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  • Carving and assisting

    I started attending the McKinney woodcarving group to interact with other woodcarvers while doing some work on the pieces I was carving. It turns out that I am doing about as much assisting as I am carving. But that's OK. I enjoy helping almost as much as I enjoy carving.

    A couple of meetings ago a relatively new carver asked for some help with bird feathers on a relief carving she was doing. That carving is now finished.

    Last Friday she came and asked for more help. This time with a more ambitious piece. A hawk with spread wings, shown from the underside. It is in the design stage and I was able to help with that. But, we spent most of the session working with a V tool ~ carving feathers into the back of the plate. She was pushing the V tool ~ which in my estimation is the most difficult move to control. I taught her my method of pulling the V and then spent some time on sharpening this most intricate tool.

    The head of the club told me, "It's a good thing for you that you are not a permanent resident. We would have you doing nothing but instructing." I do regret that I am down here only a few times a year and then only for a few weeks. Those Friday morning sessions are most enjoyable.
    IMG_0001.JPG

  • #2
    You know, Paul, it's odd, but it never occurred to me use a pull stroke with the V tool. Thanks, you're still instructing!
    Arthur

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    • #3
      I agree with you Paul, Sharing what skills we have is fun. I am from Texas and lived there for some time. They have one of the most active state wide woodcarving communities I have seen. Carvers are always a fun group to be with.
      We live in the land of the free because of the brave!
      https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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      • #4
        Arthur isn't it amazing how we never quit learning and sometimes the instruction comes from unlikely sources? When I am teaching I state, "Just because I teach a method does not mean that is the best way. Experiment."

        Then I relate, How I came to love the V tool. I was at a woodcarving meeting and wandered over to see what a novice was doing. She said, "Please don't watch me carve. It makes me nervous when one of you advanced carvers watch me."

        I replied, "Mam'am, right now I am the student and you are the expert. Show me how you are using that V tool."

        She related, "My instructor told us to never carve toward ourselves. But, I cannot control this tool by pushing it!" I watched her for a few minutes, did a little practice and came to love the V tool especially for outlining feathers.

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        • #5
          Interesting story about the V-tool. I too have a terrible time controlling the tool while pushing it, and have stabbed myself more times than I care to admit. I guess I should just keep practicing drawing the tool toward myself.

          I also get as much enjoyment helping other carvers as I do carving myself. I guess it's like the old saying...it's better to give than to receive.
          Keep On Carvin'
          Bob K.

          My Etsy page: https://www.etsy.com/shop/rwkwoodcarving


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          • #6
            Lovely relief carving, McKinney is my home town lived there as a small child. Hubby and I went back for a visit about 5 years ago I could believe how much the town had changed. I wish I would have realized that McKinney had a carving group it would have been fun to visit with them. I think it's great that you helped this lady you gave her a gift of learning.

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            • #7
              very nice carving

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              • #8
                OK, Paul, I'm dense. "I taught her my method of pulling the V and then spent some time on sharpening this most intricate tool."
                By this do you mean the handle of the "V" tool is away from you and the blade facing you? I guess "pulling" is throwing me off. Thick between the ears
                . . .JoeB

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                • #9
                  One of the things we were told as beginners is "always carved away from yourself." What we should have been taught is "always be in control of your tool." You may choose to carve toward yourself if you are absolutely in control of the tool. This includes knowing where it will go if the wood breaks suddenly.

                  I often use a gouge with a pulling motion. The shank of the gouge is usually braced against my wrist. Both hands are on the gouge. Where can it go? - Into my stomach? Not! My elbows are locked, and the distance from my hands to my elbows remains constant.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paul_Guraedy View Post

                    She related, "My instructor told us to never carve toward ourselves. But, I cannot control this tool by pushing it!" I watched her for a few minutes, did a little practice and came to love the V tool especially for outlining feathers.
                    I'm assuming this is a palm tool V? If so I would agree the one hand push is delivered with a lot of hope. I have one palm tool a Flexcut 30 degree V and I find it not all that controllable pushing with one hand. Never dawned on me to pull it as I use full size tools so can't imagine trying to pull, but pushing is no problem because I have a second hand on the tool.

                    Which brings up a tangential thought. Some of what we read on here, I assume that when someone says "cut this way" that they use the same type of tools that I do and then when I think "that wouldn't work" I think a little harder and think what kind of tool might that be effective for hence why I asked you if it's a palm tool. I suspect it is, but don't know.

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                    • #11
                      Paul, great you are sharing your knowledge!
                      www. woodcarvingsbyeric.com

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                      • #12
                        JoePaul, exactly. There are two things in woodcarving I do not understand. First is that the sharp edge of the tool should always be away from your body. The second is not to use an edged tool where you have used sandpaper. This was the first time I have heard either of these in several years.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paul_Guraedy View Post
                          JoePaul, exactly. There are two things in woodcarving I do not understand. First is that the sharp edge of the tool should always be away from your body. The second is not to use an edged tool where you have used sandpaper. This was the first time I have heard either of these in several years.
                          Paul, I agree with you on both counts. Phil has it right when he said the key is to control your tool. And I often use a tool to give some final touches after sanding...yeah, I know that can dull your edge, but I'm stropping as needed anyway, so the net effect is irrelevant.
                          Arthur

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                          • #14
                            Paul
                            interesting that you shared the experiences of working with other carvers. I've been doing very much the same in my small group.
                            I've seen others with standard length v-tools have difficulty with tool control. I've been using palm tools and carving a bit using both hands to control the tool in small spaces. Your right hand pushes and the left will control the forward movement. I think we all have our "specialized" means of tool use and control. Lots of good thoughts here

                            It's good to see this forum get back to what it was several years ago

                            Bob

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Paul_Guraedy View Post
                              JoePaul, exactly. There are two things in woodcarving I do not understand. First is that the sharp edge of the tool should always be away from your body. The second is not to use an edged tool where you have used sandpaper. This was the first time I have heard either of these in several years.
                              My carving instructor is adamant about the not carving towards yourself, but then we use only full size mallet tools which are harder to control that way and he saw someone in his apprentice days run a gouge all the way into his stomach, so he's short on tolerance on that point. That is probably less of a risk with a palm tool and most palm tools have much shorter blades.

                              I'm not afraid of carving where sandpaper has gone. I know how to sharpen and heck, lots of people carve found wood and drift wood or cottonwood bark which probably has more knife dulling grit in the wood than anything that has been sanded.

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