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  • Borromean Rings

    I recently carved a set of Borromean rings following the steps spelled out in Bjarne Jespersen's "Woodcarving Magic" [Amazon link]. Although his instructions are quite clear, I thought I would document them here using photos instead of drawings. Most of the waste wood is removed by sawing but it is important to get the dimensions and locations of each cut pretty close to exact. I used a backsaw. I didn't trust myself to make the required cuts on my bandsaw. I then shaved the cuts down to exact size and location with a Helvie 'Don Mertz' upsweep style knife.

    I started with a 2 inch cube of yellowheart. The first step is to divide 2" by 5, giving 0.4". Each cut in the project will be either 0.4" deep or 0.8" (2 x 0.4) deep.

    Picture 1 shows the cube after the first series of cuts.

    Further steps to follow.
    image_6576.jpg
    Last edited by Claude; 02-02-2017, 10:21 PM. Reason: Restoring Old photos
    HonketyHank toot toot

  • #2
    Re: Borromean Rings

    Step 2:

    The first picture below shows the result from step 1 with marks for the next set of cuts. The second picture is after those cuts have been made and cleaned up.

    image_6577.jpgimage_6578.jpg
    Last edited by Claude; 02-02-2017, 10:23 PM. Reason: Restored
    HonketyHank toot toot

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    • #3
      Re: Borromean Rings

      Step 3:

      Again, the marked up result from Step 2 and then after the marked cuts have been made and cleaned up.


      image_6579.jpgimage_6580.jpg
      Last edited by Claude; 02-02-2017, 10:25 PM. Reason: Restored
      HonketyHank toot toot

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      • #4
        Re: Borromean Rings

        Step 4:

        Here I have marked the remaining rough cutout areas with X's. I used a 1/4" chisel to cut them out.

        image_6581.jpgimage_6582.jpg
        Last edited by Claude; 02-02-2017, 10:27 PM. Reason: Restored
        HonketyHank toot toot

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        • #5
          Re: Borromean Rings

          Step 5 is to round off the corners and edges. Yellowheart is a pretty darn hard wood. The first picture shows about the max size of the shaving I was able to get. My knife needed stropping pretty frequently to keep a VERY sharp edge. I think at this stage I was using a Helvie Don Mertze upsweep knife similar to the one I used for cleaning up the saw cuts except this one is a detail blade.

          image_6583.jpgimage_6584.jpg
          Last edited by Claude; 02-02-2017, 10:29 PM. Reason: Restored
          HonketyHank toot toot

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          • #6
            Re: Borromean Rings

            Most interesting, will be follow closely.
            . . .JoeB
            . . .JoeB

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            • #7
              Re: Borromean Rings

              Step 6:
              a) first of all, I carved out the inside curves of the rings as much as possible as shown in the first two pictures. The main tool was my Deepwoods Ventures Draper Detailer knife shown in the third photo. Note that I have modified the blade to make it considerably narrower and pointier, more like a coping blade. I also made use of a fretsaw blade mounted in an exacto knife holder. If I were working with a wood that is not as hard as yellowheart, I don't think I would have needed the fretsaw. In any case, I didn't need it much, but I used it to save some time.

              b) Now the tedious part - digging out the inside waste wood. Again, I used my modified Draper Detailer. But I made considerable use of my 1/16" chisel, made from a jeweler's screwdriver, and shown in the third picture. That picture shows the work piece with part of the insides dug out.

              image_6585.jpgimage_6586.jpgimage_6587.jpg
              Attached Files
              Last edited by Claude; 02-02-2017, 10:43 PM. Reason: Restored
              HonketyHank toot toot

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              • #8
                Re: Borromean Rings

                And this is the result,so far. I have left it rough but I am considering sanding it. The problem is that sanding is not easy inside the guts of this thing.

                So, what are Borromean Rings? You can google the phrase and get a full explanation. But the technical meaning is that they are sets of 3 or more rings that are interlocked in such a way that if one ring is broken, all the other rings in the set are freed up and no longer linked.

                image_6588.jpg
                Last edited by Claude; 02-02-2017, 10:45 PM. Reason: Restored
                HonketyHank toot toot

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                • #9
                  Re: Borromean Rings

                  Also. I must post that I really like Jespersen's book. It is not only beautiful, but his work is amazing. To give you a hint, the Borromean Rings project is one of the easiest projects he demonstrates. And so far, I have not been successful with any of his more difficult projects.
                  HonketyHank toot toot

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                  • #10
                    Re: Borromean Rings

                    you can use small files to get to the bits inside

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                    • #11
                      Re: Borromean Rings

                      thanks for the excellent description and this is a new one for me never heard of them before. looks like you did a good job in figuring this out.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Borromean Rings

                        honkey after looking at this again, and I know you had a book to help you I am impressed I don't have that much diligence in my whole body. 10 starts to you my friend.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Borromean Rings

                          Very intricate work!

                          Claude
                          My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/

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                          • #14
                            Re: Borromean Rings

                            Thanks for the tutorial, it was interesting. Right now I've got so many things I want to do .
                            . . . JoeB
                            . . .JoeB

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                            • #15
                              Re: Borromean Rings

                              Thank you for the tutorial. This looks very interesting. Looks like this would be a very good teaching and learning carving. Makes you turn it over a lot and look from all directions. And rounding is something I still struggle with. I'll have to try this.

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