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Tackling bigger carvings

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  • Brian T
    replied
    Roughing out a feast dish. Rounding a split post into a cylinder for a pole carving. Work.
    I was taught to listen to my heart. Don't chop with an adze or pull a draw knife any faster than your heart rate. Doubles or triples active shop time.

    Shaping poles from 64" square posts of flawless western red cedar is kind of satisfying.

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  • pallin
    replied
    We've had occasional discussions about the time or number of cuts involved in various types of carving. A 12" basswood plate I carved ten years ago for my sister had 480 triangles, each with three or more knife cuts. The total project was done in 3-1/2 days. Most of the relief carvings I do now take 8 or 10 months.

    There's an old saying that a 1000 mile hike starts with a single step. You have to set a pace you can maintain. When carving, and your fingers, wrists, or arms are complaining, it's time to slow down.

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  • Brian T
    replied
    A western red cedar shake block, suitable for a big dish (12" x 24" x 8") is $5.00 at the mill.

    I swing a lead-core 30 oz Wood-Is-Good mallet. There are day's ends when I can't lift either arm.
    I am totally whacked out. The show is over. Actually quite funny to be that tired.

    Because of the shoulder action, the elbow and D adzes are good for a break. Nice tools for big rough-outs that don't quite yet need a chain saw.

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  • chagorhan
    replied
    Originally posted by Brian T View Post
    Try carving dishes. Of course, they are a good size to be at all useful.
    Weigh the wood block first. Carve the dish. Weigh the dish.
    Commonly, they run 15% of the original block weight. Hope your wood is inexpensive like mine.
    Yes Brian, I had to take a break not for perspective, but my thumb was getting tired. A lot more carving done on this guy…wooowee

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  • chagorhan
    replied
    Originally posted by Claude View Post
    Something to understand when changing sizes of a carving: the square-cube law. In essence, this states that as the size is increased, the surface area goes up as the square, and the volume goes up as the cube of the increase.

    Take a 3 x 2 x 2 inch block that you can carve a figure out of. It has 32 square inches of surface area and 12 cubic inches of volume. Double that for a larger carving. The block is now 6 x 4 x 4 (keeping the same proportions). The new surface area is 128 square inches, and the new volume is now 96 cubic inches. Making the size twice as large, makes it 4 times as much surface area to remove chips from, and 8 times as much volume.

    Why is that important? Well, 4 times the surface area means 4 times the chips that have to be removed, and likely 4 times as long to do it. But considering the volume, since many of us don't have tools large enough to make larger chips, there are 8 times as many chips to be removed when the size is doubled, and this might take 8 times as long. The 3 inch block is actually 1/12 of a board foot, so if the board foot costs $8, the 3 inch block, proportionally, is $0.67. The large block is 2/3 of a board foot so it's cost would be approximately $5.33 or 8 times as much.

    Claude
    So Claude what you’re saying is I just vacuumed up $5.33 worth of chips off the floor. Haha

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  • Brian T
    replied
    Try carving dishes. Of course, they are a good size to be at all useful.
    Weigh the wood block first. Carve the dish. Weigh the dish.
    Commonly, they run 15% of the original block weight. Hope your wood is inexpensive like mine.

    Leave a comment:


  • Claude
    replied
    Something to understand when changing sizes of a carving: the square-cube law. In essence, this states that as the size is increased, the surface area goes up as the square, and the volume goes up as the cube of the increase.

    Take a 3 x 2 x 2 inch block that you can carve a figure out of. It has 32 square inches of surface area and 12 cubic inches of volume. Double that for a larger carving. The block is now 6 x 4 x 4 (keeping the same proportions). The new surface area is 128 square inches, and the new volume is now 96 cubic inches. Making the size twice as large, makes it 4 times as much surface area to remove chips from, and 8 times as much volume.

    Why is that important? Well, 4 times the surface area means 4 times the chips that have to be removed, and likely 4 times as long to do it. But considering the volume, since many of us don't have tools large enough to make larger chips, there are 8 times as many chips to be removed when the size is doubled, and this might take 8 times as long. The 3 inch block is actually 1/12 of a board foot, so if the board foot costs $8, the 3 inch block, proportionally, is $0.67. The large block is 2/3 of a board foot so it's cost would be approximately $5.33 or 8 times as much.

    Claude

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  • DiLeon
    replied
    Originally posted by chagorhan View Post
    I had a very hard time carving the stomach under the hand. I used my murphy knife for the whole thing
    I carve a lot of things that are very deep cut areas and underthings. I use a drill to make it easier for the tool to pass in hard-to-cut areas. Just drill holes in areas where you want to cut making sure you do not cut into your carving. I mark the drill bit often with painter's tape to know how deep to cut. The holes make the area more carvable at times. Drill bits can come from super tiny that is used in a Dremel to a regular drill. Also, a thin chisel will help out carving those areas.

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  • chagorhan
    replied
    I had a very hard time carving the stomach under the hand. I used my murphy knife for the whole thing

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  • Twigger
    replied
    I agree with Claude: looks fine to me, too.

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  • Claude
    replied
    Looks great to me!

    Claude

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  • chagorhan
    replied
    UPDATE: heres the attempt. not very good paint job, blame the bad weather? Shot a picture of what it was supposed to turn out like.
    You do not have permission to view this gallery.
    This gallery has 2 photos.

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  • Randy
    replied
    For the most part the basics of carving a head or a figure are the same what ever the size. If the tools you are are using are for smaller projects then you may need to consider adding a few some tools that will be more efficient. You can copy a pattern and enlarge it to the scale you what. This will help you to maintain you proportions. The attach picture is a 6" carving but it is an example of one way to do a carving. But as Ed , Merle and Dileon have said it is a learning process. We learn from each new challenge. That is the fun of carving for me. You are always learning and the more you challenge your self the more you learn. About the wood the tools and how to use them together.
    et1.jpg
    Last edited by Claude; 09-25-2021, 05:47 PM.

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  • Nebraska
    replied
    Merle is right ultimately it’s just a piece of wood and the forest is full of it.

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  • DiLeon
    replied
    Making it bigger.... means more chips. What may take one chip in a small carving, may take three chips in a slightly larger one, the bigger it is the more chips you have. Flat plane carvings are often small size carvings, once you up your size then you will have changed the finished look with more cuts which may lead you to a different kind of carving less flat plane and more round. This is how one style of carving leads to new ones....as they say, that you never know what kind of carving and style you will have down the road as it often changes as you learn the ropes of carving.

    When you bandsaw an item make sure you do not cut off too much wood, when I cut depending on the size of carving I draw extra width outside my pattern to cut....this gives me room to carve without too many mistakes.

    I will note as you learn, you will get more tools suited to the direction you are going. Remember one thing you are always learning new things and better ways and some things don't work out you throw in the fire woodpile, the next one will be better.... it still happens to me and is a normal part of the process of learning. Never focus on the I can not do it thoughts, but the learn how... will always make things easier. All of us have made major mistakes in carving it is very much a part of the process. I have had projects with tons of months pour into it, only to do something wrong and destroy it.....I mutter loudly and rave, and then start over count it as a lesson learned. I decided at some point I was going to learn to carve no matter how long it took me, might as well accept the fact that sometimes you get sawdust.

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