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  • Beginner tools tips

    Hi everyone, Im relatively new to the carving business but Im looking to buy some more tools to add to my collection and was wanting some advice. I started out with a flexcut starter set with 3 chisels (skew, gouge and v groove) and a small palm handle. I also bought a flexcut pelican knife which i now feel was a wrong move as i wanted it more for roughing. Im happy with it but i think its a bit more specialist. Anyway, I really like the flexcut tools i think theyre good value, good quality and a nice modern tool.

    I also really like the idea of having one or two handles and all the interchangeable blades so i looked into buying a larger set of the flexcut chisels, so ive got more variety. My boss however, who got me into the carving in the first place, is telling me that the chisels with fixed handles are a lot more sturdier and easier to use, but i really like the idea of holding my work in one hand and my chisel in the other. My first projects have all been pretty small so i guess this works!

    The set ive got my eye on is called a 'travel set' are the interchangeable blades intended for use on the go? Is it silly of me to want to use them as my main set (for now at least) as im planning on spending between £60-£100 on a decent set. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Re: Beginner tools tips

    I have that travel set of (I think it is) 11, it was the first tool purchase i made along with a knife. I have since bought probably too many Pfiels and such, but I find that I almost exclusively use those flexcuts. It is mainly that they are so easy to pick up and move around, that small case just fits anywhere and the tools in it are really all I ever need. I do caricatures in the round, on the smaller size (2-6 inches mostly). I carve in my recliner and put the tools I use on a coffee table next to the chair...if I had a bench where I could leave my tools out all the time I probably would use the others more, but I don't know that for sure. If you are always going to (or mostly anyway) carve smaller figures that you hold in one hand while carving..I think the flexcuts will serve you as well as anything else. If you want to use a mallet..go bigger for sure. Hope you enjoy and use whatever you buy.

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    • #3
      Re: Beginner tools tips

      to be honest if its not handy it might end up not getting used. My wife complains about me leaving tools on the table next to my chair, so I put them away and then when I need one its not there so I end up trying to work around it. Not always a good idea. My foredom is in the garage, and I use it outside mostly so if its too cold or too far I dont use it. I dont have a specific work area and really dont want one. I travel when I carve, from my chair to the outside so I can watch the dogs cavort. I think the only drawback to having interchangeable handles is that eventually the handles might wear out and wiggle around, I have a flexcut set but dont use it much and the handles are thight but then again i dont use it often.

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      • #4
        Re: Beginner tools tips

        I got tired of switching blades back and forth, so I bought the individual tools with their own handles and still use them. You can also easily make your own handles for the blades if you just by the blades themselves. You can use larger tools with or without a mallet... but even though you can hold them closer to the blade, it is sometimes uncomfortable with smaller tools, compared to palm handles.
        'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"

        http://mikepounders.weebly.com/
        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-...61450667252958
        http://centralarkansaswoodcarvers.blogspot.com/

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        • #5
          Re: Beginner tools tips

          I tried a couple of brands of tools when I took a relief carving class, liked the Flexcut best, and that's what I bought. I like them very much, but plan on making my own wooden handles, as I find it annoying to keep switching out blades. I intend to make the handles the size of the synthetic handle (3"?), as I have some with the factory wooden handles (palm) and find them a bit small even though I have smallish hands.
          Arthur
          Arthur

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          • #6
            Re: Beginner tools tips

            Thanks for the replies! Much appreciated I think im definatly going to go for them, i think i want to stick to smaller pieces that i can hold and carve, for now anyway. Making my own handles in the future is always a good option if i do get to a point where fixed handles are what i want. I tend to carve at work at snap time and i like all my tools to fit neatly in a little wooden box i made so thats another good reason i like the small set in the chisel roll.
            Thanks again, im looking forward to reading more about what projects and tips everyone on here has!

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            • #7
              Re: Beginner tools tips

              Hey Nachos! Before you go out and buy a big set you might consider buidling your collection up one or two tools at a time because I'm afraid that you're going to find that you might not end up using all the tools that are included in that set. This is from someone that went that route. Also, I've found that I prefer the wood palm handles over the rubber handle so I don't use the rubber handle any more.

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              • #8
                Re: Beginner tools tips

                I would also say do not run out and by a lot of tools let your tools grow with your carving. If there is a carving club in your area, go to some meetings you can see what tools others use to do what you want to do. Often a carver will let you try a tool at the meeting. Like Eddy I learned these things by waiting a lot of money in the beginning. I had flexcut tools and over time have change to Drake. They fit better in my hand and hold a better edge for me..

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                • #9
                  Re: Beginner tools tips

                  I allso have & like my flex cut palm tools ( fixed handles ).... not too experienced but many of the kits have tools that I would sedom use.. I'd buy single tools.. try some of your carving friends tool see what you like.. I'd get a couple more knives......find thats what I use most....

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                  • #10
                    Re: Beginner tools tips

                    Hmmm, thanks again for your advice, its much appreciated. However, it kind of puts me back to square one :/

                    I think what ill do tonight is look at buying some individual flexcut chisels and see if it works out cheaper, i know you say some of the chisels may not be what i want/need but i got the impression that buying a set of 10 would work out about the same as buying say. . . 6 individual ones. Thats kind of where im coming from with the buying a big set idea. But im gonna take your advice on board and see what i can come up with. I find myself studying the forums for hours. Im only 24 and think ive got a lot to learn!

                    I do think i could use some more knifes too, could anyone recommend decent knives or do you think flexcut ones are decent ?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Beginner tools tips

                      Hi Nacho,

                      I am a beginer like you, I have tried a lot of the knives out there, I really like the Shipley and Helvie knives, if I was to have only two I would have the Helvie Rough out and Details knives (Helvie Wood Carving Knives)

                      BTW - for my 2 cents I think that Pfeil make the best chisels but Flexcut offer the the best option for non mallet carving.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Beginner tools tips

                        Nacho... While Flexcut makes a very sturdy knife, an excellent knife for a begineer. If I was you I'd look outside the box and try other knives. The truth is you'll most likey go through two, three , even four or more knives before you fine a maker that you really, really, like. So much comes in to play when choosing a knife and much of it is personal preference..... handle shape, blade size and shape, blade flexibility, ability to hold an edge.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Beginner tools tips

                          Hi I am still fairly new to carving and was first given a set of 5 travel tools that have a case. They are great but I am having trouble keeping them sharp. I have a stope and honing clay but it is hard to get them sharp with the right angle. And ideas? I am working on a larger scale for my next piece in Zebra wood. Any ideas for working with such are wood? I am using a larger flat chisel with a Malot. It is working but slowly.
                          I know lots of questions but I am having trouble roughing out the face with Zebra wood.
                          Thanks for you help.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Beginner tools tips

                            Spriggery: You're just down the road!

                            Time you did a lot of reading about the process needed to make tools "carving sharp."
                            There's an encyclopedia of good information here in the WCI just for the cost of doing the searching.
                            Then you get geared up any which way you like and try to get the edge you need.
                            There are several different methods for carving tool edges. They all work. The deal is to research those and pick one, doesn't matter which one. Use it. Learn it.

                            I use flat stones and strops for the conventional carving gouges and knives.
                            I use papers and cereal box cardboard wrapped around aluminum tubing pieces for all my crooked knives. No choice. Need to put Chocolate Cheerios on the grocery list again.
                            Brian T

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                            • #15
                              Re: Beginner tools tips

                              I have the flexcut tools to ,but I use Denny knives and love them.
                              Just a beginner too,so I use these forms a lot to.
                              Mike

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