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  • Carving Position

    I hope this is the right place for this question, as I gain more experience relief carving I find myself trying to find a position that's both comfortable and allows me to see and work on the piece. I've tried standing, sitting in several different seats but haven't zeroed in on what "feels right".
    so I'm looking for suggestions, what works for you?

    Chris

  • #2
    Not sure if you know about this but it's a start.

    http://woodcarvingillustrated.com/bl...table-carving/

    BobL

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    • #3
      I did not, thank you!

      Comment


      • #4
        That is a wonderful list of stretching exercises. I would add only to do them slooooooowly.
        The concept is stretching.

        I have two carving benches that I use most often, one is very low. I need to bend over from a lawn chair and press down on the wood. I can't stand up and carve for very long anymore so leaning over the low bench is as good as it gets for me. The other is a conventional carpenter's bench. I sit on a drafting stool and work like I'm reading a book.

        Now, if you could only explain how to get more than 12" x 18" work space on the 3' x 8' bench,
        I'm all ears.
        Brian T

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        • #5
          Haven't had a problem yet, but just sit in a chair and carve on a table 10 inches above it. For relief carving maybe 10 inches below?
          Bill
          Living among knives and fire.

          http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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          • #6
            I carve at desk height sitting on an adjustable office chair cranked up as high as it goes with a thick cushion on top. This allows me to lean over the piece I'm carving. I find this comfortable and without strain, but everyone has to find what works for them...no "one size fits all."
            Arthur

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            • #7
              Would love to carve standing. Unfortunately even though I can still wade in the river or walk all day. Standing for even a half hour makes my knees ache. The heart of my set up is a carving vise or work positioner. I advocate for using something to hold your work that isn’t your hand. A good carving vise allows you to rotate and tilt your work to the perfect position for each cut. I have had several carving vises my current vise is a Wilton pow-r-arm 303 that provides an amazing range of positions. I would also strongly recommend the Eli vise. http://littlehousewoodcarving.com/vise.html

              This is my set up.
              39E800CF-C915-4E61-8B95-94DC2D47A05D.jpeg A8C25471-B715-46B6-A845-CEE1BCA231DE.jpeg
              Ed
              Living in a pile of chips.
              https://www.etsy.com/shop/HiddenInWood
              https://m.facebook.com/pg/CentralNeb...ernal&mt_nav=0

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              • #8
                Anything and everything that creative works is the answer. I have to move and not do any one thing for long periods of time. Standing works but I have to take ten-minute breaks every hour. Sitting and carving using a lapboard, sitting and carving on a table...again ten-minute breaks every hour...stretch, move and walk around. I even carve on the floor. If I get uncomfortable then I have changed my method to something else. If I am standing that means different foot placement, the height of the sculpture, and usage of muscle, even switching from power to tools may be needed. Plus working on different areas of the carving to make sure there is zero long-term repetitive motion which is really hard on the body unless you are young.

                I do not attach my carving to a vise but use an old Japanese method of using a backboard and hitting or carving in the direction of the board, making sure I do not break fragile areas....which means the usage of pillows against the backboard areas at times. As I continuously move from one area to the next on the carving, which prevents repetitive movement of one area of the body. If my log is over 150 pounds it will stay on the floor or a heavy-duty work table, sometimes that hurts but taking breaks major help. If I had to stand and vise my carving.... I could not even carve due to massive pain starting at the feet to the knees, then upper back, to the middle back and even the arms do not like one-time repetitive movement for any long term period of time.

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                • #9
                  Here is my low bench. It's about 18" high, the deck is 4"x 4" cedar fencepost, bolted together.
                  I did that so the bench could be anything as I wanted the carving at the right height.
                  The eye bolts you see are perfect to take out your knee-caps.
                  There are movable bulk heads that can clamp 36" and shorter pieces of wood.

                  The post is 5" x 5" x 64" western red cedar which needs to be rounded off
                  with adzes and draw knife to become one of the butterfly story poles.
                  STORY B.JPG
                  Brian T

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                  • #10
                    The replies should tell you there is no single answer. Carving is varied, and your approach to it must vary. The other factor is the carver's age. We did not worry about our carving position when we were younger, but now the pains in our joints tell us we're doing something wrong. This is likely compounded by the time we spend at our computer keyboard, adding to the repetitive motion damage.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks to all who replied. I do believe that I now have a good idea on how to approach this. I like the backboard idea and will start there. Makes sense in my head.

                      Chris

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                      • #12
                        I've been carving on my ww bench to take advantage of the dog holes. It's about 34" high. I sit on a kitchen counter height bar stool. It works but shoulders do get stiff after awhile. So this week I purchased the lee Valley Veritas carving bench. Can't wait to get it. I was going to wait until I moved in a few years, but decided it's likely they may stop making that bench. And it is more often than not out of stock. As far as I've seen, there is no equivalent alternative. So I pulled the trigger now while I can get it.

                        Being able to raise the piece up more vertically in my face will eliminate the stoop-over associated with working horizontally. And then to be able to rotate without reclamping will be a big help too. I do carve both left and right handed, but rotating is still a frequent necessity.

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                        • #13
                          I use a Tornado desktop dust filter and am forced into a certain sitting posture while using it. I solve that by frequent breaks, standing, walking around, etc. The exercises in the link above will be very helpful for me, thanks for bringing up the topic, Chris, and thanks to BobL for the helpful link.

                          james

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                          • #14
                            I think what we all want is a bench that adjusts to present the carving at a good working height.
                            A height that leaves the carver in a comfortable position. The bench height really doesn't matter,
                            just as long as the carving is in a workable position.

                            Here's one solution, dreamt up by a friend of mine. So I built it. The top is pegged and glued.

                            The carving is actually a short story pole which shows off the life of a frog. Tadpoles and such.
                            The snag was to figure out how to do all the body carving for a mature adult frog on the top.

                            >The bench has a hole in the middle.
                            >Hanging down below one side of the hole is a 1x4 with pairs of 1/4" holes drilled through it.
                            >I think that you can see the little shelf that the pole is sitting on, two copper rods mating with the various sets of holes for adjustment.
                            > A couple of simple cedar wedges snug the carving into a stable position.
                            > I drilled a bunch of big holes in the deck so I can install two lights for comfortable vision.
                            ( I must be getting old = one light wasn't enough.)

                            BENCHEs.jpg
                            Brian T

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                            • #15
                              great thinking out of the box !
                              Jos
                              Belgium

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