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    This could be your space. This Tutorial forum is your place to share a woodcarving process that helps others. It doesn't have to be a start-to-finish carving project.


  • #2
    I wanted to carve a big popcorn dish for one of my family.
    The really fun part will be the carving and decorating.
    The rough-out part, not so much.

    Here are some shake blocks, each is 24" tall. The old block was dry and 18 pounds.
    The two on the left are fresh western red cedar. The middle block was 40 pounds.

    Dish 01.jpg

    The old blocks are always cracked in 4" at the ends so a hand saw took that off.
    Next, I used a mallet and a froe to skin maybe 1/2" off the sides.
    I undercut those ends to leave top lips for handles.

    Once I had the dish void marked out, I got busy with my time-saver: The 3/4" Forstner bit.
    As you see, I drilled a web of holes and broke out all the standing web. This was the real time saver.

    Dish 04.jpg

    Sort of at the same time, I began to cut the sloping inner sides with a mallet and a 9/15.

    Dish 05.jpg

    Using incised lines, I decorated the sides with a corn-cob motif.
    The copper rivets were ornamental inlay for the top edge.

    Dish 09.JPG

    Dish 08.JPG
    Brian T


    • #3
      Excellent work, Brian. Nice tutorial/explanation of the project. Fine work!
      Living among knives and fire.


      • #4
        Carving dishes, some people get away with the "pinch" method to guesstimate bottom thickness.

        That popcorn dish could have been awkward. You have to stop with the Forstner maybe 1/2" above what you need. The brad point on the drill bit crushes wood ahead of itself which is visible if not carved away. The flat sides and flat dish bottom were all done with a crooked knife. Can't carve sideways with a common gouge.

        Here's my solution to the puzzle. One arm is actually a slider. When the tips of the bamboo fingers touch, the heel of the slider meets a mark on the spine to show zero thickness. Here, the fingertips are just 1 inch apart.

        What you do is carve a groove which shows the bottom thickness that you want. Then you measure and carve a bunch more grooves of exactly the same depth. Then you carve away all the proud wood in between the grooves = done.

        Thick tool C.jpg
        Brian T


        • #5
          Wonderful job Brian. I like the decrtative work on the sides. I know the family will enjoy the popcorn more.


          • #6
            Wow. Brian - That's exactly what I had in mind when I made the suggestion (invitation). Who's next?


            • #7
              Thanks, Brian, great job on the bowl by the way
              . . .JoeB


              • #8
                Excellent, Brian! Beautifully simple, the mark of good design.


                • #9
                  Here's a French Army cork-carving Knife that I built up. The use should be self-explanatory.
                  A genuine French Laguiole folder for scale.

                  ARMY KNIFE Asmall.jpg
                  Brian T


                  • #10
                    I seem to have acquired a whole lot of tools which are only indirectly a part of my wood carving.

                    In the beginning, cedar mill activity had shut down all over the local district.
                    The only choice seemed to be to raid the logging debris piles of junk wood and drag out what I thought were useful pieces. I've left out all the saws: bow saws, hand saws and power saws. The rule is to take away as much as your like (the rest gets burned) but never mess up the pile. For me, a lot of the work was splitting to see inside what I got. Hope the tools explain themselves

                    Field Tools.jpg

                    Back home with my log treasures, I needed a variety of little non-knife and non-gouge things
                    to measure bevel angles or transfer drawings to the wood. These can't be half of what I've accumulated from my kids that send me Lee Valley gift cards.

                    Most importantly and left out of the picture, every time? A simple $2.00 dress-makers flexible cloth tape measure. My forever challenge is to keep everything balanced across a center line when symmetry is a big issue. I drill simple little holes to mark depths as needed. Then I can carve with great abandon and follow the holes to the correct depths.

                    Little tools.jpg

                    Brian T


                    • #11
                      One interesting item that came out of your prior comments was "shake blocks." My carving got started (at age 12) at a place called Shake Camp in the California mountains. It had once been used to split fence rails and shakes from Sequoia Redwoods. My relatives had established a pack station there after the wood mill operations were gone. To pass the time I decided to whittle some toys for my own use. Just to date this story, my brother and I hitched up horses to gallop to a nearby settlement to tell them the "war is over!"


                      • #12
                        I really like shake blocks. One relatively new mill here does post & rail as well as shake blocks.
                        You get straight grain, knot-free wood which is a delight to carve as you can imagine.

                        "Walk-ons" like me can have the pick of the litter. The posts are 5" x 5" x 64". The shake blocks as you see are 24" tall. With a froe and a log mallet, I can split out anything I need.
                        In case you wonder, I go 20 minutes to the mill and pay $5.00 per piece.

                        This is a 4x4 bench from the mill next door and a 5x5 post, the start of the butterfly story poles.
                        The strap clamps do a great job to keep the post from jumping around.

                        STORY B.JPG

                        Brian T


                        • #13
                          Another couple of pinch type gauges similar to brians that I use for the thickness of guitar backs and tops. Rough but they work to within about 10 thou of an inch. The scissor gap I measure with a vernier caliper. The g shape has the rod graduated in 1/16th inch increments. The bolt in the side is handy to lock the gap distance in the event you are doing multiple units and want to gauge them all the same.

                          Rough as but cheap and works. Takes minimal time to make. Handy for a one of project where you don't want to spend a lot of cash or time on making good quality long life tooling.

                          Mine started out as the one of type but I'm finding all sorts of jobs for them now.
                          Attached Files
                          Last edited by Glenn Jennings; 06-27-2020, 05:21 PM.


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the share Glen, Always great to have more ideas to try when needed.
                            . . .JoeB