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Carving tight "saddle" shapes which curve differently in each direction

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  • Carving tight "saddle" shapes which curve differently in each direction

    Hi all. Me again!

    I carve in the round with gouges and one problem I continually face - and never manage to pull off well - is curved edges which are concave in one direction and convex in the other. ("Saddle" geometry as it's sometimes called; see the plot attached").

    Right now, for instance, I'm carving the Super Mario ghost like you see in the second attached picture. The sides of his mouth both curve one way in the vertical direction and another in the horizontal as it merges with the rest of his body. At a push I could get in there with a back bent gouge coming in from the top and bottom but even then it's small enough so the edge of the gouge will foul at the middle point.

    What I've been doing is following the line of his mouth around with a scalpel and blending it in with the body and the inside of his mouth. The very thin sharp pointy blade means I can take tiny little smooth shavings off and eventually it works out ok. But there must a better way? Perhaps using gouges rather than resorting to the scalpel?

    Any ideas?

    Thanks as always!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    I could see myself ether selecting a gouge with the corresponding radius and cutting inward, or cleaning up blade work with a rounded diamond file.
    Living in a pile of chips.


    • #3
      You might try power carving with something like a Saburrtooth bur
      . . .JoeB


      • #4
        A little crooked knife like a Kestrel #7 sweep might be small enough to clean off that surface.
        Brian T


        • #5
          Jof - Again I think you have hit upon the solution in your own analysis. Using your gouges, bring the curving surfaces as close together as possible and clean up the converging line with a knife (scalpel). Often we try to place that converging line where it is unlikely to be viewed by someone looking at the completed carving. We undercut edges or place a fig leaf where we want to conceal something. Consider too how the carving will be viewed - held and rotated in the viewer's hands? Or on a shelf ten feet away? Across the room? Don't put demands on yourself that are not there. Phil


          • #6
            It sounds like your carving is fairly small, maybe 3 inches diameter or less? So the inside of the mouth could present problems that would not occur if the carving where larger. Smaller tools and patience, but I would consider using a Dremel and different burrs for the initial excavation. You might consider carving the tongue as a separate piece to be glued in later. That would give you more room to manuever. But if you use/attach separate pieces, they must fit well enough that you can't tell that they were carved separately.
            'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"



            • #7
              I agree with Mike that a Dremel might be your best bet for this

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              • #8
                Good advice - thanks all!