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  • Master carver tools

    I recently returned from Europe where I again had a joy of seeing the carvings of master carvers from 500 years ago. This time I got to see the tools of a master carver in a church museum in Wurzburg, Germany.



    This tool roll of canvas has about 18 tools, mostly of the fishtail style. Some are up to 3 inches wide, few are very small. The mallets (not shown) are very worn. The tools are not polished. The sharpening stones not shown.

    Here is an example of the carvings produced by these tools (and the skill of the master carver):



    Unfortunately, in this Rococo style they often covered the carving in gold.

  • #2
    Re: Master carver tools

    humbling that they did so much with so little.....I have much and get just a little bit done....hmmmm

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    • #3
      Re: Master carver tools

      Looks like my old henry taylor tools and yes the old master carvers will humble a man for sure. But in our defense they did have the best wood.

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      • #4
        Re: Master carver tools

        and all are chisels, no knife and no palmtool, that gives to think, does it not... as to the wood, in germany at that time was carved mostly linden(very similar to bass wood) and oak ... wow phil, pity i did not knew you be in germany again ! i was in wuerzburg this year too, and saw riemenschneider works, i donĀ“t know are you refereing to that museum ? (but that is rather gotik not renaissance) they had about 80 carvings from him,,, and lots of other beautiful carvings too

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        • #5
          Re: Master carver tools

          Phill,

          Thanks for taking the pictures and sharing them with us. It truly is humbling to see the work of the old masters and what few tools they had to work with. The detail is amazing.

          I could look at antique wood carvings all day. Awe inspiring stuff.

          Ed

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          • #6
            Re: Master carver tools

            Agreed! Even more amazing is the work of Flemish woodcarvers who made religious objects like the Last Supper and all the Apostles inside a piece the size of a walnut, with hinged doors - all in wood. Some examples are in the British Museum and in the Louvre.

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            • #7
              Re: Master carver tools

              The art created by highly skilled carvers, where ever they resided, always fascinates me. Even more so when it is produced without reliance on the myriad of tools available to those of us carving today. I watched carvers, in Africa, turning out beautiful work using only pieces of metal that had been shaped into tools that vaguely resembled chisels, gouges , and even carving knives....if cloth wrapped around metal is considered to be handles. These carving tools were sharpened on whatever stones happened to be available and were relatively flat. If the tool was not available to do what they needed, to produce what they had dreamed, they made something that would accomplish the task.

              Now and then I pull up a photo of the Key Marcos Cat to remind me of the woodcarvers who came before me. It fascinates me, not because it was carved in Florida , yet very much resembles ancient Egyptian work. Years ago I used it as a pattern and used modern metal tools. How in the world did someone, maybe using only sharpened sea shells, or coral, or possibly even some flint, do such an awesome piece of art? I find this very humbling.

              Phil, I think you said it best when you gave credit to the skill of the carvers. Ultimately, no matter what tools are used, whether living today or having passed on years ago, it is the mind, eyes and hands of the carver that makes a piece of art.

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              • #8
                Re: Master carver tools

                I guarantee you that if they had a chance to get any of the tools and sharpening equipment we have now, they will grab them quickly.
                What reimneschnider would do to have a chain saw to do his sculptures.

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