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  • Knotty Angel

    Here’s a work in progress. Having just finished doing a witch, I decided to start working on an angel which of course, helps get me started for this year’s Christmas carving.

    I am also in the process of whittling down my wood pile which consists of many types of wood. For the angel, I decided to use a piece of aspen which was a cutoff scrap from a 2x4 cross support from a pallet. I just happen to be running to the store when I spied these white as snow wood pallets sitting in front of a house up the street. They were used to deliver cabinets to the house undergoing renovations. After my errand, I went up and checked them out. Fully expecting some crap wood or knotty oak, I was thrilled to see they were all aspen. I took 2 out of the three as that was all I could fit in my Honda Element at the time. Besides, the third one wouldn’t have fit by itself as it was about 8 feet long.

    A couple of things with this piece of aspen. It has a knot on the top right at the juncture of the left wing. And my little knotty angel has a few cracks at the base on the left side which I hope to carve away. Finally, there are the two nail holes in the left wing which I was fully aware of. But when I did my quick split—a process using an old buck knife and a mallet to split off a small piece from the bigger one rather than cutting with a saw—I though I had cleared the nails. Well, I guess you know where this is going. Yup, took a chunk out of the knife’s edge. Guess that’ll on my list of things to do.

    I am also using a few of my Flex-cut carving tools instead of a knife. I have had this idea to use the right and left skew gouge—both 9/16” wide and similar to a #3 profile, 5/8” #3 straight gouge, and a 3/8” #3 straight gouge. So, you can a trend here. My thought is to make similar chips to a knife but rather than putting the pushing force on my increasingly arthritic thumbs while pushing a knife, I want to see how it works for me using tools. The skew gouges are great for doing curved cuts, getting into tight corners. The 5/8 #3 is good for removing wood quickly. The 3/8” #3 is good for general cleanup as I go along. The best part—if one of the tools needs a stropping, I can switch to another rather than stopping. The Flex-cut strop works great with the yellow compound. BTW—I’m not plugging for Flex-cut. It just happens out of my small arsenal, these tools fit the bill. Oh one other thing, the first thing I did was to use consecutively increasing sized v-tools to split the wings before I started carving the body. That was a big help in removing quite a bit if wood.

    When I started this carving, I was planning on painting it since there are blemishes in the wood—fill the holes with wood filler, etc. Even had a paint scheme too. But we’ll cross that “rainbow” bridge when I get to it.

    In the meantime, I’ll be winging it since I hope to use this as a model for the next 2 or three angels I hope to carve. Enjoy!

    BobL

    P.S. As you can see, or maybe not, the angel is 4 1/4" tall, 2" deep and 1 1/2" wide.
    image_22247.jpg image_22248.jpg image_22249.jpg image_22250.jpg image_22251.jpg image_22252.jpg image_22253.jpg image_22254.jpg
    Claude
    Super Mod Louisiana
    Last edited by Claude; 04-12-2021, 03:41 PM. Reason: I inserted the photos into the p-ost

  • #2
    Your comments about aspen and the tools you're using on this angel are interesting BobL. I have made small carving from aspen limbs picked up in the forest. I really like it. Likewise, I have gradually come to prefer #3 gouges for many forms of carving including relief and chip carving. I have right & left skews, but I generally prefer fishtail gouges. To lessen the stress on my arthritic hands & wrists I have switched to projects I can clamp down instead of hand held, and limit the time I spend carving.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by pallin View Post
      Your comments about aspen and the tools you're using on this angel are interesting BobL. I have made small carving from aspen limbs picked up in the forest. I really like it. Likewise, I have gradually come to prefer #3 gouges for many forms of carving including relief and chip carving. I have right & left skews, but I generally prefer fishtail gouges. To lessen the stress on my arthritic hands & wrists I have switched to projects I can clamp down instead of hand held, and limit the time I spend carving.
      Pallin,

      When I first came to wood carving one of the old guys kept telling about fishtail gouges. When I finally bought one I understood. Great advice!

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      • #4
        Bob,

        You wrote Knotty, my mind read Naughty. I thought maybe a curvy or pregnant angle. I like carving aspen the knots are a big part of why I like it so much.
        B97C521A-208D-43D1-8BCF-6C70ECC21D7B.jpeg

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        • #5
          Originally posted by pallin View Post
          Your comments about aspen and the tools you're using on this angel are interesting BobL. I have made small carving from aspen limbs picked up in the forest. I really like it. Likewise, I have gradually come to prefer #3 gouges for many forms of carving including relief and chip carving. I have right & left skews, but I generally prefer fishtail gouges. To lessen the stress on my arthritic hands & wrists I have switched to projects I can clamp down instead of hand held, and limit the time I spend carving.
          Phil< I also favor #3 gouges as well as fishtails. Although I prefer relief work, when I carve in the round (handheld) I use gouges about 80% of the time, particularly the #3s.
          Arthur

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          • #6
            Many may wonder why we prefer a curved "chisel" (#3) to a straight cutting edge. Why not a #1 for flat backgrounds? Why use a concave cutting edge on convex surfaces? If you've ever tried using a bench chisel for carving you discover there is a strong tendency for the corners to dig in. The curve of carving gouges allows the corners to stay out of the cut. Yes, in the case of fishtails they are designed for using the corners (which are thin & sharp). On deeper gouges (#7 - #9) the curve turns the forces inward.

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            • #7
              I enjoyed all your comments. I never really gave it a thought until now, but all of the tools I'm using are fishtails with the 5/8" being the most pronounced. I have a thumbnail gouge I made from an old file and I use it from time to time. But I prefer the Flex-cut gouges.

              I have a bench chisel that is wicked sharp. If I use it with the bevel up for grounding, that thing goes deep like a submarine without any effort whatsoever.

              I find the #3's are most versatile especially since I'm not a big fan of switching tools. I usually make do with whatever I'm using until I have no choice.

              Nebraska, I'm that way with eastern white pine. I but it at HD or Lowes and I look for clear wood just as much as wood with character and in so, I get the knots. I've got some neat Dala horses because of the knots.

              BobL
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                I use a number of knives while doing a carving but I have six #3 ranging from 1/8"-7/8" that set on my carving bench all the time. They are used from the start of a carving to the end. I have no fishtails, guess I'm going to have to investigate & probably invest in one. Do they come in different curvatures? (#3-#9)
                joepaulbutler
                Senior Member
                Last edited by joepaulbutler; 10-31-2020, 03:11 PM.
                . . .JoeB

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                • #9
                  I will add my voice to those who like the #3 gouge. Like pallin I have also had to limit the time of my carving sessions. I am doing almost all my roughout work with power these days. It lessons the stress on old bones.
                  We live in the land of the free because of the brave!
                  https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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                  • #10
                    Good start on that Angel, Bob!

                    My workhorse gouges are a Flexcut 3/8" #3 and a Pfiel full size #5/12 for larger carvings. I do have and use the Pfiel #3/16 which I also will use to smooth out the ridges left by the #5. I don't have arthritis bad yet - just starting to get some in left thumb, so I take frequent breaks. I also like to use a mallet on my Flexcut #3 at times, particularly when I need to be careful of how far the cut will go. A light tap on the gouge handle with my mallet will precisely control the cut for me, whereas the shoulder/elbow muscles don't.

                    Claude
                    My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/
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                    • #11
                      I finally finished carving the angel. I made some changes along the way with the pattern. I have reposted some of the pics from October and the last five pics are of the final carving. Rather than painting, I am thinking of just applying multiple coats of a gloss polyurethane with sanding in between coats--blemishes and all.

                      angel side.jpg angel front.jpg angel1.jpg angel2.jpg angel3.jpgangel5.jpg angel8.jpg angel9.jpg front.JPG left.JPG back.JPG right.JPG bottom.JPG

                      BobL

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                      • #12
                        Bob, what kind of wood is this? I will be watching for your finished project, Grain pattern should be rather smooth, Good job
                        . . .JoeB

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                        • #13
                          Thanks JoeB! I used a piece of aspen which was a cutoff scrap from a 2x4 cross support from a pallet. It definitely had grain issues, a couple of knits and 2 nail holes. I gave it it's first coat of gloss this afternoon.

                          BobL

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                          • #14
                            Lovely angel Bob. Look forward to seeing the finished project.
                            My Website: www.carvingjunkies.com
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                            : https://www.instagram.com/carvingjunkies/
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                            • #15
                              Thanks JerseyGirl!

                              BobL

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