No announcement yet.

Info for the inexperienced

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Info for the inexperienced

    Good morning everyone,
    as you can see i'm new here and i apologize in advance as i use google translate.
    I've read a lot of this forum, but not all because it would take months; I have an idea, but I ask you experts.
    I would like to start sculpting wood, more specifically bas-reliefs and caricatures. For now I've only done some caricature with a flexcut knife, but without like detailed eyes, ears and noses... I've sculpted in a cartoon style.
    I am attaching some photos to understand what I would like to do:

    But also not too complex classics like this one in this video:

    wood carving tutorial. This is house front door pannel. This work is completed by teak wood. This video is helpful for beginners in wood carving#woodcarvingt...

    The size of the bas-reliefs for now I would like it to be 25-30cm at most, then one day I'll see if I can increase it.
    For detailed caricatures I think the gouges themselves will do.
    Oh I forgot, I have big economic limitations.
    Put it this way, I'd like to know the list of recommended gouges that I'll hold dear for the future, then I'll see what's most essential to buy now.
    I ignorantly thought of palms (only because they cost less and I could take one or two more)
    1#5mm, 1#10mm
    3#3, 3#5, 3#10,
    5#5, 5#10,
    7#3, 7#5, 7#10
    9#6, 9#10,
    11#2, 11#4
    V-tools 60° 3mm, V-tools 75° 5mm.
    Please don't let my list influence you, because I don't know exactly where it would take me and above all I just couldn't afford it economically. There is talk of over €360 and now I can spend a maximum of €150. I understand that it is very little, but I can not work miracles.
    I look forward to your advice, provided that everything is understandable.​​

  • #2
    Usello - Your choice of carving tools will not assure your success. I suggest that you start with #5F-8mm and a knife only. The "F" means a fishtail gouge. A chip carving knife with fixed blade (non folding). You can do all V-tool cuts with the knife. Add other tools when you know you need them.
    Tell us the country where you live to help us understand the tools and wood available to you.

    Last edited by pallin; 05-25-2023, 05:26 PM.


    • #3
      Right, I forgot about that.
      I'm Italian and here I find linden wood (which is harder than American basswood) or "Pino Cembro" also called "Cirmolo", but it often has knots even if it is very workable.
      For now I would limit myself to linden wood.​

      No one sells wood carving gouges in my town or near me, so I'm forced to buy online.
      That's why I don't want to buy one gouge at a time, otherwise every time the shipping costs cost me almost as much as the gouge itself. Better to buy a few gouges in the same order.​
      Last edited by Usello; 05-25-2023, 06:53 PM.


      • #4

        Welcome to the forum.

        To borrow on Pallin’s idea I would suggest getting the 3, 5 and 7 in fishtail gouges if you can. Fishtail gouges just allow you to make cuts a standard gouge won’t do. With a limited budget I would not worry about having a bunch of different widths. Then one each 1, 9, 11 and 12.

        I think those 7 tools would be a great start. If you are confident in your sharpening skills you can save some money buying used tools on eBay.



        • #5
          Well that's convenient. You can just walk north until you get to Brienz, Switzerland to buy Pfeil tools. Oh wait, there's those mountains (Alps) in the way.
          Conifer woods tend to split easily. The Linden will be your best choice for carving.


          • #6
            I think if I had to make the road all the way to Switzerland, it would be more convenient for me to buy €100 worth of gouges online at a time. The cost would be the same.

            the problem for me is also choosing the measures.
            It's true that with a small gouge you can do big jobs, but with a big one you can't do small jobs, I understand that, but I find it difficult to even out a background with a 3mm gouge
            or I may want to make a detail of a small helmet and not have the gouge small enough.

            That's why maybe I would accept advice on measurements as well.​
            Last edited by Usello; 05-25-2023, 07:54 PM.


            • #7
              Good comments Usello, but I would point out that one of the advantages of fishtail gouges is that large gouges can make small gouge cuts. You can use one corner of the cutting edge. I do most of my relief carving with a #3F-16mm. You do not need flat chisels for backgrounds. In fact, a #1F fishtail will have a strong tendency to dig in at the corners.
              You will rarely make carving cuts that are the full width of the edge. Most gouges can be used in multiple ways. When you have learned the various ways, you will likely use only 3 to 5 profiles on a carving. For small curves I often use a #9-3mm or 7mm.

              Last edited by pallin; 05-25-2023, 10:26 PM.


              • #8
                Agree with Phil just a few tools to start your carving, the main reason you may decide you do not like relief carving and like some other form of carving later on. Gathering tools as you gain experience is better than buying a bunch and not using them in the beginning. For example, I like the way chip carving looked and bought a whole set of chip carving knives and found later I was not too fond of that form of carving. Wasted money.
                . Explore! Dream! Discover!” aloha Di


                • #9
                  mmm, I understand.


                  • #10
                    Great advice above. For your relief carvings, you can use palm gouges as well as full size. I don't know if the Palms come in fishtail, but any palm gouge can be used with a mallet for delicate control. Your arm/shoulder muscles are not in control... A gentle tap on the handle of a palm gouge with a mallet will give you great control over the depth and angle of the cut.

                    My FaceBook Page:
                    My Pinterest Page:
                    My Instagram Page:
                    My ETSY Shop:


                    • #11
                      okay, for now I'll follow your advice halfway.
                      I found 3 mini gouges for 11 euros/dollars each. It's two cherries, so the quality is enough for me now.
                      For the price of one I got three. So I begin to understand how they work, even if they are not fishtail...
                      I'll buy more as soon as I can.
                      It's a pity I couldn't make a list that I had asked for above, I would have liked to understand a little about the expense and the necessary measures for the projects that I have listed. I'll get over it.​


                      • #12
                        Two Cherries is not just good enough for now they are a top quality tool. Congratulations