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relief carving - trimming and wasting away to get a clean ,smooth finish cut

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  • relief carving - trimming and wasting away to get a clean ,smooth finish cut

    i have been relief carving for 8-10 yrs., and my biggest problem is to get a smooth,crisp and clean cut between the design line and the wasted area.
    no matter what gouge i use,i end up with the gouge marks on the edge of the final design; then i try to retrim with a chisel to match the curves,and still have problems with my finished trim line.

    i thought about using a flexcut carving knife,such as the hooked knife(kn26) or hooked skew(kn37) to clean out this waste next to the design. i use mostly basswood and cut about 1/4-38 inch deep. the wood is fairly soft,therefore. using even a #2 gouge leaves nicks in the design line if i am not really careful.

    i don't have either on of these knives and hate to spend the $$$ if they won't perform the cut i need.

    any suggestions?

  • #2
    I do my best with 1/2" skews to trim the gouge marks off the vertical faces.

    This is the one instance where I could be convinced to grind back the corners of a gouge.
    When you tip a gouge up/forward to get a "bite", the top 2 corners are leading the bottom.
    Those corners bump into any vertical face before the gouge bottom gets there.

    I'm guessing that you could knock them off at 45 degrees and not even sharpen them.
    Just get them out of the way as you and I are cutting with (maybe) the bottom 1/2 to 1/3 of the gouge sweep?
    Brian T

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    • #3
      The words "smooth, crisp, and clean" are related to tool sharpness. I picture your design line as a series of vertical cuts into the grain. When the corners of gouges enter the wood, they are likely to tear rather than cut. Some carvers round off those corners in the process of sharpening. In basswood, I usually prefer a knife or skew to define the line, and remove the waste with a #5 gouge.

      Some photos would help us to see what you are trying to improve.
      Last edited by pallin; 02-26-2017, 11:10 AM. Reason: suggestion to post photos

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      • #4
        Hi Mike
        I use a 9/16 skew chisel for cleaning the bottoms(flex cut brand) works well for me
        Bruce

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        • #5
          Mike, are you running a V tool near the edges of the design and them making stop cuts along the design? If you're doing this with sharp tools you should get clean lines. I would also suggest undercutting then cleaning up as needed with skew or knife while watching the grain direction. The use of sanding sealer and sandpaper should take care of any small rough spots.
          Arthur

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          • #6
            thanks for your help on the vertical cutting and cleaning up around the relief carving.
            using even a #3 gouge to clean the waste upto the trim line leaves those little "nicks" from the edge of the gouge,as you guys mentioned. this is where I thought a skew knife would work,but I guess I wouldn'the be able to cut down deep enough in 1 pass with the knife to make a clean cut (vertical or horizontal waste cut).

            maybe a bent skew chisel#2,would be the better tool.
            thanks again

            Comment


            • #7
              Miket, I transfer my carvings, either relieve or in-the-round, using an air-turbo handpiece with a very fine dental bit. This does a couple of things for me.It burns a line to highlight the piece of work and also a paint-barrier. After cutting the pattern in, I clean to the outline with different sizes of #3 gouges. Afterwards, I clean with a sanding sticks.
              . . .JoeB

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              • #8
                Miket, you have been relief-carving for some time. I don't think this puzzle will go away.
                Suppose you had a thin metal scrap or even some stiff cardboard.

                Can you cut out/bash up the shape of the tool edge that you need?
                With that in front of you, might make window-shopping a lot easier.
                OR, you look to a blade smith to make what you need.

                Brian T

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by miket View Post
                  maybe a bent skew chisel#2,would be the better tool.
                  thanks again
                  I have a couple of #2 bent skews - left & right. Don't think they offer any solutions you can't get with a knife & double bevel skew (#1S)

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                  • #10
                    yeah,I think a bent #2 skew ould be better than using a fleXT knife of a skew design. I am afraid I couldn't get enough down and side pressure on the knife.
                    thanks for all yourcomments from all these members who replied.

                    miket

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you follow some of the pros, you'll see them set-in by outlining with a V-tool (for the vertical half of the stop cut), then completing the stop cut with a deep gouge run horizontally to the V-cut.
                      Matthew

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mdallensr View Post
                        If you follow some of the pros, you'll see them set-in by outlining with a V-tool (for the vertical half of the stop cut), then completing the stop cut with a deep gouge run horizontally to the V-cut.
                        I'm no old pro, but that is the method I use most of the time at least initially. I do decorative carving so there are lots of times when I use a gouge straight down into the wood to get the curve I want. And yup, Basswood is an pain for little fuzzies and transition lines showing even with exceptionally sharp tools.

                        I think a gouge, and I'm talking full size two handed model for the most control would be preferable to a knife, at least fo me as I can't control a knife or short gouge as well using only one hand as a larger tool with both hands. I think I like Robson Valley and Pallins idea best.

                        Maybe a 1-6 or a 3-6 give a little round off to the corners.

                        Attaching photo of what I mean as it's hard to describe in words. The basic description is take a number one and shape it like a number 3 at the very edges.
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by fiddlesticks; 03-07-2017, 10:51 PM.

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                        • #13
                          yes,I use v-tool to outline the carving just to the waste side of the actual carving line. then I come back and clean out to the actual line with a chisel. this cut was where I thought a flex knife would work;; but I see where a skew chisel of appropriate sizes would be better.looks like a bent skew would be best.

                          thanks for your comments.

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                          • #14
                            I've seen several guys use a router to cut the final depth. The method I have chosen on past projects is to accept the gouge marks and create the depth using a slight contour to the gouge (#3 or so) I have done several using a #8 on the final depth. Stippling also works. None of these leave you with a smooth background but can end in a very pleasant finished product.

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                            • #15
                              sounds like that might be ok in certain kind situations of subjects.

                              Comment

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