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  • Stop Cuts

    I've started my first woodcarving project. I took one of my scroll saw patterns and adapted it for carving. I tried using a "V" gouge to outline the letters but I find that I'm not getting near deep enough for stop Cuts for carving out the area around the letters.
    Would I be better using a skew knife or something different to get the stop Cuts deep enough? I've also discovered for me palm gouges for this type of carving was a bad idea. Going to switch to mallet going forward.
    As you can see in the picture, the rear tire of the truck took a hit when the gouge got thru the knot ... lesson learned....

  • #2
    I'm not a relief carver so not much help, except to say I'd practice on some scrap pieces to learn the tools, grain, cuts, etc. A V gouge seems like a good idea though, and I think you would need a lot of practice to use a knife.

    Good luck, Sagitta and someone should chime in with better help. Welcome aboard!
    Bill
    Living among knives and fire.

    http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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    • #3
      I don't know what tools you have available, but to give you an idea of how I do it. Over the years I've been able to slowly gather some helpful tools. One that I use at the start of every project os mu "Mastercarver Micro Pro" I use it with a small dental bit to outline my carving. It is, to me, an exceptional way to get ready for your carving. If you're starting out with limited resources, I would sue something like flexcut's KN28-upsweep knife or the KN31 Mini Detail Skew Knife to outline my letters, pushing to the center of the letter first, then come back to clean up your edges, Without saying, keep your knife sharp to make slicing cut not tearing pushes.
      . . .JoeB

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      • #4
        A couple of comments about your project: The wood you are using (possibly from a craft store?) has bark all around the edge, which means you are carving into end grain. This is especially challenging for relief carving techniques.
        For stop cuts it is not necessary to go the full depth on the first cuts. Go only as deep as your shaving (horizontal) cuts will be. I prefer to use a pointed knife or skew for the outline stop cuts, or gouges (held vertically) that match the curve of the line being defined. You may discover you have greater control with full size gouges and (light touch) mallet taps.

        067.jpgI intended to show you some relief lettering, but that's on another computer.

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        • #5
          More comment - If you are going to continue with the current project, simplify it by eliminating the border around the lettering. It will allow you to get at the letters. If you make an error (like the damage to the wheel) just go deeper. I suspect the wood is only about 1/2 inch thick.
          Here is the photo I intended to include in the previous comment: Note there is a knot in this wood too.

          kimtype4.jpgkimtype12.jpg

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          • #6
            [QUOTE=pallin;n1170415]More comment - If you are going to continue with the current project, simplify it by eliminating the border around the lettering.

            That's my plan exactly. After the initial outlining of the letters and boarder I soon discovered that the boarder was "in the way" and not needed. My new plan is like the unpainted picture "False" that you posted.

            As for my wood selection for this project I realized quite quickly that I had made a bad choice. I figure however to continue trudging through it as I can learn quite a bit from doing so. I have learned that for a project like this, for me, that mallet gouges are what I should have gotten, no the palm, I just don't have the control I want with the small tools. I'm sure in time they will be useful, just not now.

            So, for future projects would I be right in that I should use wood with straight grain from one side to the other, NOT in a circle like my current choice? (actually as I was writing that I had a "DUH" moment, I know the answer to that question to that is "Yes!!!"

            Love this site !!!!

            Chris

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            • #7
              Chris - You are obviously learning a lot from this project. Yes, wood grain that runs across the blank will help you approach each cut with greater confidence. In fact, you will learn to orient the grain to strengthen parts of your relief. Use all of these early projects as learning experiences. Raised lettering is a big challenge because you have to carve away the surrounding and even internal wood (like the area inside the P's and O's. It is "unforgiving" because if you accidentally clip off part of a letter, you can't just go deeper.

              Here is the carved sign we hung on our own fifth wheel trailer. It also has a knot!

              PnPsign.jpg
              Last edited by pallin; 12-25-2019, 09:41 PM.

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              • #8
                Pallin is right on in describing your wood blank. It is from a cross cut of a tree making it cross grain, very hard to cut. I use a block of basswood to test my knives and gouges after sharpening on the end grain. That is the hardest wood I know they will encounter. Your gouges are fine for relief, don't buy new gouges, buy a new blank. If you like the bark on it, you can buy blanks with bark on both called a live blank. I am showing a 40 year old carving done with only a small u gouge called a lineoleum cutter. This person made lots of these carvings, about 15" across and they really sold well. No other tools were used, not even a knife.
                Attached Files

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                • #9
                  This is an example of basswood with two bark edges. It would provide a better relief carving experience, but the suppliers of this wood maximize their profits by cutting the wood quite thin. This allows the blanks to dry faster and become less pleasant to carve. I prefer fresh basswood blanks that are more than 1" thick

                  ‚Äč

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                  • #10
                    The edge reminds me of the boundary cut in the "form-line" carvings done in the Pacific Northwest.
                    Go straight down with a straight knife (may have to repeat) then come back to that with a skew.
                    Leave enough wood inside the straight stop cut so you can go over it again, right at the very end,
                    to smooth it all together.

                    The outlines of all the animals on this umbrella stand were done that way.
                    If I had carved away more of the ground, it would look a lot like your lettering.
                    Within months, the people that I gave this to had moved out into the desert.

                    Brolly D.jpg

                    Brian T

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                    • #11
                      I agree with BrianT, when I started doing some of the layouts a few years ago a fellow in AZ. suggested me to use a small burner to out line. But the problem is with the grains, a straight down blade and cut that darn hard grain a couple times. It helps. And I have been doing more on real hard wood and soapstone lately, not forgiving at all. Good luck in that venture.
                      Chuck
                      Always hoping for a nice slice that won't need sanding!

                      https://mewe.com/profile/5d6f213642db757a5dfb3223

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                      • #12
                        Went to the tool shop today, picked up a 24oz mallet and 2 gouges. Did some test carving with them, much more control for me and better feel. I plan to scrap the current project as I can still use that Basswood blank for a scroll saw project. I will start over with a better piece of wood with some minor changes to the pattern to make it more carving friendly.

                        Chris

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                        • #13
                          This is an example of what Phil was explaining. It was a bear to carve the small raised letters, but it's very effective: Note how the shadows give depth to the carving. Done with palm tools, by the way. It's important to get good wood, not the hobby store stuff.
                          IMG_4430.JPG
                          Arthur

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                          • #14
                            Great suggestions. I would just add I find the use of a chip carving knife to do the straight line of lettering works best for me. Then ,as has been shared, I use a gouge that corresponds to the shape of the curves when possible.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sagitta View Post
                              ...
                              As for my wood selection for this project I realized quite quickly that I had made a bad choice. I figure however to continue trudging through it as I can learn quite a bit from doing so. I have learned that for a project like this, for me, that mallet gouges are what I should have gotten, no the palm, I just don't have the control I want with the small tools. I'm sure in time they will be useful, just not now.

                              ...
                              Chris: Don't give up on your palm gouges... As Phil mentions, a few gentle taps of the mallet on a palm tool won't hurt it at all, and will give you precise control over the depth of the cut. If they fit the curve of the line, then use them with a light tap from the mallet. If that mallet is too heavy for gentle taps, make another out of a length of 2x 2 and a dowel for a handle. Might only be a 6 oz mallet, but it will also be a gentle one...

                              Claude
                              My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/

                              My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

                              My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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