View Full Version : Wood spirits

Frank Guerin
08-01-2009, 7:03 PM
I would like to try carving wood spirits in appoximately 6" od poles and some driftwood I have collected. I have done an internet search and seen some beautiful work but when it comes time to choose the correct tools I must be brain dead. There seems to be some difference of opinion and in truth I really don't know enough to sort out even what people are talking about most of the time.
If anyone with some experience can simplify what I would need and possibly a place to purchase I would greatly appreciate it.


I need spell check even when I'm talking.

"Tim Quinn"
08-02-2009, 2:04 AM
A one inch chisel and a Sloyd knife would be a good kit to begin with and won't set you back more than $25. I carved for two years with nothing more. It will let you see if you enjoy carving without getting in too deep.

You can buy a decent Stanley chisel at the big box. With the more expensive chisels you are paying for a furniture making tool you don't need. LeeValley has Sloyd knives, as do other websites and better woodworking stores. A Sloyd knife has a wooden handle and a short pointed blade. They are about $12. They have an interesting history. Look it up on Wikipedia if you are inclined.

If you decide to go in deeper you should start buying gouges. I have found the most useful gouge by far to be a 1/2 inch wide #3. Mine is a Henry Taylor I bought 25 years ago and it has over a 100,000 miles on it. Gouges are numbered according to the amount of curve in the gouge. #1 is flat, a chisel in fact. So #3 has just a little curve, which might not seem that useful but I find it in my hand all the time when I am carving. Next is a narrow #11, like a tight 'u'. You can actually drill holes by holding it between your hands and spinning its tip on the wood. Good for starting in tight spots.

I could go on . . .

Lastly (this is the boring part) you must learn to sharpen your tools and keep them sharp. A sharp tool is an absolute joy to work with and a dull tool will lead you to frustration and bleeding. Which reminds me, Band-Aids are an important part of your kit as well. Buy some before you need them.

I started out with a medium arkansas oil stone. two inches wide and six inches long. That will cost more than everything else. Sometimes you can get seconds that have a small crack in them, that reduces the price considerably and doesn't really affect the function much. You should be able to find sharpening stones at the big box.

Good luck, carving is a blast. The time just melts away.

Frank Guerin
08-04-2009, 6:42 PM
I appreciate the onfo Tim. Thankyou.