
stroke while relief carving removes wood in a more delicate manner with design in mind. Whittling differs from carving in that no
chisels, gouges or power tools are used. Using nothing
but a knife and a piece of wood, you can create a project in a matter of
minutes, giving instant gratification to even a beginner.
LEARN PARTS OF A CARVING TOOL
Author Chris Pye, writing in Woodcarving Tools, Materials & Equipment, describes the parts of a typical carving tool in the following way:
The handle itself may have a metal ferrule at the tang end. Another, heavier, ferrule is sometimes fitted to the other end limiting damage to the handle when it is struck with a mallet.
Between the blade proper and the tang may be a shaped lump of metal: the shoulder or bolster. This prevents the tang being forced into the wooden handle and splitting it.
Blades are either flat (chisels) or curved in cross-section (gouges). A flat chisel has two bevels and each side looks the same, but a gouge will have a concave surface and a convex one. The concave side is known as the inside, face, hollow, channel or mouth of the gouge. The other, convex, surface is the outside, reverse, or back.
The terms 'in cannel' and 'out cannel' refer to the inner and outer faces of any carving tool which has them; without specifying an actual tool. Cannel comes through 'cannelure', from the French for a channel, and is used in architectural contexts to mean a flute. It is also related to the word 'channel', and 'canal', the watercourse. The root of all these words is the Latin canalis, a pipe or duct. Although useful words, they are more often used by toolmakers than carvers.
From the shoulder is the shank: which leads into the various shapes of blades.
At the working end of the tool, a bevel diminishes the thickness of the steel into the cutting edge. There may also be a bevel on the inside of the gouge; in other words there may be an inner bevel and an outer bevel. The corner where the bevel meets the full thickness of the blade is known as the heel.
A new Bevel Edge Socket Chisel series is now part of the WoodRiver line of hand tools from Woodcraft.
What do your think of when you hear the word ‘carving?’ Whittling? Carved figurines? Life size sculptures? Perhaps you think of the carvings on a favorite piece of furniture. In an age of fabrication technology and mass production, there are still many craftsmen who apply skill and years of experience to create one-of-a-kind carvings.
Watch More Tutorial Videos
A little talk with Charles about carving tools.
Flexcut offers these tips on carving tools and safe carving practices.